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Instagram: Restaurant’s New Craze

Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are popular and a lot of customers still use them, but there is another site out there that is gaining popularity.  Instagram is a picture based social media site that is catching everyone’s attention.  According to Fast Casual, Instagram has grown from 5 million users to over 30 million since 2010.  As of now, there are over 1 billion photos uploaded on the site with the number continuing to increase every day.

Picture based social media sites are becoming increasing popular with consumers.  People are naturally visually based and websites that cater to this grab their attention.  Restaurants like Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks are using Instagram to promote their brand and run contests.  Customers can posts pictures with their products for a chance to win a prize.  This gets their customers engaged and also increased the amount of followers they have.

Instagram is a way for brands to use a new approach to marketing their products.  Instead of having professional pictures and perfect images, Instagram allows spontaneous sharing of pictures.  This gives the site and brands more of a personality in the minds of its customers.  Followers can also post pictures of their favorite brands and products on the site which is great word of mouth advertising for restaurants.

The site recently created an app that its customers can use to post their pictures to different sites.  The app allows users to post to Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, Poseterous, and Foursquare.  All these sites already have a large group of followers and this new app gives Instagram and other social media sites an integrated feel for consumers.

Similar to Twitter, Instagram has a hashtag feature.  When uploading a picture, a person has the option of putting hashtags that relate to that picture.  For example, if a pizza restaurant puts a picture of their veggie pizza, they can use the hashtags #pizza, #restaurant, #veggie, along with anything else that matches the picture.  Then, when someone searches for pizza, their picture will come up along with all pictures with the hashtag #pizza.

Restaurants can use Intagram to their advantage.  About 60% of pictures uploaded onto Instagram are of food and drink.  Restaurants can post pictures of a dish or soup of the day instead of just posting a comment to Facebook or Twitter.  Pictures are better marketing for food than words.  Food is very visual and the colors and plating make a dish pop out verses words that may sound good but do not give that visual image. 

A picture is worth a thousand words, and restaurants can use Instagram to spread those words to its customers.  With the amount of people on the site, and its increasing popularity, it would be smart for restaurants to grab a camera, and put themselves out there for the Instagram world.  This social media site can be used for promotions, marketing, and customer engagement.  It is a great marketing tool for restaurants and can get them a little closer to their customers.

Savanna Eckenrode
MenuDrive
www.menudrive.com

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