I’m sure you’ve heard a ton of contradictory advice in regards to Instagram. Some people will tell you to stay away from the platform — that it’s a waste of time — while others will tell you that it is an untapped gold mine for your business.
In my experience, Instagram isn’t ideal for some types of businesses but great for others. If you’re in the food and beverage industry, I have some great news for you — there is ample opportunity within this space to monetize Instagram.
So, how do you make a profitable Instagram feed? You first create a targeted following around your niche. Next, you build trust with your existing audience by putting out helpful, high-quality content. Finally, you convert your audience into paying customers by directing them to your website.
Use Instagram to Build Know, Like, and Trust
I like to think of Instagram as a sales funnel. A well put together Instagram feed can generate significant income for businesses within the food and beverage industry. As a result, I treat my account (and the accounts I manage) with professionalism. I encourage you to do the same if you want to attract the right client (thus making your feed profitable).
Since we’re looking at Instagram as a sales funnel, the first step is to garner an audience. Luckily, Instagram provides some build-in features that drive free traffic. The key is to post quality content consistently and use related hashtags. Also, consider the following accounts that follow related food and beverage accounts in order to receive a follow back.
Once you start gaining some traction, you can build trust with your followers. Over time, this will pay off — since loyal followers will turn into lifelong customers later. Keep in mind that many Instagram users scroll through the app daily. So, if you post quality content daily, it will get noticed over time. You will develop familiarity with your followers which will soon turn to trust.
Trust will gradually turn to emotional attachment. Assuming you post quality content, your followers will start liking your post and thinking about visiting your business. A quality Instagram account personifies your food and beverage business. Suddenly the brick and mortar place becomes a place that people feel emotions about, even if they haven’t physically visited. And, as we all know, people often buy based on their emotions.
Once you’ve built some trust and emotional attachment, I recommend providing an inventive to check out your business such as a discount code. However, resist the urge to market too strongly, as this can turn your followers off. Simply provide some calls to action on your post occasionally, and you’ll start converting followers without disrupting the trust and authenticity you’ve developed.
Developing an Instagram following that trusts you, likes your content, and want to visit your business takes time. It won’t happen overnight. But, persist, and you’ll see that Instagram is a powerful marketing tool.
3 Elements of a Good Instagram Feed
In order to develop a great Instagram feed, become a food and beverage curator. In other words, post content that you know your targeted customer will enjoy. Good content on Instagram consists of 3 elements:
1. Great Pictures
Your food and beverage Instagram account should contain a mixture of images — both original and stock. Original images are the pictures that you take yourself. These images tend to work the best (assuming they are interesting) and provide compelling insight into your business that followers enjoy. Additionally, stock images allow you to post professional quality images without putting in all of the effort to take them yourself. Mix things up.
Good examples of images include your customers, your restaurant, and favorite dishes, beautiful foods (from stock websites). Be creative (while remaining on-brand) as the most interesting pictures tend to do the best on Instagram.
Pay attention to what photos get the most likes and comments. If a picture is popular, post more of a similar type. There’s no need to always reinvent the wheel. Additionally, keep in mind that every day is a new opportunity to provide an image that resonates with your followers. Don’t fall into the trap of being a perfectionist as this will hurt you in the long-run. Sometimes, it’s best to “just post” without worrying about the results.
2. Compelling Captions
Yes, images are definitely the hook when it comes to Instagram, but captions are almost as important. It’s a shame, then, that most people don’t put as much effort into the caption as the image. In my experience, captions matter. A lot. Captions can absolutely make or break a social media post and the right caption can make up for a less captivating image.
Creating the right caption takes practice. At first, I recommend imitating (not copying) other successful Instagram accounts within your niche. For example, if your business is a casual diner, find popular casual diner accounts on Instagram, and look at their captions for inspiration.
Over time, you will determine what works based on experimentation. In other words, see which captions get the most engagement and replicate your success. This concept is key as imitating other accounts won’t get lead to as much success as creating content with unique to your business. Imitation is OK at first and even encouraged but branch out over time. Be creative and have fun with running the account. Yes, it’s a business tool, but be too stiff and your followers will notice.
Posting captions that get results is a skill that can only be developed through practice. Put effort into your captions and over time you will get better and better.
3. Tags That Get Noticed
Tagging each post properly can easily boost traffic significantly. I often see entrepreneurs that don’t use tags to the fullest, and, as a result, miss out on traffic (and, sales) just by leaving out hashtags that could benefit their post and business as a whole.
Getting tags right takes practice. Just like with captions, imitate your competitors within the industry first and then proceed to branch out to unique hashtags.
I understand that experimenting with hashtags is annoying and difficult to track. This is why it can be helpful to bring in experts specifically within the food and beverage industry that knows how to produce content that gets results. I and my team have years of experience and a ton of success. If you want to take out the extensive experimentation and effort required in order to succeed, consider our social media kits. They allow us to do the social media work behind the scenes so that you can focus on growing your business in other ways.
In conclusion, creating an Instagram feed that gets noticed isn’t easy. It requires getting all three mentioned elements right. Learning the ropes of the platform can take a lot of time. Most entrepreneurs I know within the food and beverage industry didn’t start gaining traction until they’d been using Instagram for 6+ months. That being said, learning Instagram is a skill that pays off handsomely. It teaches you about marketing, social media, and how to interact with an audience. And, of course, the work you put into Instagram will eventually result in additional money in your pocket.
Scheduling Posts to Stay Consistent
Whether you are doing Instagram for caterers or Instagram for wedding planners, scheduling posts in order to stay consistent on the platform is key to your success.
The wrong way (which most people do) is to sporadically put up generic content. Instead, all your posts should be spaced appropriately, interesting, and viable within your restaurant’s aesthetic. Do this properly, and you’ll get a ton of followers, likes, and eventually, conversions.
In order to schedule Instagram posts, I recommend using the Buffer app. It’s completely free and makes posting an absolute breeze. This is my favorite Instagram app for a reason — it really provides excellent results in making marketing on Instagram easier.
In conclusion, to develop a profitable Instagram feed, build trust by providing quality content (that uses the 3 elements discussed), use call to actions to direct your followers towards your business, and use Buffer to schedule Instagram posts properly. Follow all of these concepts and you’ll be on your way to generating income from the popular social media platform.
If you simply don’t have the resources and time available to pursue Instagram with professionalism, I highly recommend checking out our social media kits. My team will provide the high-quality content you need on a consistent basis. We know what works on Instagram within the food and beverage industry, so you can count on us to run your account properly.