The COVID-19 pandemic looms large over the entire world. Many countries have gone into a lockdown mode. It's the micro, small, and medium businesses that have been the hardest hit. At the same time, some globally popular social media platforms are doing their bit to help small brands to stay afloat. For instance, Instagram came with a novel ‘stories’ feature on the 15th April that’d allow companies to share fundraisers, gift cards, and food order story stickers. Here we bring you a complete guide on how to use Instagram Stories to step up your Restaurant's online game!
If you own a restaurant or a cafeteria, then you've probably had to shut your doors. Which, again, means you are now running your business online. Maybe you've started doing takeaway. You can use Instagram’s creative story stickers to encourage your customers to contribute to food banks and fundraisers, purchase gift cards, and… order food with you!
Promote your restaurant via Instagram’s gift card and food delivery stickers
The social distancing and self-isolation measures, imposed by the government, have taken a heavy toll both on individuals and institutions. Of all the businesses involved in the different commercial sectors of the economy, it is the hospitality, travel, and tourism segment that are the worst affected. In case you’re a restaurateur or a hotelier, you can make the most of Instagram’s new profile buttons and stories’ stickers for promoting your business.
You can share fundraiser stickers, food order coupons, and gift cards on your restaurant’s Instagram profile. When your customers or guests notice your gift card stickers or food coupons, they’ll be able to buy them online via a third-party site. To upload and share fundraiser stickers, food order vouchers, or gift cards on Stories, you simply need to create content just as you usually do.
How to make use of Instagram’s food delivery and gift card stickers?
Once you’ve created your story, you’ll have to click on the stickers’ tray for opening it, and simply tag one label to your account. In the next step, choose your order delivery partner. (That can be Uber Eats, Grubhub, Caviar, and so on)
If not aiming for that, you can also choose a fundraiser sticker, or gift card. Now, you’re ready to publish your story. When your Instagram followers see the story, they’ll be able to tap it and complete a purchase.
Alternatively, you can insert the stories’ features in the form of buttons or knobs on your profile. To mark the elements like buttons, go to your Instagram profile, click on ‘edit profile,’ and after that, tap on ‘action buttons.’ You’ve got a broad leeway in choosing the Action Button type (gift card or fundraiser sticker) that you’d prefer to install on your Instagram profile.
After you’ve selected the Action Button type, your next task would be to associate with a gift card or food delivery partner. Once you’ve partnered with a third-party site, your guests will be able to tap on a food coupon sticker or button or gift card voucher for fulfilling a purchase via your partner’s website.
Take advantage of Instagram’s “Stories” feature for advertising your business
Want to breathe new life into and reinforce your social media promotion strategy to advertise your restaurant or takeaway business? Then make the most of the “Stories” feature launched by Instagram in 2018. Stories have become extremely popular with the social media site’s over 800 million followers. In case you want to learn a bit more about the use of Instagram Story Ads for hospitality businesses, check out our blog on that topic.
Regardless of whether you’re using Stories for the first time or looking for some motivation to make your content more compelling, you can use the following story ideas to your advantage:
1. Boost traffic to your site by creating compelling content
Instagram Stories lets you add an engaging ‘Call to Action’ to your ‘story’ content through its ‘Swipe Up' link. Unfortunately, this option is only available if you've got quite a big following OR if your story is an advertisement. But hey, if you do have this big following, then this is definitely something you'd want to use.
2. Go live with your Instagram stories
Live video is booming! Especially now that so many people are still stuck at home. You can make the most of live video streaming by using Instagram Live to broadcast. For example, your chef cooking takeaway meals, you guys delivering the meals, or sharing the withdrawal of a winner of a sweepstake (say you did a giveaway!). Another fun idea would be to start a series like the Carpool Karaoke by James Corden (The Late Late Show). You could do something like this while delivering your food orders! Bet this will be a hit.
3. Treat your followers to an Instagram story or event before it becomes officially available
The previous idea inspires the next: use the dynamism and visual appeal of Stories by letting your followers have a behind-the-scenes experience. The experience would be somewhat similar to viewing a movie before it is commercially released. Are you planning to change your restaurant’s menu by adding some new items?
Why not take your loyal customers and potential guests behind-the-scenes and give them a sneak peek of your new-look menu? This strategy can hugely help boost your brand’s visibility online as well as stimulate your users to keep following your profile. You could spread this out across multiple days for ultimate engagement. Reveal one dish a day!
4. Let one of your users step into your shoes
This strategy for boosting interaction with your followers sounds like Ripley’s “Believe It or Not.” Step back and let one of your loyal customers be at the helm for a whole day. Allowing one of your users to manage your Instagram stories once in a while will give them the feeling they are truly appreciated. It shows you care about your customers. Be smart though and don't just randomly choose a follower. Go with someone that's a loyal guest and who you know you can trust to create appealing content.
5. Give a touch of exclusivity to your story with special effects and stickers
Images and graphics can go a long way in improving interaction with your restaurant’s Instagram followers. Use the options Instagram Stories give you like the Geotag Hashtag, GIFs, and selfies to boost their visual appeal and engagement levels. On the other hand, you can make your Instagram Stories stand out by playing with special effects in the form of ‘Focus,’ ‘Superzoom’, and ‘Boomerang.’
Running a restaurant business has never been harder – The way we dine out is changing, the way we see food is changing, the way we run our business is changing, and last, but not the least, the way we promote our business is changing. Especially during the strange times like this one, when coronavirus pandemic has also changed the way we live our everyday lives. These are the times when we've been forced to change the way we think and do business-wise.
So it's now more than ever that we should be aware of the importance of building a strong relationship with our audience and our customers. Tremento's blog has a lot of free resources that bring valuable information about marketing strategies for hospitality brands and businesses.
Still, we understand that running a restaurant means having A LOT on your plate at all times. Literally.
We know that you, as the owner or marketing manager of your restaurant, know your brand better than anyone else. But we also know that running a restaurant – or takeaway, for that matter – takes lots of time and energy. It leaves space to spend on crafting social media posts.
Our membership program takes the hassle away from social media and turn it into something fun and effective for you. It will help you to grow your following while actually spending very little time on creating the posts.
Check out more about the membership here.