As Australians revel in the warmer weather and take to dining and drinking out with enthusiasm, it’s prime time for small businesses within the hospitality industry to extend their reach through Instagram.

With 600 million active users globally and seven million monthly active users locally, there’s a great opportunity for SMBs to use the platform to create new customer relationships and deepen existing ones. People are spending more time than ever before on mobile – for every five minutes we spend on our mobile, one minute is spent on Facebook and Instagram combined. Australians check their Instagram 11 times a day, six days a week.

Summer is a particularly busy time in the hospitality industry and the marketplace is crowded, making it difficult to achieve genuine customer engagement, especially through social media.

Instagram is a particularly valuable marketing tool for foodservice businesses. As the adage goes – you eat with your eyes, and food is a top interest amongst Australian Instagrammers. Hence, you have a marketplace that is already in some way interested in what you have to offer.

With the development and introduction of new features on Instagram such as Business Tools and Instagram Stories, SMBs now have new ways to maximise their exposure, connect with their customers, and build a loyal community of customers with whom they can share their story.

The recent launch of Instagram Stories allows businesses to engage with their followers via a series of photos or videos that disappear after 24 hours. It’s a fantastic tool that can be used to entice existing or potential customers, giving them an insight into your offering and a behind-the-scenes snapshot of how your business operates, without disrupting the look and feel of your curated feed. You can also bring your business story to life though text and drawing tools, which can be overlayed onto photos and video.

The free Business Tools feature includes a range of services which allow any brand, venue or SMB to connect with their customers. Services include a business profile, contact button functionality, insights and promotional tools.

Instagram 101 for any business is to be visual, be memorable and know your target audience. Here is a list of helpful tips to ensure you make the most of the platform.

Make authentic and intimate connections
The introduction of Instagram Stories means that businesses can now share hero moments with their customers. You can create an intimate connection with your audience by taking them beyond the curated post and offering them a behind-the-scenes glance at your business. Videos and imagery featuring daily specials, offering sneak peeks of new products, your venue on a sunny day, or an event in the works gives followers a real time connection with your business.

Have fun
Even though content should be of a high quality and unique to help build genuine connections and brand loyalty, it shouldn’t stop businesses from having fun on the platform. Utilising fun features like filters, coloured text or emojis can make for a playful post; while Boomerang can help bring your brand’s personality to life. Make sure the features match your brand and be consistent when using them to build a solid brand identity.

Arm yourself with the right (Business) Tools
Business Tools will connect you with your customers quicker than ever before. The free feature provides business insights so you can really understand what’s working for your current and prospective customers, or what to try next time. It allows you to turn Instagram posts into ads directly through the platform, while also offering customers call and email functionality.

Be accessible
Summer is a great time to post helpful content for followers. Make sure they know how you can assist with their dining plans or celebrations. For example:

  • Directions on how to find your business
  • Call and email functionality through Business Tools
  • Advise on guidelines for catering to big groups
  • List opening hours, especially if you’re extending your hours or closing for a period of time

Paul Nahoun, Travel/ Tourism, Facebook & Instagram, Australia


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