Many restaurateurs use social media like Facebook and Twitter to connect with their customers and build their brand value. However, many of them still ignore Instagram, or to put it in a better manner, they do not understand the potential of Restaurant Instagram Marketing.
As of June 2016, Instagram has 500 million monthly active users out of which 300 million are daily active users. Over 95 million photos and videos are shared per day. Moreover, it is a mobile platform, making it easier for users to connect and share.
Looking at these statistics, it is a smart business move to include Instagram in your social media strategy and run an Instagram campaign to engage with your customers. Remember, customer engagement will help boost not only your brand awareness but also the number of seats filled in your restaurant. Now who wouldn’t want that?
Here are a few things you need to take care of to run an Instagram campaign:
1. Determine your Goals:
To engage with your customers, you should think about the audience you are trying to reach. What kind of posts do they like seeing on their account? What kind of posts do they actually post on their account? How they behave on the platform? This will help you narrow your focus.
Also, determine a time frame – usually local restaurants run longer contests, such as two weeks or a month, while more known brands run it for a week (and some even for a day or a few hours, given their large social following!), and budget for your contest, as it will help you run an effective contest.
2. Establish Rules:
Instagram is not very strict when it comes to promotion rules. However, there are a few rules that businesses must abide by, for instance – putting a disclaimer that your restaurant’s promotion is not sponsored, endorsed or associated with Instagram, and not falsely tagging or encouraging users to falsely tag content.
Apart from these, you need to choose the entry method for your users. You can ask the users to enter into the contest by liking your photos, commenting on them, tagging their friends on your Instagram account, posting a photo on their personal account using a specific hashtag created by you, or reposting your eatery’s Instagram image.
Make sure your users know all the rules regarding
- Type of contest
- What to do to enter
- Contest run time
- Specifics of the prize (number of prizes and description)
- How will the winner be chosen, informed and delivered his prize
- age restrictions, if any
You can display these in the caption copy of your Instagram post (if the rules are fewer and simpler), or create a rules page on your website or create a landing page for your Instagram contest (if you are running a rule-intensive contest). You can use tools like HubSpot or ShortStack to host your contest’s rules and entries.
3. Choose a Trendy Hashtag:
No Instagram campaign can be complete without a relevant or catchy hashtag. It will not only promote your brand but will also make it easy for you to get involved with your contestants. Use a contest specific hashtag. For example –Starbucks launched a contest where they asked their users to customize their white cups and tag their submissions on Instagram using #WhiteCupContest. The campaign received more than 4000 submissions in three weeks.
Things to remember while creating a hashtag –
- Your hashtag should relate well to your business or brand name, product or services.
- Create a short hashtag that stays in people’s minds.
- Make your hashtag catchy, and easy to remember, search and use.
- Avoid weird spellings and confusing terms.
- Make a quick search to see if your hashtag is already being used for some other purpose, in which case you need to find another one. The uniqueness of a hashtag is important to determine who your participants actually are.
4. Define a Theme:
It’s important to define a theme so that the users know what kind of pictures and videos to post, and whether they should use your product in the image they take. The popular US-based ice cream company, Ben & Jerry’s launched #CaptureEuphoria campaign, which encouraged fans to take pictures of whatever euphoria meant to them, and post pictures using the hashtag.
5. Choose an Appropriate Award:
Choose a prize that’s both valuable and relevant to your brand and within your budget. You can always give away an iPad or an iPhone or a free trip, it will create the right buzz too, however, think of a prize that will prompt your users to actually use your service. Ideal prizes would be a gift card for a lunch or drinks for two, free appetizers or desserts, free VIP seating, etc.
6. Decide on How to Select the Winner:
It is important to decide how you will select the winner, and let your contestants know the terms too. Consider these parameters:
Do you want to select one or more winners?
There is no written rule on the number of winners you can select. Depending on your budget and time frame, you can select daily, weekly or monthly winners. It will help keep your social media audience engaged regularly. However, the prizes need to be interesting.
Who will choose the winner? Again, there are various ways in which you can choose a winner. You can choose the winner yourself, draw names, select a group of experts to decide upon a winner or let the users decide through the voting system, ie the photo that gets the maximum likes or tags is clearly a winner.
7. Promote your Contest:
Nobody will enter the contest unless they know about it; so get the word out. Promote your contest a few days earlier by using appropriate hashtags like #Instagramcontest, #contest #prizes #(your brand name) or #(the name of your prize). Promote it and repost your Instagram photos on your other social networks like your blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Encourage your employees, partners and brand ambassadors to use your campaign hashtag on their personal social networks as well. Encourage your customers to participate in the Instagram contest by sending them an invitation in the email.
8. Track the contest:
Track submissions and customer participation to know if you have met your goals and apply the learnings to improve upon future contests. For huge submissions, use Instagram analytics service like Wishpond, Iconosquare or Nitrogram to know the number of entries, likes per entries, the number of participants, top participants, total likes, total reach and user growth during the contest period. For fewer submissions, you can monitor it manually by using Tagboard or Google Alerts.
9. Announce the winner:
Once the contest is over, it’s time to review the submissions to select the winner. Go back to your rules and regulations so that you can evaluate fairly. Once your winner gets selected, announce it on your Instagram and other social media accounts with Congratulations to #(your contest name) winner!
Instagram gives you a big platform to launch creative campaigns. Use our tips and run a great campaign to engage and expand your audience.