Today, 9 in 10 hospitality businesses have an Instagram presence. But just because you have a business profile doesn’t mean you’re making the most of it.
You know that, we know that — that’s why you’re reading this guide and why we made it. Below are the basics you should know for each Instagram post that you publish. Plus, we’ve outlined 9 situations to post pictures for, complete with templated captions for each.
Goal: This is your fast guide to posting better Instagram pictures, driving engagement from your followers, and gaining new ones.
Spoiler alert: Make reservation-booking even easier by adding a "Reserve" button to your profile.
First and Foremost:
The Basics You Need to Know
The Image Itself
Here are the dimensions that your picture should be.
If you want your followers to see who you’ve tagged in your picture without having to click (like a chef, DJ, promoter, local food provider, or food critic), you can also add a line break and write out their handles with @[handle name].
Who to tag
Tag ideas: Tag your DJs, promoters, chef, food providers, inspiration and any partners that were involved.
Guests who are thinking about visiting your business often check out pictures tagged at your location to see the ambiance, environment and food firsthand. Add your location to make sure your posts show up through this search, too.
CAPTION IDEAS TO INCREASE YOUR LIKES
Here are some of our favorites (keep reading to captions in action with graphics):
- Because [reason that everyone would likely agree with]. [Thing you’re announcing]
- X Reasons Why [list out in numbered format with a symbol to stand in as each bullet]
- [Plainly list the name of the meal or event you’re showing and what makes it special]
- [Opinion statement that is easily agreeable.]
- You don't have to wait until [day or date] to enjoy [thing in picture].
If you have a team at your venue working on Instagram, come up with a shared document that lists out 5-10 statements that you all agree with about your brand’s tone. That way you’re all on the same page and all of your posts sound consistent.
More examples on the following pages
THE BEST INSTAGRAM EXAMPLES FOR DIFFERENT SITUATIONS
So now you know what size your photos should be and what you should be putting in your captions.
But not every post is the same - right? Well that’s why be broke out template variations for the different types of situations you deal with every day.
YOUR GUESTS ARE TAGGING YOU IN PICTURES OF THEIR MEAL
WHAT TO DO:
Download a free app like Repost for Instagram to re-share from your own account.
You use social proof to show your followers that guests are enjoying themselves at your business. It’s always more effective to have someone else brag about how great your vibe and ambience is than to do it on your own.
Once you get the Repost app, it will tell you to go into the post that you’re tagged in, click the three horizontal dots, and select the option to “Copy Link.” Once you do that, their post will show up in your Repost app for easy resharing.
[XX] vibes coming in [put fire emoji here] [put camera emoji here] [@handleofposter] #[yourvenuename]
YOU WANT TO INCRASE ORDERS FOR A NEW DISH
WHAT TO DO:
Take a picture of your meal in a white plate or bowl, on a white tablecloth. Voila!
Seeing pictures of food and drink makes us secrete a hormone, grehlin, that makes us hungry. And putting the food on a white background eliminates any distractions.
[Type of food or drink] special 🚨 [List of ingredients]
YOU WANT TO GIVE A SNEAK PEEK OF A NEW, INSTAGRAMMABLE ITEM ON THE MENU
WHAT TO DO:
Take a picture of it alone on a server’s tray behind held by someone half in view, or against a neutral background to make the item pop.
Deep down, everyone on Instagram wants two things:
1) engagement from their followers
2) to show they know the best places to go.
When you give your followers a preview of what they can get for themselves, it makes them feel urgency to visit and share
We believe [general thing they’ll agree with]. For a limited time only, order your very own [food item], because you never need a reason to #treatyourself! Link in bio to book a rez!
YOU’RE INTRODUCING A NEW WINE OR WANT TO GET RID OF ONE THAT’S OVER-INVENTORIED
WHAT TO DO:
Show it firsthand.
If you post it during mid-afternoon for the location of your main Instagram audience, chances are they’re craving a drink later to de-stress.
[Type of wine], get here tonight for [$ price]. Join us tonight for happy hour! Before 7pm, order a bottle of [type of wine], get the second half off!
YOU WANT A FILLER POST FOR A SLOW DAY
WHAT TO DO:
Celebrate whatever day of the week it is! Pick a drink or food item off your menu and feature it on your instagram channel. Your caption will connect the day of the week to the picture.
It forms a connection with your audience, because chances are no matter what they do for work, they're very aware of what day of the week it is.
Because [day of the week] are [agreeable truth] [drink or meal that's in your picture] Book a rez today.
YOU WANT TO FILL SEATS FOR AN EVENT
WHAT TO DO:
If you're selling tickets to an upcoming event, use an Instagram post to visually teast the event, and include a signup link (if you're a SevenRooms customer, you can put a reservation link right on your profile to keep the booking experience on Instagram).
We remember 65% of pictures 3 days later - compared to just 10% of words. Sending them a text-based email is easy to forget. Showing thm exactly what they can make, eat, or drink at your event? That's going to stick with them and get them to book.
Don’t forget to add the link to your bio and set a reminder for the day after the event to remove it!
Learn something [taste or thing you’ll get out of event] at [your venue name]. A [day/morning/night/ class] filled with [x], [y], and [z]. Link in bio for more.
THE WEATHER TODAY IS ABSOLUTELY CRAZY
Whether it’s pouring rain, snowing, or there’s a heat wave, you can count on one thing: Everyone feels the same way about the weather.
WHAT TO DO:
Give them a reprieve.
When you commiserate with them, you effectively:
1) bond with them, and
2) give them a way to escape the outdoors.
Escape the [type of weather] and get nice and [adjective describing the opposite of the weather] at @yourvenue.
YOU JUST REDID YOUR MENU
WHAT TO DO:
Take a picture of your most Instagrammable dishes all together, side-by-side.
The human brain can process images up to 60,000x faster than words.
The brand new manu at @yourvenue looking [emoji]
BONUS: 10 WAYS TO KEEP FOLLOWERS
WATCHING YOUR STORIES
1. Tell a story with different text on the same picture as the backdrop, making a user click to continue reading the story. Make sure the story has something compelling and mysterious to keep them hooked until the end (Example: Start the first post in your story with text saying “Today’s a big day for us...”).
2. Show your kitchen staff in action so your guests get a sneak peek of food being prepared for the upcoming shift.
3. Start with a question so your followers want to keep clicking to get the answer. (Ex: What’s the special tonight?”)
4. Use emojis, stickers, gifs and more to highlight various parts of your story.
5. Offer your followers the chance to enter for a free giveaway if they take an action like tagging their friends in a comment.
6. Create a boomerang of the finishing touch to a dish or drink, or an exciting behind the scenes moment at the restaurant.
7. Create a poll, ask a question, or use the 😍 meter to find out how your followers feel about something.
8. Post a quote from an influential chef, DJ, restaurateur or industry mentor in plain white text with your brand’s color as the background. Then at-mention the chef’s Instagram profile using the text tool.
9. If you have more than 10,000 followers, you have access to the ‘Swipe Up’ feature on Instagram. Use it to drive reservations, sell tickets, or showcase your menu or specials.
10. Share a story that you’re featured in! If a user’s profile is public, you can click “Add This to Your Story” in the message and share this user generated content with your audience. The guest will be excited you shared, and you get authentic content that resonates with your followers.