Engaging Restaurant Customers with Photo-Sharing Apps like Pinterest and Instagram

Everyone knows the importance of utilizing social media in engaging customers, building traffic, and building loyalty with your restaurant brand. Granted, there’s a mind-boggling variety of social media platforms you could use, and a person would go crazy trying to keep up with them all.

That said, along with the big guys like Facebook and Twitter, a restaurant owner would be remiss not to take advantage of the photo-sharing applications such as Pinterest and Instagram. Such platforms represent an incredibly effective method of user engagement and reputation building, and round out a social media marketing strategy nicely.

Why Pinterest and Instagram are Smart Choices for Restaurants

The old adage that a good picture is worth a thousand words very much applies to why restaurants should be using photo-sharing platforms like Instagram and Pinterest. Pictures establish an emotional connection in a far more visceral way than any words can do. People love to see and share pictures of beautiful food, and encouraging customers to post pictures of their food and experiences with your establishment not only promotes restaurant traffic, but also creates thousands of impressions due to the shared nature of these platforms.

Obviously, casual dining may have a more conducive atmosphere for success with these platforms due to the fact that the décor and service often loom just as large as the food, but quick-service can benefit from using these outlets as well since they are particularly easy to incentivize.

Providing Incentives for People to Interact with Your Restaurant through Photos

There are several easy ways to encourage people to interact with and share photos related to your restaurant. Many businesses run contests where people get entry for a prize for sharing photos of themselves eating at their restaurant or interacting with the brand in some way. If you can get them to include your logo, all the better!

Other businesses focus on building engagement by, say, telling their customers to post a picture of their favorite homemade sandwich,  getting friends to vote on it, and then selecting a winner from the entries to get a menu-item based on their creation named after them.

The sky is the limit, really, when it comes to how you might engage your consumers with Pinterest and Instagram. People love to take pictures and they love to do something fun, so building a promotion around those two facts is a savvy tactic.

Best Practices for Restaurant use of Pinterest or Instagram

Like any social platform, getting your users to engage with you means that you first need to engage with them. That means liking their posts, commenting on content that is placed, and sharing things that are interesting to your consumers rather than being strictly promotional.

It’s also important to utilize these platforms for their market research opportunities. What kinds of pictures are people sharing naturally related to your establishment? Is it the food? Goofing off with their friends while there? Noticing what people are naturally sharing will give you good insight about what aspect of your business that people love as well as areas where you might improve.

Last but not least, pictures present an extremely effective way of capturing peoples’ attention and portraying your brand in the best light. People love to share and look at pictures, so utilizing platforms like Instagram and Pinterest to encourage engagement and interaction with your consumers makes a lot of sense.

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