Are you getting the most out of Instagram?
Many restaurant owners simply post occasional photos on Instagram and perhaps share some special offers, without really seeing much engagement.
If you’re going to use Instagram effectively, you need to track what’s working. That means not only knowing how many likes and comments your posts are getting, but also whether they’re bringing new customers (or bringing back old ones) to your restaurant.
It’s also helpful to know more about the people following you on Instagram, like their age range and the times they’re active on Instagram. This gives you a better idea of what type of content to post and when to post it.
The easiest way to get this information is through Instagram Insights.
What’s Instagram Insights?
Instagram Insights is available through the Instagram mobile app. It’s provided by Instagram for free and it’s available for business and creator accounts. (If you have a personal Instagram account, you can find out how to convert it to a business account here.)
Instagram Insights lets you view overall trends about your followers and it lets you track how well your content is performing. You can view insights for the past seven days or for the past 30 days.
How to Access Instagram Insights
You can access your Instagram Insights overview by simply clicking on the menu icon in Instagram then clicking “Insights”. This will show you:
- How many accounts you reached during the time period
- How many content interactions you had during the time period
- How many total followers you had during the time period
For each of these statistics, you’ll also see the increase or decrease (as a percentage) compared with the previous seven- or 30-day period.
You can also click on these for more details. For instance, if you click on the “Accounts Reached” section, you’ll see more information about how many people visited your Instagram profile and how many tapped to view your website.
Instagram also gives you Insights for each post. You can view these by finding the post you want to examine, then clicking the “View Insights” below that post. These insights aren’t visible to other people viewing your Instagram account: they only appear for you, as the account owner.
Here, Instagram will show you what actions people took after seeing your post, including Profile Visits, Follows, Website Clicks, and Get Directions. This can help you learn which posts are bringing in customers. For instance, if you see that six people got directions to your restaurant, that’s a great indication that your post led directly to customer visits. The dropdown at the top of the screen lets you choose whether you want to view your post insights for seven or 30 days.
Using Instagram Insights More Effectively
There are plenty of ways to get more out of Instagram Insights.
One simple tip is to make sure you’re actually looking at your Instagram Insights data regularly! As a busy restaurant owner, it’s easy to end up glancing over the information once, then forgetting about it. Try setting aside a specific time each week or month to review your data and see how you can improve.
You may also want to look at ways to extend the data that’s gathered by Instagram Insights.
For instance, you can connect your (customer relationship management) tool with Instagram using CRM social media integration. This lets you see what your restaurant’s customers are saying on Instagram and other social media. Maybe you’ll find that your customers love to share your special offers or that they’re excited when you post photos of a new dish.
Once you’ve started using Instagram Insights on a regular basis, you should aim to experiment with your content to try to improve your reach on Instagram. (Your “Reach” figure shows you how many unique accounts you’re reaching.)
For example, you might create a post that you think people will love to comment on and share, such as an “A vs B” option for two of your restaurant’s dishes.
You could also experiment with posting at different times of the day. Perhaps you normally post in the evening, for instance, but you find that your audience tends to be active at lunchtime.
Great Ideas for Restaurants to Post on Instagram
If you’re fairly new to Instagram, or if you want to try out some different ideas, here are some great types of content to try:
- Create a hashtag for your restaurant (use this in your bio). If your restaurant is called Dave’s Diner, for instance, your hashtag could be simply #davesdiner. You can then search on Instagram to see what content other people are posting about you, as they’ll likely use your hashtag.
- Run competitions and giveaways. Everyone loves a free meal – or a free drink – and the chance to win something can lead to lots of shares and comments. Although a competition can take quite a bit of organizing, this could be well repaid in terms of extra reach (and extra customers as a result).
- Create content for special “holidays” around food. Go beyond obvious ones like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day and look for social media days like #WorldVeganDay, where you could share your best vegan dishes.
- Remind people of what you offer beyond food. Your unusual decor, live music, or even free crayons might be more of a draw than you realize.
Instagram can seem like yet another task on your list as a restaurant owner. Used well, though, it can bring in new customers, encourage former customers to come back, and help you fill tables every day of the week.