The way people find restaurants has changed forever and social media is playing and increasingly large part in decision making. We trust our friends and we follow their judgement. Although nearly every single restaurant in the capital has a Twitter and a Facebook profile at this stage (most are still using them badly in fairness) hardly any have an Instagram account. Everybody makes a big deal about Twitter and their 200 million users but why compete with the masses on a crowded platform when you can share images with Instagram's 150 million users with next to no competition on a platform brimming full of foodies?
The Best Instagram Accounts
So what does a good account look like? Well restaurants in the USA and UK are using the platform in many different ways but with customers taking the photos out the front of the restaurants I think it would be great to get a look inside the kitchen. Remember that this is an area that customers mostly never see and you only have to look at the popularity of cooking shows and reality kitchen themed programmes like Master Chef to see that people want to see what is happening behind the scenes.
Lots of restaurants around the world are now starting to share videos on the platform seeing as Instagram allow you to upload clips up to 15 seconds in length. This one below from Del Posto is a classic example of content that people would love to see. This sort of prep is happening all over the country in kitchens and people would love to see it. If I was able to see videos like this all the time I would know the food was fresh, made with love and I'd be far more likely to eat there.
Unfortunately the Irish examples are few and far between. Even though restaurants around the capital have an abundance of amazing content right in front of them every single day and all you need is a smartphone I was barely able to find anybody doing it well. I can't stress just how wide open this space is and how you could build your brand and interact with customers in an engaging way at a very low cost.
The Loft Navan
So How To Get Started?
Things are tight at the moment in terms of marketing budget but the good news is that all you need to get this going is a smartphone (which 80% of your staff will already have anyway) and a creative mind. It could be a chef or a waiter within the organization and all they need to do is carry the phone in their pocket. Give us a glimpse inside the workings of a restaurant. Share pictures of specials. The daily menu. Post food pics just before lunch and dinner and get our mouths watering. Encourage customers to take pictures and have a hashtag for your restaurant. Put your Instagram account on your menus or on a chalk board. Print it on your business cards. Run a competition for the best picture. Follow some foodies. Leave some comments. Make a short video introducing your head chef or waiting staff. Most of all get creative and get us excited about your restaurant and your brand. I find restaurants are too quick to reach for the Groupon panic button or to churn out boring shit on Twitter. Why not use the most visual platform of them all that is packed full of foodies already doing what you should be doing.
Share Your Account
If you already have an account and are sharing photos don't be scared to pop it in the comments here for us all to see. If you don't have an account set one up and take some pictures and I'll do a round up of all the restaurants in Dublin now using Instagram and share your photos here.