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How to create a social media account for your restaurant: Instagram best practices, content strategy and more.

Whether you own a spanking new restaurant or are looking to step up your restaurant’s social media game, an Instagram marketing strategy is one you should master. Beyond email marketing, your restaurant’s Instagram account is a great tool to connect with new, loyal and prospective diners. While social media channels can seem like one big scary playground for traditional marketers, the great news is that Instagram itself is a big resource to look at how the market’s using it to their advantage — and learn from it.

Because who doesn’t love some good #foodporn? Besides allowing you to showcase drool-worthy photos of your restaurant’s cuisine, Instagram also helps you easily gather customers’ photos of your restaurant, share real-time updates via Instagram Story, and drive customers to your reservation site, among others. Did we also mention that Instagram has the highest audience engagement rate among social media platforms?

Read on to find out more about creating and evaluating a solid Instagram strategy for restaurant businesses.

Creating an Instagram content strategy

There are three main things a content marketer for restaurants needs to consider when developing a social media strategy: The overall aesthetics, tone of voice, and type of content to be featured.

The overall aesthetics of your feed is important as it represents the essence of your brand. Thus, it should be in line with that of the physical restaurant and remain homogeneous throughout. For example, if you run a cafe that’s all about social gatherings and good vibes, you can stick to a brighter colour palette.

A great example of this is how Wild Honey, a restaurant chain in Singapore, sticks to vibrant hues that mirror their casual, fun-loving brand. On the other hand, if your establishment appeals to an upmarket diner, draw them in with darker tones that convey a specific mood, as what Monti, an Italian restaurant in Singapore, has done.

Similar to your feed’s aesthetics, the tone of your copy should also complement your restaurant’s personality. Sea Circus, an upbeat restaurant and bar in Bali, has nailed this with their punchy and witty captions.


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Life happens, cocktails help ??✨ Good times always at the Circus ? #friyay

A post shared by Sea Circus Bali (@seacircus) on

Lastly, when planning the types of content for each post, an effective way to organise and map them out is through the use of content pillars. Content pillars are essentially broad categories which can later be broken down to various subtopics. Pillars for an F&B outlet can include menu items, recipes, behind-the-scenes, and user-generated content.

To decide on the best pillars, you need to have a good understanding of your target audience. Think about the demographics of the customers you’re trying to attract and what makes them tick.

Run a competition

After developing a solid content plan, you’ll definitely want an audience to show off to. Instagram users loves the thrill and ease of winning a prize. To increase your restaurant’s follower count, use mechanics such as “follow us” and “tag a friend” in your competition. You can also use this opportunity to increase audience engagement by asking questions and having them leave their replies in the comments section. Psst… this is also a good tactic for ordinary posts!

Use strategic hashtags 

Including hashtags in your posts or Instagram Stories also increases your visibility. We recommend using a mix of general (like #burger or #pizza) and unique, restaurant-specific hashtags to score both reach and genuine engagement. Weaving hashtags into the copy is a good way to increase the use of hashtags without making your post look too spammy, just like how Beef & Liberty, a restaurant in Shanghai, has done.


Having a hashtag unique to your restaurant adds the benefit of allowing you to collate customers’ photos and find notable ones to feature on your feed. User-generated content increases engagement and conversion as customers feel flattered when you deem their photos “Insta-worthy”. Potential diners will also be more inclined to visit your restaurant upon reading reviews from real people. As an icing on the cake, you get to save time on your own content generation.

Instagram Stories

To engage your followers and keep them interested, encourage them to interact with your brand. The Instagram Stories feature is an excellent platform for this. Ask diners to vote for their favourite dishes with the poll function, test their food knowledge with quizzes, or garner feedback with the use of open-ended questions. Unlike your main feed, Instagram Stories give you the freedom to be more spontaneous as they disappear after 24 hours, so be as creative as you want!

Instagram Ads 

If you’d like to give your posts a boost, consider putting some marketing dollars into Instagram advertisements. Woven seamlessly into users’ feeds and Stories, it’s a win-win for both you and your audience. In fact, statistics show that 75% of Instagram users take action on an ad — whether it’s clicking on the call-to-action button or purchasing the product.

To create your ad campaign, set your marketing objective: Awareness, traffic, or engagement? Next, narrow in on your desired target audience demographics and ad placement (feed, Stories, or both?). Lastly, set your campaign budget and choose between several ad formats. Both the feed and Story platforms support still image and video formats, with the feed platform even offering Carousel and Collection ad formats so you can feature multiple products in a single ad. Alternatively, you can simply click “Promote” on a post that’s already on your feed.

Whatever ad format you choose, your ad content should be attractive and relevant to your target audience, and boast a witty copy that will entice them to click on that call-to-action button.

Measuring Success

What does being successful on Instagram look like? A typical Instagram marketing strategy aims for a high audience awareness, audience engagement, customer response rate, and return on investment (ROI).

For awareness, the most straightforward metric is your follower count. The higher the number, the more likely your content will be seen. Instagram Insights, a feature that can be accessed with an Instagram business account, can also tell you the exact reach of each post, defined as the number of unique Instagram accounts that have viewed it. Another useful metric is the impressions of a post, which is the total number of times a post has been viewed, repeated or not.

Not only should you aim for a wide reach, but you should also strive for high engagement. This indicates how interested your followers actually are in your content — you wouldn’t want them to just scroll past your posts. Metrics to measure engagement include the number of likes and comments on each post, reposts, and account mentions or tags.

Next, knowing your customer response rate, which is the average amount of time taken by your team to respond to customer feedback or queries, is important as 80% of customers expect a response on social media within 24 hours. Maintaining good customer service on your Instagram page will naturally lead customers to believe the same standard of service is upheld in your restaurant.

There are other tools you can add that’ll aid to a higher conversion rate. Include your restaurant’s website link in your Instagram profile or a “Reserve” call-to-action button (available with an Instagram business account), that encourages users to click with each post. With Instagram Insights, you can track the number of clicks on your webpage or Reserve button.

Great news for restaurants that are signed on to Chope! The Reserve button integration is something you can activate in your Instagram bio. This makes it easier for diners who are constantly on their mobile devices.

If you’d like a more in-depth analysis of your data, there are several products in the market that can help you create data trackers and visualisation. These include Hootsuite, Later, Sprout Social and Salesforce.

Now that you have a host of tips for an Instagram strategy, go forth and bring your restaurant to the world!

Want more Instagram tips for restaurants? Learn how Chope’s paid marketing solutions on Instagram can fuel your social network, and subscribe to Chope For Restaurants for tips, advice and more how-tos.


Amanda Seah

Though you can’t tell at first glance, Amanda is quite a foodie who is always thinking of what to eat next. The content she writes is fuelled by a good oat milk latte and her experiences across the digital and retail marketing field.


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