How to market your restaurant on Instagram

In this 6-minute read:

  • Create an Instagram account for your restaurant
  • What to post on your restaurant’s Instagram account
  • How to increase followers on Instagram
  • Advertise your restaurant on Instagram

With well over 1 billion active users on Instagram, and more than half of those users scrolling through their feeds each day, this social media channel is a powerful platform for your restaurant to get involved with. 

Attract new customers to your restaurant and keep them loyal with reputation management software. Learn more, plus get free reputation monitoring and customer insights when you sign up for Womply Free!

But if you are going to hop on the bandwagon and start raking in the opportunities that this channel can offer you, you’re going to need to understand how to market your restaurant on Instagram. 

Set up an Instagram account for your restaurant

First, you’ll want to set up an Instagram account for your restaurant. When you do this, make sure to keep your branding consistent with your website, physical restaurant, and other social media channels. 

You want your followers to recognize your restaurant when they land on your account. 

Set up your free business account with this quick guide: How to create an Instagram account for your business

Posting on Instagram for restaurants

Once your Instagram account is set up, it’s time to start posting. People are on Instagram to check out visually appealing posts, gain inspiration, and maybe even learn a few tips and tricks. 

Here are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind as you start posting on your restaurant’s Instagram account. 

1. Post high-quality images and videos

It’s important to make sure your Instagram posts are aesthetically pleasing and will catch people’s attention. The goal here is to get others to “like” and engage with your posts and follow your account. 

Include beautiful images of your food, your staff at work, and your restaurant. Instagram is the place to show all of these things off. You want to show how inviting the atmosphere of your restaurant is and how awesome your food looks. 

Even if you don’t have a professional photographer on your staff, you can still get really good photographs with a smartphone. Utilize good lighting, different angles, and garnishes to get the best photos of your food. 

2. Consistency is important

Beyond just keeping your branding consistent across your social media channels, it’s a good idea to keep your Instagram posts consistent in tone and feel. 

To keep your posts consistent, stay in line with a common theme across all of your photos, like a color scheme or photographic style. 

3. Post on a regular basis

In order to gain the most from your Instagram account, you need to continue posting on a regular basis. When you stop posting on Instagram, your account just remains stagnant and never grows or offers you any further advantages. 

The more you post, the more likely other Instagram users are to see your content. A great goal to shoot for is at least one post each day. Don’t bombard your followers with a ton of posts right in a row, and if you do want to share multiple posts each day, just make sure they are posted a few hours apart. 

Gaining new followers for your restaurant on Instagram

Publishing new posts on a regular basis is the first step to gaining more followers and increasing your brand awareness on Instagram. But there are a few strategical methods that you should consider using to maximize your opportunities to gain new followers. 

Try some of these techniques to increase your restaurant’s following on Instagram. 

1. Create a hashtag for your restaurant

Create a new hashtag that is unique to your restaurant. This will help you keep some consistency with your brand and track when your visitors are sharing content that mentions your hashtags. 

Add this hashtag to menus and signs in your restaurant to encourage your customers to share their own photos with your hashtag on their individual Instagram accounts. The more people that are mentioning you and sharing your hashtag, the more opportunity you have to gain new followers. 

2. Utilize other popular hashtags

See what hashtags are popular in your realm of the food industry. If one of your popular menu items is tacos, for example, you better be using #TacoTuesday every single week!

3. Add Story highlights to your Instagram account

Instagram has this awesome “Story” feature that every business, especially restaurants, should take advantage of. 

Stories allow you to easily share brief moments of your day in a story reel, kind of like a slideshow, without having to create an actual post. You can tell your restaurant’s “story” with this feature by sharing behind the scenes moments that people don’t usually get to see. 

Story highlights are a feature where you can save these stories to your Instagram profile for visitors to see when they land on your account. For restaurants, sharing things like your menu broken up into different categories is a great way to utilize this feature. 

Go deeper: Why Instagram Stories are the most underrated small business marketing tool

4. Partner with influencers

Instagram is a channel that influencers thrive on. Find the big influencers in your branch of the food world and reach out to them. If you can get a popular influencer to partner with you on a giveaway or visit your restaurant and then mention you on their Instagram account, you can reach all of their followers and really gain some momentum. 

5. Run your own competitions and giveaways

Use Instagram to host a competition or giveaway. Offer a gift certificate to your restaurant or some other prize, and create some rules for the giveaway. 

Common rules for entry of Instagram giveaways include:

  • Like this post
  • Tag a friend in the comments
  • Follow your Instagram account

These types of giveaways increase engagement with your posts (which allows them to be seen by more people) and also increases your reach because your followers are tagging their friends who then decide to follow you because they want in on the prize!

This is a pretty smart and easy way to gain tons of new followers. 

Advertising your restaurant on Instagram

To increase your reach even further and spread awareness of new menu items or timely deals that your restaurant has, give Instagram’s advertising capabilities a try. 

Instagram doesn’t have its own advertising platform for you to go and create ads, but partners with Facebook’s Ad Manager. This means you’ll need to create an Ads Manager account on Facebook in order to create ads on Instagram for your restaurant. 

When you’re in the Ad Manager, you’ll have plenty of options for customizing your ad campaign. You can select specific objectives, target specific audiences and demographics, set a duration and budget for the ad, customize your ad copy, and upload images or a video to include with your post. 

Instagram is only one way to increase your restaurant’s brand awareness and online visibility. With solutions like Womply’s reputation management software, you can increase your restaurant’s online reach—and save a lot of time—with easy management of your customer reviews and online listings. Learn more, plus get free reputation monitoring and customer insights when you sign up for Womply Free!


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