Social Media Marketing 101 for Restaurants: Instagram

Updated: Feb 27

A study conducted by Zizzi shows that Instagram users between the ages of 18 and 35 spend the equivalent of five days per year browsing food images on Instagram. Of those users, thirty percent would avoid a restaurant that does not have a reasonable presence on Instagram.

Given that 80 percent of Instagram users follow at least one business, an opportunity exists to promote your restaurant’s menu items as well as interact with potential customers in your area. Not only that, but it’s a great way to find out whether your food is resonating with your current customers – if you find that they’re Instagramming your food, you know you’re doing something right!


According to Forbes, Instagram has a 2.2 percent interaction rate per follower. That’s ten times higher than the per follower engagement rate on Facebook, which stands at .22 percent.

The best time for a restaurant to post on Instagram is around mealtimes: 9am, between noon and 1pm, and 8pm. Interestingly, the most commonly hashtagged foods are pizza, followed by sushi, steak, and burgers. Speaking of hashtags, make sure you use them! Studies show that images that are posted with at least one hashtag generate 12.6% more engagement.

Generally, you should avoid using filters on your food photography (a filter implies that the content cannot stand on its own). However, if you do decide to use one, make sure you maintain brand recognition by using the same one consistently across all photos.

BrainPickings: Learn more about how to optimize your restaurant's Facebook page!