1 Remarkable Way To Get More Customers To Your Café
Are you aware of an amazing marketing and promotional tool that has the potential to attract thousands of customers to your store, can generate some of the most stunning images portraying the beauty and quality of your products and; can create a highly engaged community of dedicated fans?
It’s called Instagram; you might have heard of it. And if used correctly, it will accelerate your food business to unforeseen heights. We say 'used correctly' because, too often Social Media platforms are treated and used as if they are all the same. However, in the same way you take time to understand how certain ingredients work together to produce a winning recipe; understanding the crucial elements of this game-changing app, as discussed in this post, will set you up for both short-term and long-term success.
As a passionate business owner, it’s common to jump on the Social Media bandwagon and disperse your brand across multiple platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram and more to seem as though you’re on top of your Social game. However, even though there are distinct similarities between how each Social medium is used for growth; Instagram in particular, is perhaps the only platform that has the ability to convincingly turn your food business into a self-propelling promotional powerhouse. And it might have something to do with the fact that Instagram has 15 times more engagement than Facebook, which we’ll get to shortly.
Content is King
What makes Instagram so unique, and one of the fastest growing Social Media platforms available, is its aptitude in translating stories, experiences and events into a complete visual spectacle which actively taps into the emotions of the viewer. It’s entirely possible to communicate the hard work, inspiration and uniqueness of your business and its offerings using high quality images, to encourage visits from the viewer and their friends. What’s even better is that you might not have to take a lot of your profile’s photos by yourself.
If you’ve ever taken the chance to observe your cafe floor during business hours, you might have noticed customers taking photos of the food before they eat it. It turns out that some of these amateur snappers are doing more than just preserving the memory of your food through photography; they will seldom post the image to their own Instagram community to influence the culinary decisions of their engaged fans. If highly influential ‘foodies’ then visit your venue; the photos taken of your food can attract the attention of everyday viewers into the thousands. Plus, since Instagram is a photo-‘sharing’ app, you will have access to use the finest images of your food at the ready (just like the image at the top of this post taken by @dessertified).
Generally, customers who take photos of your cafe or restaurant's offerings will link (also known as a ‘tag’) your business’s Instagram account to their photo. However, the average person who isn’t a dedicated food photographer will use only hashtags (such as #businessname) and/or location-based tagging, which can be found with ease by using the search function within the app. To then share the image appropriately on your Instagram feed, you can take a screenshot and post the image as you would normally and add "#Regram @insertphotographersaccount" to the caption (the text below the image). Alternatively, you can download a free app like RepostApp to help get you on your way to republishing great content.
Sharing is Caring
Strong follower growth on Instagram relies heavily upon the notion of share-ability, or the ability for your images and content to get shared. When you’re uploading your posts, think about the emotion the image will create when viewed by someone who doesn’t know about your business and its services. If it’s a photo of food; does it make their mouth water upon the sight of it? If it's a photo of the cooking process; does it convey a story which can be strengthened by the caption? Or is it something funny or interesting that the viewer can relate to? If you start to think about what you post before you post it, in terms of how shareable it is, this will then encourage those viewers to actively tag their friends, family or relevant personnel onto your image which, in turn, increases the chances of getting new followers.
It's also important to use relevant hashtags, which are like keywords to help people find your image. In terms of relevancy, your set of hashtags should include words related to the image itself as well as location based hastags (like #sydney, #melbourne, etc). It's best to use no more than 10-15 hashtags, as using more hashtags doesn't necessarily mean more people will 'like' your image and you could come off as desperate. Try some of these common hashtags in your next post - #sydneyfood, #cafe, #brunch or #burgers. Furthermore, quality over quantity holds true for Instagram growth potential, where one post over a few days is far effective than three posts in one day, which is considered as spam (unless it’s absolutely paramount that the images are communicated, such as a special event).
Time is Money
Aside from creating or finding high quality and highly shareable images to include in your Instagram profile; growing your follower base into the tens of thousands requires an important investment. Time. You need to the take the time to engage and attract your audience through methods such as liking and commenting on their images, running contests and events, and sharing the most attractive images taken by them of your business and its offerings. Since the app has 15x more engagement than Facebook, interactions with your potential customers is far easier, and cost effective, when compared to running a basic ad on Facebook.
Similar to your thriving food business; great things take time and effort to build. With diligence and consistency however, your time investment will pay dividends in the form of a possible exponential increase in foot traffic and interest, valuable press and media coverage and brand loyalty necessary for sustained business success. Take a look at what the infamous ‘Bearded bakers’ from Knafeh Bakery have done to gain popularity through their dedication towards their Instagram presence.
Businesses are starting to realise the true power of Instagram and the unprecedented value it constantly delivers to their respective brands. By employing top notch, emotive and shareable content; using the right hashtags and location tagging and; taking the time to acknowledge, communicate and engage with your diners on a consistent basis, will enable your venture to dominate on an exciting platform built for the future. #winning