Image Credit: Eaters Collective
In 2017 alone, over 70 per cent of Australian SMBs in the hospitality industry use some form of social media to market their businesses.
For businesses in general, Instagram can – and is proven to – be highly effective when it comes to connecting with customers. How good, you ask? Consider these statistics:
- Second only to Facebook (which owns Instagram), there are over 800 million total users on Instagram this year, 100 million of which were newly acquired between April and September 2017 alone.
- In Australia, the number of Instagram users now stands at 9 million (about 30 per cent of the population), an increase from 31 per cent to 46 per cent this year.
- Around 50 per cent of Instagrammers follow at least one business.
- After seeing an ad, 75 per cent of Instagram users take some kind of action, like clicking through to the advertiser’s website, shopping, or sharing with friends.
For hospitality and foodservice businesses in particular, there’s no time like to present to start thinking about how you can showcase the best dining experiences you’re offering on the visual platform. We’ll let the numbers tell you why.
There are over 249 million posts with the hashtag #food
Hashtags are more than just a way for social network users to index their posts. They’ve been used for over a decade now, not just to unite several generations of internet users (think #IceBucketChallenge), but also largely as a way for users to be a part of culturally relevant topics, like a shared love of food.
Research has also shown that posts with just one hashtag see 12.6 per cent greater engagement. And as we’re writing this article, there are:
- 249,153,967 posts tagged #food
- 143,309,303 posts tagged #foodporn
- 105,648,014 posts tagged #yummy
- 76,066,793 posts tagged #foodie
- 17,843,236 posts tagged #restaurants
And it’s not just that foodies are present in large numbers on the platform, they’re also more active. Instagram says this of their users who self-identify as interested in restaurants:
They’re active every day of the week with 1.4x more sessions than the average Instagrammer. They also have very large networks – with 2.6x more followers and nearly 4x more followings than the average Instagrammer.
What this means for hospitality businesses: your audience can be a big factor in the success of your Instagram marketing. Use the right hashtags in your Instagram posts to reach a larger audience and use trending, local, and cuisine-specific hashtags to help your posts show up in searches for relevant phrases.
Pro-tip: a location tag can increase the engagement on your Instagram posts by 79 per cent. (Add your business’s location to the Instagram directory here if you’re not already in there).
If you post an Instagram story, though, it can helpful to be more general and just tag it with the town or city you’re in. Instagram has a new feature that aggregates stories from multiple users in the same location, and pushes it out to users in those areas. Tag your story in Sydney, and Sydney users may end up seeing what you’ve posted.
66% of frequent diners want to visit restaurants after seeing photo or video posts from their friends on Instagram
There’s no arguing that Millennials are a key target audience for any hospitality and foodservice business using Instagram. They are after all, the ones that post the most reviews about dining establishments they’ve been to and the ones that take the most photos of their grub.
They’re also extremely influential in their circles when it comes to food – according to Instagram, 66 per cent of frequent diners want to visit fast-food restaurants they see their mates posting photos or videos of.
What this means for hospitality businesses: To provide an instagrammable experience for these discerning diners, you’ll need to provide the backdrop against which Millennials can capture and create their posts. Besides getting creative with your plating, enabling strong visuals through your establishment’s decor also adds to the Millennial diner’s overall culinary experience.
Uncle Ming’s, with its opium den inspired menu and decor, and 50s-themed Daisy’s Milk Bar are good examples of Australian hospitality venues that are giving their customers a reason to whip out their phones.
Pro-tip: When you collect contact information from your customers, don’t forget to ask them for their Instagram handles. Storing them in Kounta means you can easily reach out to them to connect with you on Instagram.
30% of Millennials avoid eating at restaurants with low social media presences
Research by Italian restaurant chain Zizzi found that 18–35 year olds spend five whole days a year just scrolling through at pictures of food , and 30 per cent of them would avoid eating at a restaurant with low social media presences (that is, accounts with few posts or little engagement with the public).
In line with this, recent research by Hootsuite also found some interesting facts about Instagram use in Australia:
- Every 28 seconds, an Australian hotel, bar or restaurant is tagged on Instagram.
- Influencers can help to drive up to 87 per cent of post volume for hospitality businesses (hotels, bars and restaurants).
- Hotels, bars and restaurants that are active on social media are perceived 20 per cent more positively than inactive hospitality businesses.
What this means for hospitality businesses: If you’re wondering how many times you should post on your Instagram page to keep your followers engaged, how about once a day? Research by Forrester – on the social media marketing tactics of the world’s top 50 brands – revealed that top brands now post about 4.9 times per week on Instagram. This is a marked increase of more than 50 per cent over compared to just two years ago in 2015, which means that hospitality businesses now need to take Instagram marketing more seriously than ever.
As digital becomes more and more embedded in every aspect of our lives, in particular the way we research, shop and dine, the remit of restaurateurs and food retailers will inevitably require some level of social media savviness. Instagram – having such a influence over diners – is arguably the one social media platform every hospitality business needs to get on and own.
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