Today, Instagram is arguably the most powerful social media platform. Image-centric social networks are now driving social media marketing, and for industries like food and beverage, and hospitality, it is more important than ever to join these networks. – After all, there really is no better way to share a poignant story or mouth-watering meal than with a photograph.
According to research by L2 Think Tank, Instagram’s community boasts 15 times more engagement than Twitter or Google; and the photo app has amassed more than 200 million users in just over three short years – twice as fast as Twitter – and has vastly exceeded more than 20 billion photo posts, according to the Instagram blog. Here are some trade secrets and tips to help manage your Instagram accounts.
- When you’re back-of-house, get rid of the dirty towels and any unappetizing kitchen clutter – keep your content clean and focused
- Never photograph uncooked meat or fish; but, cooked ingredients or dishes before being plated are fine
- Raw ingredients like fruits and vegetables are fun, refreshing and artistic
- Play with your food – be original
- Capture plated dishes and cocktails immediately after they are made – nothing’s worse than melted ice, condensation on the glass, or discolored food
- Use colorful juices or dyes to bring out the color of a cocktail (shh, it’s our little secret)
- Get a better vantage point: Try standing on a chair or hovering directly over the plate to get an awesome overview shot of the whole dish or table
- Good lighting: Try not to shoot in low-light if you are using your smartphone, the photos will be grainy
- Creative settings: Take the dish or drink off a perhaps boring table and use the textured floors or walls to make the composition more interesting
- If you are shooting on a table, make sure it is absent of dust, water marks, bits of food and the table cloth is clean and ironed
- Feature your chefs – in and out of the kitchen
- Resorts and hotels
- Share a story, not a photo. Ask guests if you can photograph them enjoying their time relaxing or participating in resort activities. Reward them with a gift certificate.
- Document other fun happenings: Weddings, Sweet 16s, corporate outings, meetings and team building – share all you have to offer.
- Capture sunsets, sunrises, pretty landscapes and architecture.
- Remove clutter and distractions from the scene like garbage cans or purses.
- Try different angles and vantage points for interesting results.
How to hashtag effectively
- The purpose of a hashtag is to tag or associate words that fit your image. If you post a photo of a coconut mojito by a resort pool for National Mojito Day, you could use: #coconutmojito #mojito #cocktail #cheers #prost #poolside #resortlife #relaxation #relaxing #vacation #celebrate #nationalmojitoday
- The more you hashtag, the more opportunity there is for someone searching those key words/phrases to find your photo and like it, then perhaps follow you, and potentially dine or visit your restaurant or resort/hotel.
Tag your location
- Whenever you post a photo, make sure you take your location – name your restaurant or resort so it’s clear where you are.
Tag people pictured
- If they have Instagram, there is opportunity for them to regram or repost the photo.
Create your own hashtags and social media campaigns
- By creating your own unique hastags, you can track who else is posting relevant content about your restaurant or resort.
- Establish your own mini campaigns like #CheerstotheWeekend and post a new cocktail photo and recipe every Friday – or try #TacoTuesdays, #WineWednesdays (whatever you specialize in).
- Make it a weekly campaign and create restaurant/resort-specific hashtags like “#TaoTuesday” or “#KimptonNYCGetaway” to track who else is using them.
Instagram photo contests
- Host a contest asking followers to post a photo within a theme of your choosing, using a specific hashtag like. Ask followed to post a photo of their own homemade, spring-inspired cupcakes and use the hashtag, #MagnoliaSpringBakeOff; judge which is the most beautiful or unique to select a winner. For a hotel, try something like #MyGlenmereRetreat, asking participants to post a selfie of them relaxing at Glenmere Mansion and Spa, which enters them into a random drawing to win a gift certificate or similar.
How often to post?
- Post when you feel you have good content – when you have a strong image or a great story to tell, otherwise you risk losing followers.
- A good rule of thumb is: No more than one photo a day, no less than once a week.
Who to follow?
- The competition
- Celebs that visit
- Industry professionals, photographers and bloggers with large followings – if they like your photos, their followers will see the photographers’ activity and increase your chances of being followed. It might also be act as an impetus for them to blog about you.
What to say
- Keep it and simple. Use hashtags and nice descriptions of what’s photographed.
Looking for more social media marketing tips? Contact us today!