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  • Brenda Bui

Marketing on a Budget for Restaurants [ INSTAGRAM EDITION]

Updated: Jan 14




So, you’re a family-owned restaurant that wants to spread the word about your AMAZING food. But – you haven’t got the big $$ that you think it takes to get the marketing done.

We’re not going to pull wool over your eyes – OF COURSE big bucks take your business across the maps and to thousands of people. However there a few tips and tricks that you can do that are completely free.


1. BIO

It’s text that people first see when going to your profile. It may not look like much but it’s the one of the most powerful tools to you getting organic reach.

The text is limited to 150 characters, so what are you going to write?

  • What your restaurant IS [Are you a small speak-easy bar or are you conquering the cuisine fusion world] Try to use snappy, short adjectives – I.e fusion, modern take, burger enthusiasts.

  • Your trading hours – short and simple, if it varies too much for your business than don’t include it, just simplify to breakfast – lunch – dinner

  • Your LOCATION

Why does this need to be so concise? It’s not only because of the character limits but it also acts as part of Instagram’s search engine. It’s not like Google where people are not typing long questions and paragraphs – it’s short and simple and the most concise bio gets the bite!


2. CALL TO ACTION

The main goal of any profile visit to your page is that it leads to foot-traffic in your restaurant and money in your till. So it’s incredibly important you set up your Call To Action buttons.

These are the buttons appear below your bio. Make sure you update it through settings so the information appears when people tap this button.

There are a variety of buttons available pending on what you want to direct people to including,

  • Reservations

  • Online Ordering

  • Ubereats/Menulog Ordering

Attract people to your page and maintain their attention by directing them one step closer to your restaurant.



3. POSTS

Straight up obvious but we will say it over and over again! There’s no quick and fast way to gain customers through social media but old fashion posting.

Instagram posts are an advertising window for your business that targets your followers [ people who visit your restaurant] as well as new potential customers [tourists, locals in the area unaware of your restaurant]. Every time you post you let the Instagram algorithm work it’s magic and send out your post to a mix of both groups.

Remember,

  • These posts pop up on your profile – so make sure it’s A grade photography.

  • Throw in a few emojis to break up your text

  • Use a good mix of # [ you can read a bit more about this, here point 4]

  • Make sure you geotag

How often should you post? It’s up to you but the rule is consistency. We recommended 3-4 postings a week to make sure your brand is current. No customers likes visiting a restaurant’s Instagram and their last post was back in 2017.

4. STORIES

A feature that has snatched the Instagram world by storm and is now more frequently used than posts. Instagram stories are 24 hour postings that appear at the top of your newsfeed. They are short and usually in real-time. It’s the perfect way to set up short promotions or to blast out NEW updates/deals without it being on your profile forever.

The main benefit Instagram stories holds is that it exposes your brand without the customer having to actively visit your profile. They could be swiping across stories of friends and family and if you’ve got one up, they’ll swipe through it too.

Take advantage of this feature and because it’s only up for 24 hours so you can post a couple times day or week without it appearing ‘spammy’.

  • Make sure you geo-tag

  • Use stickers/Giphys

  • Ask questions using poll stickers

  • Have a play around with certain features like


5. STORY HIGHLIGHTS

It’s a relatively new feature that’s been part of Instagram for about a year now. It’s an add-on from Instagram stories, but why is it so important?

It’s because story highlights sit at the front face of your profile AND it gives you the opportunity to SAVE any stories you post. Have you ever posted a story with solid content that you wish you could promote it 24/7? Story Highlights is your solution. It gives the chance for a new customer to visit your profile and get a quick glimpse at your restaurant.

How should you set-up your highlights? It depends on your restaurant layout,

  • Can you split your menu to distinct categories? Tacos, Seafood, Slow-cooked meats?

  • Do you have a certain promotion? Cheap Tuesday?

  • Do you any upcoming events you need to sell tickets to?

There’s no ONE right way for stories, its completely up to your creative eye!


6. COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

What spreads the word faster about your restaurant than a good chat?

Instagram offers you the chance to chat to local Perth folk. How do you find this gold-mine of potential customers?

  • At the top of your newsfeed, tap location and type in Perth. [Everyone geo-tagging their own posts in Perth will pop up there]

  • Use # specific to your location. I.e #perthisokay #perthlife

  • Go to your competitors socials, chances are those followers are Perth based also.

When engaging with the community, it's important you follow these simple guidelines,

  • Comment something specific to the post

  • Make sure the comment is more than 4 words

  • Avoid any self-promotion

Not only does this get those people visiting your profile but those who visit their profile to see your post and follow the same track. Just as you think that's as good as it gets, there's an extra bonus. Instagram prides itself to be a platform for conversation and community, so it rewards those who spur conversation and aren't all about self-promotion.

So if you do these steps correctly, you may see a boost in engagement.



Now we know we said all these tips and tricks were FREE but there’s a slight catch. Although everything we’ve mentioned doesn’t cost dollars, it does cost time. We get that not every restaurant has the time to sit on their phone and post here and there so, that’s where we come in. We take care of everything virtual and online, that way you can spend your time doing what you love best, cooking!




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