Instagram – best practices for your catering company or restaurant

Picture perfect

If you own a catering company or restaurant in today’s digital age, you need to serve up more than just good food. You need to learn how to stand out in a crowded online landscape. Social media can help you do just that — especially Instagram. But to actually move the needle and grow your number of followers, you need your Instagram photos to be as tasty as the dishes you make.

5 Instagram practices to follow

By leveraging these key Instagram best practices, you can build your customer base and your catering company or restaurant.

  1. Use high-quality images.
  2. Highlight events with Instagram Stories.
  3. Size your images correctly.
  4. Mix up your content.
  5. Use hashtags to increase your visibility.

Let’s dig into the best ways to get the most marketing power out of Instagram.

1. Use high-quality images

They say a picture is worth a thousand words because it’s true. It’s important that you take compelling pictures that show off what your business does in the best way possible. You know your catering company or restaurant is about more than just food. You’re in the business of making occasions and events special.

Capture the essence of your offering with beautiful, high-resolution photos that show people and places, as well as delicious food. Not only will these photos be more interesting to your target audience, but you’ll also have the opportunity to showcase all you have to offer.

An important tip: When highlighting your culinary offerings, consider hiring a professional food photographer if you can stretch your budget a little further. Photographing food can be tricky and requires special lighting and tools to get it right. If not done properly your food could appear unappetising.

 2. Highlight events with Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories is the perfect opportunity for catering companies to showcase their events and dishes. Take plenty of pictures before, during and after your event, and then choose the ones that tell a succinct and compelling story about your capabilities and services.

If you’ll be too busy to take photos, have someone with a good eye capture them for you. Don’t forget to take videos, too. Just be sure they capture the ambiance of the event or your venue, and aren’t too long. You want to entice your followers with a variety of rich content so they not only see what you’re capable of, but also learn more about you and your business.

 3. Size your images correctly

Instagram allows you to post three different orientations: square, landscape and portrait. If you don’t size your pictures properly, you could end up with a distorted photo that turns people off. Instagram best practices for sizing images are:

  • Square: 1080 x 1080 pixels with an aspect ratio of 1:1.
  • Landscape: 1200 x 628 pixels with an aspect ratio of 1.9:1.
  • Portrait: 600 x 750 pixels with an aspect ratio of 4:5.

Follow these sizing guidelines when creating ads for your business on Instagram as well. You can use either JPG or PNG formats, but they should be no larger than 30 megabytes.

If you’re posting videos or video ads, the proper sizing is:

  • Square videos: Minimum 600 x 600 pixels with an aspect ratio of 1:1.
  • Landscape videos: Minimum 600 x 315 pixels with an aspect ratio of 1:91:1.
  • Portrait videos: Minimum 600 x 750 pixels with an aspect ratio of 4:5.

Instagram best practices dictate that the formats be either MOV or MP4 and no larger than 4 gigabytes and 60 seconds long.

If this sounds too hard or confusing, don’t worry. There are numerous free apps available that make resizing images and editing videos easy.

 4. Mix up your content

Without variety, your followers will get bored and stop paying attention. Vary your posts and stories to include things that are interesting in the community, evoke emotion or offer value.

This might include video recipes, charities you’re involved in or compelling (and appropriate) human interest stories. Perhaps you catered a fundraiser for a sick child or donated food to a homeless shelter, for example. By mixing up your content, you’ll keep your target audience engaged.

 5. Use hashtags to increase your visibility

Hashtags are one of the most important Instagram best practices to follow, yet they can be confusing and are often misused. Why use hashtags? Hashtags can help make your post visible to users when they’re searching for a specific term. But if your post doesn’t actually relate to the hashtag you’re using, it can be a real turn off.

The best motto to follow when using hashtags? Less is more. Before you start hashtagging, do the proper research to find the right ones for your brand and then find a healthy and appropriate balance for when to deploy them.

Ready to start posting?

There are many Instagram best practices that can help you market your business. Others to consider include using calls-to-action in your posts (i.e., tag a friend or leave a comment) or asking followers to post content about their experiences with your business. All of these strategies will help you leverage the power of Instagram to engage your target audience and build your business.

Image by: Christmas photo created by valeria_aksakova - www.freepik.com

Leslie Park Lynn is a 16-year restaurant industry veteran. As a freelance writer and restaurant consultant her work is internationally known. Working in Fortune 500 companies she has gained extensive expertise in restaurant marketing, operations, management, brand development and culinary and beverage. Leslie has held management and operations positions with YUM! Brands, Darden Restaurants and Burger King Corporation and as a corporate consultant. She is currently working on her first book on restaurant startups.