The business of Instagram

06, Mar. 2013

A fan-made Instagram of their experience at South St. Burger Co. Image courtesy of Instagram.

Information based on study from MomentFeed  and Nation’s Restaurant News’ article “Study reveals Instagram best practices for restaurants” originally published on February 22nd.

A great picture is no longer just worth a thousand words, it can be worth a thousand likes! Or a thousand impressions thanks to Instagram. The photo-sharing app recently hit 100 million users and continues to grow by the day.

Since its launch, Instagram has quickly become one of the premiere ways consumers create compelling content around brands and experiences they’re passionate about. Businesses themselves have more recently begun to take notice. More and more leading brands are popping up with their own corporate accounts, replacing user hashtags with a company handle that filters content back to the brand themselves.

The restaurant industry is especially well-tailored for Instagram. From the beginning, sharing photos of food, especially at restaurants, has been extremely popular amongst users. Social Marketing firm Momentfeed recently surveyed the market and found the highest rates of Instagram engagement among fast-casual chains. Their study uncovered that restaurants must look at the whole customer experience in order leverage the full power of the photo-sharing app with the food, decor and ambiance all factoring heavily on brand experiences and users looking to Instagram for all three.

So how should restaurants respond? Surprisingly, many brand managers were initially hesitant to embrace Instagram, seeing the potential consequences of widespread, uncontrolled brand coverage. According to MomentFeed, however, it’s important for them to get on board with the discussion – it’s happening whether it’s acknowledged or not. At the very least, restaurants should, as many social-savvy brands are already doing, encourage their customers to portray them in the best light by offering promotions and incentives or sharing and commenting on the photos themselves. Even taking the best shots and promoting them on the company social media pages. A re-tweet, like or comment from the brand can add to the customer’s memorable experience and boost further coverage.

Some restaurants have already integrated Instagram directly into the dining experience. Margaritas Mexican Restaurant recently launched a limited-time menu that doubles as a silly mustache mask. Guests can lift the mask to their face and upload a photo using the #NewMustache hashtag, with Margaritas offering prizes for the best pictures. Look for initiatives like this to grow in popularity in the upcoming months as more and more restaurants leverage the potential of the app.

Jump recently launched our own Instagram account. Check it out to see some of our finished projects, as well as what goes into the creative process here in our office.