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Why you should add Instagram to your restaurant’s social media arsenal

By Sara Petersen on June 1st, 2012

Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram for $1 billion should have been a wake-up call to get behind the popular social media platform. While you might think your life is being consumed by various social media clamoring for your attention, Instagram is the second-largest social network, and luckily it is incredibly simple and easy to use. Your photos can quickly be added and updated from your mobile device, so it’s the perfect tool to help you promote your restaurant, even when you can’t find time to sit in front of the computer.

Sign up

Signing up for Instagram is relatively simple. It takes about 15 minutes and requires an e-mail address, a username, a password and a picture. Try to use the same username you have for other social media accounts. That way, you and your restaurant have a better chance for brand recognition, and it’s easier for Twitter followers to find you on Instagram.

Make sure you have a profile photo that includes your face. If you have a photo of you and a dish for which your restaurant is famous, even better. With Instagram, you’re representing your restaurant. Having a personal photo adds a human element to your account and facilitates real, two-way conversation.

Take a picture

Once you’re signed up for Instagram, it’s time to start snapping photos. As a restaurant, you should take pictures of your dishes. People eat first with their eyes, so the more you can put delicious-looking dishes in front of customers, the more likely they are to crave your food and become frequent guests.

Take pictures of special events, such as Super Bowl and Oscar parties, or snap a photo of the dining room if it’s particularly full on a Saturday night or empty on a weekday afternoon. The parties and full house show your restaurant is a hot spot, and the empty dining room shows customers there’s a short wait for a fantastic, quiet lunch.

You can take a picture from your mobile device using the Instagram application. After you snap a picture, there are multiple filters you can use on the image. This allows you to emphasize the feel of your photo and turn a so-so photo into something with real personality. You can make your photo black and white or sepia if the picture is of a classy cocktail party, or use a filter that saturates the colors of a brightly hued dish.

After you edit your photo, share it on the Instagram network with a short, simple caption depicting your dish or special event. There is also an option to tag your location — make sure you activate this feature! If you have a couple of locations, it’s important for customers to know which restaurant is hosting the party or where they can order that specific dish.

Lastly, you can link your Instagram account to your Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare and Flickr accounts, making it incredibly easy to share your picture with all of your social networks and followers.

Interact

Instagram has a simple design. You have a news feed of pictures posted by people you “follow,” and you can also view the most popular pictures on Instagram at the moment. You can also “like” and comment on pictures. This is an excellent way to interact with customers and followers on Instagram, by replying to comments and building personable relationships your customers crave.

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