13 Instagram Marketing Tips for Bars: The Essential DO and DON’T List
Kids these days call Instagram “the Gram.” But it’s not just teens scrolling through the photo-sharing social media platform: nearly 40 percent of all social media users are on Instagram, making it the most-used type of social media after Facebook. Need a few reasons to up your Insta-game with our Instagram marketing tips for bars? Ninety percent of businesses using social media say it has increased their exposure, and over 50 percent say it improved sales according to a recent Social Media Examiner report. Get ready for your venue’s close-up with 13 Instagram marketing tips for bars.
What Should I Post?
- DON’T Post Images That Looks Like Ads
The golden rule of Instagram marketing tips for bars is: show, don’t tell. This is an image-sharing app. Let the videos and photos do the talking and resist the urge to turn your bar’s Instagram into a promotional feed. Don’t put that text-heavy, 2-for-1 pitcher ad from the newspaper on Instagram. DO post a great shot of your most photogenic bartender holding two pitchers, then use the caption space to alert Instagram followers of your special.
- DO Go Beyond the Photo…
Here’s one of the easiest Instagram marketing tips for bars. Add visual interest by creating a Boomerang video for Instagram. Boomerang is a free app from Instagram that combines images into a mini video that endlessly loops. Going back to the bartender with the 2 pitchers…Open the Boomerang app which activates your smartphone’s camera, then ask your bartender to raise the pitchers one by one. Hold down the white button for a few seconds on Boomerang – and boom! You have an eye-catching video. Boomerang is just one example of the many apps that make it simple to create enhanced videos on Instagram. Most Instagram marketing tips for bars focus on photos, but don’t forget video!
- DO Share Fun Quotes and Sayings
While you should avoid promotional text images on Instagram, there is an exception to every rule when it comes to Instagram marketing tips for bars. Witty, irreverent, or inspiring quotes, presented in an attractive way, break up the monotony of an image-only Instagram feed – making this one of the best Instagram marketing tips for bars to try now. In fact, the Buzztime social media team found that their most-shared graphics on Facebook are beer-related quotes. To create your own quote images, use one of these 15 free quote generator apps.
- DO Share Pics and Videos of Your Guests…
…with their permission, of course! There are two reasons this is one of the best Instagram marketing tips for bars. The first reason: it’s authentic. Capturing a great shot of friends laughing at your bar will show – not tell – that you’re the “it” spot in town. Plus, a Georgia Institute of Technology study revealed that Instagram photos that show faces get 38 percent more likes than those without. Showing happy faces can also help boost weeknight business. Host a live trivia or poker event, take pics or videos of patrons having a blast, then show your Instagram followers why you’re the place to be to beat the midweek blues.The second reason featuring guests is on our list of Instagram marketing tips for bars? Because you told that group of friends they’d appear on your Instagram page, they’ll visit your Instagram and look for it. It’s their 15 minutes of fame. They may re-gram your post, (see #6) giving your bar valuable earned media exposure.
- DON’T Forget to Engage
Don’t become so focused on implementing Instagram marketing tips for bars that you forget to engage your audience. Instagram is a social media platform…so get people talking! Post a weekly funny picture and ask your followers to “caption this.” Or, post a short video of your bartender making a new drink, then ask for drink name ideas in the comments.
- DO Master the Art of Re-gramming
One of the best Instagram marketing tips for bars involves “re-gramming.” Here’s how it works. Search photos tagged at your location and ones that use your bar’s hashtag. Look for great shots of your bar. Also, check on the Instagram user to see how many followers they have (you want to share photos from Instagram users with a lot of followers). Then, click on the photo and share it with your followers – this is “re-gramming” and it’s one of the must-know Instagram marketing tips for bars. You’re rewarding your customer by shining the spotlight on their awesome photo. You’ll build major brand loyalty with that customer.
How Often Should I Post?
- DO Set a Posting Schedule
When it comes to Instagram marketing tips for bars, timing is everything. Too often a bar gets a rush of excitement and posts everyday – then, nothing. Consistency is king; set a pace you can maintain. According to a Forrester Research study of the 50 most successful brands on Instagram, the average frequency of posts is 4.9x per week. It’s not just post frequency that matters, it’s the time of day and day of the week. Gain custom insights on the best times to post using the When to Post app.A simple content calendar is one of our top Instagram marketing tips for bars. Plan ahead so you’re never scrambling for a post idea. Are you a sports bar in a college town? Put all the game dates on your calendar and plan to post the day before to stay top-of-mind as fans make gameday plans. Keep captions under 140 characters. That way, you can share your Instagram posts to Twitter using a social media scheduler like Hootsuite.
How Can I Get More Instagram Followers?
- DO Pay to Play
Next up on our list of Instagram marketing tips for bars: Actively acquire new followers through sponsored posts on Instagram! You can target your Instagram ads to run at certain times of the day, to specific demographics (age, gender, interest), and to those located nearby. You can even run your Instagram ads on Facebook, and vice versa. As for content? Stay in line with proven Instagram marketing tips for bars and don’t post something that looks like an ad! That Boomerang video of your bartender raising the pitchers with the 2-for-1 caption is a perfect paid Instagram ad.
- DON’T Rely Solely on Paid Instagram Posts
While no list of Instagram marketing tips for bars would be complete without recommending paid advertising, you should try non-paid tactics, too. Build your Instagram community by following other Instagram pages with the types of customers you want! If you’re a sports bar, follow the sports teams in your area, apparel shops, and even the fans themselves. They’ll see you’re following them, and hopefully they’ll return the favor. Here’s one of the most crucial Instagram marketing tips for bars: Make it a habit to comment on or “like” posts made by the pages you’re following so their customers see that you have a page, too. Plus, those pages may start “liking” your posts and may even re-gram you.
What’s the Best Way to Use Hashtags?
- DO Your Research
Before you start using a hashtag for your bar, look it up on Instagram. You may find it’s already in use, so go back to the drawing board! Your list of Instagram marketing tips for bars must include a strong hashtag for your bar: it should be unique, short (under 15 letters), and contain your bar’s name. In addition to your own hashtag, research other hashtags in your area. Most regional and local tourism associations have a hashtag. The managers of these Instagram pages will often re-gram images that use that hashtag. Plus, visitors may use the hashtag to find things to do on Instagram. Here are a few examples: #KeepAustinEatin, #VisitPhilly, #Californiafood, #EatLocalCny
How Can I Take Great Photos?
- DON’T Use the Flash
This should top any list of Instagram marketing tips for bars! Photos of both people and food taken with a flash usually look artificial and unflattering. Stay away from bright artificial lights, too. Natural light is always best, and especially an hour before sunset (known as the magic hour or golden hour). Worried your pic is too dark? Instagram makes it easy to lighten the photo right in the app.It’s worth ensuring your bar’s lighting is photo-friendly as many millennials seek out bars with Instagram-friendly lighting (see step #1, here).
- DO Use the Same Filter
The ultimate goal of our Instagram marketing tips for bars is to get customers to stop and linger on your images. One way to stick out is to use the same Instagram filter or the same border with every post. If you create quote images, use the same font. You’ll visually brand your bar on Instagram. Of course, when you take a great photo that needs no filter, be sure to use the trendy #nofilter hashtag.
- DO Try the Rule of Thirds
This tactic goes beyond Instagram marketing tips for bars – it’s a classic photo tip that ensures the subject of your photo stands out.
(Go beyond the basics. Check out this article from Gatherr for more food photography tips and tricks!)
Instagram marketing tips for bars come and go, but the ones we’ve included are tried and true. Instagram is always adding new features, like Instagram Stories, that offer new ways to engage with followers. The best Instagram marketing tips for bars are the ones put into practice…so grab your phone and get on the ‘Gram!