Posted in: Social Media

How To Draw A Crowd With Instagram

How To Draw A Crowd With Instagram.jpg

Instagram revolves around photography.

With more than 600 million users on the photo-based social media platform Instagram,  it’s a great place to increase brand awareness for your restaurant with the right strategy.

In this article, we look at how to draw a crowd with Instagram so you can increase your restaurant’s business.

Choose the Right Instagram Name

You want Instagram users to be able to search for you, so be thoughtful when creating your username.

The best option is to use your restaurant’s name to increase the chances people can find you.

Use Hashtags

Use #yourrestaurantname in each one of your posts. This also helps you be searchable. In addition, you’ll want to use a hashtag for signature dishes or drinks.

If you hold regular events, hashtag those photos, too, with the event name.

Other hashtags to consider are: #foodie, #foodporn, #hungry, #foodaddict, #instafood, #chefmode, #cleaneating and #food.

Don’t forget to geotag your photos as well to capture the local crowd.

Take Lots of Photos

Instagram revolves around photos, so it’s up to you to take professional looking photos that make people want to stop what they’re doing and head to your restaurant.

Take photos of everything:

  • Appetizers
  • Entrees
  • Desserts
  • Your Dining Room
  • Staff Members
  • Behind the Scenes
  • Diners (with permission)
  • Events (before and afters)
  • Videos

Let your photos tell a story, but don’t forget to include captions and hashtags.

Optimize Your Photos

While you don’t have to hire a professional photographer, you do want to take and share great photos on Instagram. (tweet this)

Try using your phone camera instead of the Instagram app. Afterwards, you can use the app to edit your photos.

Pay attention to lighting – natural light is best for food. Taking photos by a window is a good option.

When it comes to staging your photos, look at not only the plate but what’s around it. The background matters, and you want it to match the theme of your restaurant. Above all, make sure the background area is clean.

Simple shots are often best to highlight the food.

Share Your Instagram Photos

Increase your reach and chances of drawing a crowd by sharing your Instagram photos on your restaurant website and other social media platforms.

You’ll find that Instagram provides options for sharing photos on Facebook, Flickr, Foursquare, Twitter, Pinterest, emails and more.


People will flock to your restaurant when they see your Instagram photos.

Host Contests

Contests are a great way to get people connected to your brand and your restaurant’s food on Instagram. (tweet this)

They encourage people to engage with you in a personal way. What’s more, by offering prizes, you generate even more buzz while creating loads of goodwill.

For example, you might run a contest asking users to submit their recipes. Lucky winners can have their recipe featured for one week and get a coupon for a free meal.

This gives people a reason to enter your contest while getting the word out to help you draw a crowd.

Take Event Photos

You want to share photos from every special event, fair or festival you attend.

Take photos and post them with event hashtags to let Instagram users know where to find you.

When you post photos from events, you encourage your followers to join you.

Encourage User Generated Content

This is where it pays to get creative.

Your customers are the perfect brand ambassadors, and you want to encourage them to share content on your restaurant’s Instagram page.

Others will feel more confident visiting your restaurant for the first time when they see that others enjoy your food. It’s all about social proof.

Here are a few ideas to get you started generating content from others:

  • Create a new dish and encourage your Instagram followers to name the dish.
  • Host a contest and give the winner a free meal.
  • Ask Instagram users to take a picture of their meal and post it. Give them a specific hashtag to use (your restaurant name is a good bet).
  • In your restaurant, add your Instagram user name to your menu and add hashtags under menu items. This encourages your diners to use the appropriate hashtags.
  • Encourage reviews.
  • Offer coupons.

Share Staff Photos

Your chef is often a mystery to diners, and one they’d like to solve.

Showcase your chef with photos on Instagram. Your customers will enjoy seeing the person behind the food they love.

Share photos of your staff behind the scenes doing interesting and humorous things.

Be Authentic

Decide early on what your brand identity is and then stay true to it. Find your Instagram voice and maintain consistency.

Post photos that work with your restaurant’s theme and menu.

To build brand awareness, you want to share photos that apply to your restaurant. For example, if you are family-friendly, sharing photos of customers drinking and partying isn’t a good idea.

Create a Strategy

Plan your posts in advance to make it easier to publish regularly.

For example, decide which day of the week you’ll share specific things. Don’t forget the hashtags. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Quirky Question Day
  • Monday Funday
  • Motivation Monday
  • Tip Tuesday
  • Treat Tuesday
  • Wellness Wednesday
  • Way Back Wednesday
  • Throwback Thursday
  • Thirsty Thursday
  • Thankful Thursday
  • Fun Friday
  • Friday Funday
  • Social Saturday
  • Selfie Sunday

Also, be sure to leave room for spontaneous photos and posts as well.

Share Pics of Your Specials

This is a great way to draw a crowd each day you offer specials.

You’ll find that by posting delectable photos of your daily specials, people will flock to your restaurant.

Consider adding a coupon code with your photo as well as some inviting text and hashtags to encourage day-of business.

Final Thoughts

Ready to draw a crowd with Instagram?

At the end of the day, a picture really is worth 1,000 words, especially when it comes to food. That’s what makes Instagram perfect for most restaurants.

Your customers, current and future, love sharing photos of their food.

When you encourage diners to snap photos of their meal and share it on Instagram, you are leveraging free marketing while building brand awareness for your restaurant and your menu.

If you don’t have an Instagram account for your restaurant, sign up for one today. Start sharing photos and encourage your customers to do the same.

Spend some time each week posting and sharing great food photos on Instagram and start increasing awareness for your restaurant.

At Restaurant Engine, not only do we create great, responsive websites, but we’ll integrate your social media accounts on your website. Ready to take the plunge and create a website with an online menu, blog and beautiful photos? Get your free website consultation today!

Images: Alexander Chambon and Eaters Collective

One response to “How To Draw A Crowd With Instagram”

  1. Rachel Smith says:

    Interesting read! Today, advertising has taken the form of casual communication and visuals are replacing words. Photos and videos of food are very popular and a restaurant that is not using social media is losing out on a cost-effective and powerful way of researching out.

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