Within the first two months of Instagram stories launching, it had reached over 100 million daily users. Fast-forward to 2018, the social media monolith has now reached 400 million active users and rising. The number is huge considering Snapchat its biggest competitor (who arguably founded the concept) only reached around 186 million in the same year (Statista, 2018).
Not only does this demonstrate how absurdly dominant Instagram’s presence has become, but more importantly, the heights their ‘story’ feature has risen to. This also caught the attention of businesses, who began to take advantage of this feature. A whopping 50% of businesses use this feature to communicate with their stakeholders and a third of the most viewed stories on the platform were created by businesses.
But how can you utilise Instagram stories to market your restaurant? Let’s delve into it.
Stories are a perfect tool to use for information which is to the point, concise and a bit snappy (if possible).
The posts only exist for 24 hours so there’s not much point relaying vital information if some of your customers aren’t likely to see it. Advertising weekly food/drink deals, food awareness and limited offers through story posts is usually the best way to use the platform.
You should also consider how often you posts stories and try to maintain a consistent frequency. A balance is also important, as posting too much or little can either overwhelm your followers or can make you fade into unfamiliarity (you don’t want either!)
Build a relationship with your followers
An important factor of Instagram stories is that users must consciously opt in to view your content, unlike the normal page system on the normal Facebook or Instagram sites.
This opt in mechanism is a fantastic opportunity for building a relationship with your loyal and interested consumers because you’re able to reward these customers who choose to interact.
By using subtle techniques such as posting specific deals exclusive to your Instagram stories network, and secret offers which can be redeemed only by individuals who view your stories, you can make these people feel important and valued by opting in to view your every story you post.
Make use of the features available
Instagram functionality allows for some fantastic advertising tools. The wide range call to action buttons you can place at the bottom of each of your stories, (contact us, shop now, book now etc..) allows you many different avenues to communicate with your customers. They are very easy to set up and you are guaranteed a good response if your Instagram story is effective enough.
Other Instagram features such as hashtags and tagging are a great way of interacting with your audience. Using these you can follow current trends and tag creators of UGC (user-generated content) to build better relationships with your customers.
Also, if a story does well, remember to save it as a ‘Highlight’ on your account as this means your message is not lost, and can be watched by new or returning users.
Find a new perspective
Providing a different perspective can help us see behind the curtain, they help us understand that behind each establishment there are people, each of them important in their role which helps the business tick.
Stories are a brilliant tool for this, mainly because of their short life span. They allow you to showcase some of the less polished parts of your work place, giving your brand personality and a face.
A good example of this are showcasing your staff at work. Whether it’s an or sneak peak into the kitchen with a new dish been made by the chef or a preview of a cocktail being made for a brand new menu, these stories are a fantastic way for your restaurant to build a relationship with your customers and also provoke a little excitement while doing so.
Utilise user-generated content
Another way to interacting with users on Instagram stories is through user-generated content (UGC). Reposting photos and videos shared by your customers not only provides some great content, it also endorses your brand and shows users what to expect when they dine with you. Professional shots are great for showcasing your restaurant at it’s best, but can be very disconnected and can be perceived as not genuine, particularly by the millennial demographic who are less trusting of traditional advertising.
If you want to find out more about how you can use Instagram stories or their advertising functionality to reach new and existing customers, just get in touch!