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Instagram Stories and Your Food

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Social media and social media marketing are an ever-evolving beast. Keeping abreast of social media involves keeping up to date with the newest features of each platform and learning to use them to your benefit.

The latest Instagram update includes a new feature called Stories. So, what are Instagram Stories and how can you use them in promoting your food and your restaurant on Instagram?

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What are Instagram Stories?

Instagram stories are a collage of photos and videos that are strung together into a neat little package that is viewable for 24 hours. After 24 hours, your story disappears.

Instagram describes stories as a way to share moments of your day that you don’t necessarily want on your profile permanently. Basically, it’s Snapchat for Instagram.

How do I create an Instagram story for my restaurant?

To create a story, simply click on the icon in the top left-hand corner. It’s a little circle with a plus sign in the middle. Then, take photos or videos that you want to include in the story. You can keep adding more to the story throughout the day. Instagram will cobble all of your imagery into one slideshow for you.

You can add emojis, text, scribbles, or filters to give your story more personality or explain something further.

Why should I bother using Instagram stories?

Instagram’s algorithm for displaying photos in users’ feeds is based on popularity and previous likes rather than time posted, whereas stories are displayed purely by most recent first.

This means that if a follower hasn’t liked or commented on many of your photos previously, a regular Instagram picture may not show up on their feed. A story, however, will be most visible on anyone’s feed as soon as it’s posted. In terms of your content being seen by more people, stories are more effective.

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How can I use Instagram stories to promote my restaurant?

This new feature can be used to promote your food and your restaurant just like regular Instagram pictures. You can:

  • Advertise specials, discounts, offers, and promotions
  • Show behind-the-scenes moments of your business
  • Highlight events or themed nights
  • Showcase new menu items

There are a few points of difference with stories, however, that you can leverage to increase the impact of your restaurant’s Instagram presence.

The most obvious point of difference is that stories are temporary and don’t stay on your profile forever. This allows you to create an air of exclusivity around your stories. Using the feature to promote special Instagram-only offers is a clever way to attract more engaged followers on Instagram. People will be more dedicated to following your social media if they know there is often a reward for checking out your stories.

Stories allow you to – surprise, surprise- tell stories. When it comes to branding your restaurant and giving it personality, stories can be very effective. Stringing together a bunch of photos on the same theme can give a more rounded idea of your restaurant and what it’s about.

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This is particularly so when it comes to behind-the-scenes content. Behind-the-scenes content is one of the most effective ways of creating a human connection with your brand. Try uploading Instagram stories of staff interviews, or pictures of your staff hard at work, or the kitchen in preparation for the evening before doors open. This sort of content is great for cultivating a sense of closeness and affinity between customers and your brand.

The ability to add text, scribbles and emojis to your stories is another way that you can express personality and communicate the tone of your brand. This, once again, allows customers to get a feel for your business and align themselves with you.

When it comes to the very basics, Instagram for restaurants is all about showcasing delicious pictures of your wares. Stories can be a great avenue for that. Instead of individual pictures of menu items, you can put together a story of your dishes which go great together, a three-course meal being enjoyed, or all of your best-selling menu items. Instagram is still the premier social media platform for showcasing images of food, it’s just introduced an extra way of doing so.

Alex Sizer

Alex Sizer is a red wine lover, content writer and social media marketing specialist. When she's not writing her own travel blog, she's writing for The Social Savior's content team.

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