Figures from Instagram showed in 2020 the platform surpassed more than 1 billion users, 354 million of those users were aged between 25 and 34 and most users spent at least 30 minutes a day on the site. The figures also showed at least 80% of Instagram accounts follow a business account and 56% of people who viewed an Instagram story with a business featured went on to view their website.
Instagram expert and Director of Globe Fit LTD, Hannah Murphy, said: “We live in the age now of the 'selfie' and on a night out every young person is taking pictures and posting them to Instagram. The majority will tag their location and this is where businesses such as pubs and restaurants can truly maximise their exposure.”
“Most pubs and restaurants that have 'blown up' on Instagram have recognised their premises need to be 'Instagrammable' in order to appeal. Many have introduced 'selfie walls' or certain props and backdrops for photos which make their businesses instantly recognisable and attractive.”
The most popular social media site for businesses is currently still Facebook, however, with the immense number of pages on the channel it is becoming increasingly difficult to stand out without paying advertising fees, and so Instagram is rapidly becoming the go to for pubs, bars, and restaurants.
Stand out from the crowd
According to Hootsuite, 81% of Instagrammers use the platform to search for business’, products, and services, so making your premises as ‘Instagrammable’ as possible is becoming progressively important and tough competition.
Founder of Immortal Monkey and one of the UK’s leading Instagram experts, Estelle Keeber said: I love nothing more than a good selfie wall! The key to creating an ‘Instagramable’ premises is to make it as easy and fun as possible for people to take and share amazing images. A simple wall with your business logo that shows your brand, props for people to use that promote your business at the same time as allowing the customers to share their experience and capture memories.”
“Brands such as El&N (based in London and named one of the most ‘Instagrammable’ café in the world) have gone all out and have made their entire premises ‘Instagrammable’ by adding neon lights, staged areas and flower walls, the perfect backdrop for that Instagram worthy selfie and a great way to create user generated content.”
As well as adding things like flower walls, props, lights and, ensuring your premises and gardens are accessible as well as visually stimulating, it is important to remember the food and drink.
Head chef at The Unruly Pig in Suffolk, Dave Wall, said: “As well as trying to make food look attractive and take good quality shots, I believe it’s important to specifically cook dishes for that purpose and take the shots with dedicated time and better natural lighting out in the pub setting.”
“‘Shots from the passe’ are harder to make effective as many kitchens lack natural light and the glare of the heat lamps is really hard to show food at their best. Beyond the images it is good to have a little character and identity in your captions, comments and posts.”
Communication and knowing your audience are essential to Instagram success. Having a strong social media presence enables businesses to interact with clients and encourage online traffic to your website, potentially increasing booking numbers.
Digital content strategist, Neil Sheth, said: “What I love about Instagram is the ability to create two-way communication with your audience and give window shoppers a ‘virtual taste’. Time is precious, and consumers want to make the right choice and Instagram allows pubs and bars to influence choice.”
Target your audience
Showcasing your specialities, especially when using seasonal ingredients and during seasonal occasions, can also feed into the growing trend of using social media to discover new places.
Restaurant manager of The Unruly Pig, in Bromeswell, Suffolk, TJ Russell, said: “I think targeted posts for target audiences and stories are one way of doing it. For example, although not entirely age specific, pictures of cocktails seem to get more younger interaction and tagging friends to come and try.”
“I’m a firm believer of keeping it seasonal as this will have a continued theme across social media from ourselves and other places which helps, like game season the dark sauces and berries to the beautiful colour of rhubarb in the spring.”
Key tips when sharing on any social media platform, but especially Instagram, are to always use your name and location in posts as this will enhance your discoverability, listen to your audience and track your progress by seeing what gains the most engagement, use as much video content as you can and ensure all images being posted are high resolution.
Goodness Marketing founder, Karen Webber, said: “Let people get to know your business by sharing content about all aspects that attract people to it. Showcase your amazing team, talk about your suppliers, show off your cocktail making skills. Social media is called social for a reason: it's a dialogue, not a broadcast.”
“It does boil down to really knowing what sets you apart as a business and understanding who your audience are and what they want from you. Don't copy what others in the industry do. Be a voice, not an echo!”