“Hang on, I need to post this on Instagram.”
While some may groan or roll their eyes when their dining companion says this before digging into the beautiful plate of food they’ve just been served, this behavior is about to have some interesting implications for your business thanks to the latest Instagram updates to make the Explore tab cleaner, easier to navigate, and segmented by tags and places for even more efficient discovery on the platform.
Previously, the Explore tab was just a catch-all section and you had to search by specific hashtags to drill down into particular topics, themes, or locations. Now, the Explore tab features Trending Tags, Trending Places, Places Search, and a bucket of content curated for you to explore. We’re still waiting on food-specific Explore pages, but in the meantime, if you’re one of the most Instagrammed locations, you’ll show up in the Trending Places tab.
So what does that mean for you?
For restaurants, these slick updates provide an interesting opportunity to think about ways to encourage user-generated content catered to these new searches. Add subtle nods to your social handles so patrons can easily reference them and use the correct tags and locations. And those aforementioned photos of dishes being served up at your location? If they’re tagged with the location’s name, a user can search for your location by name and discover all of the photos associated with you. Also, the more people who use your tag or location, the more likely it is you will show up as trending.
In addition, this can also serve as informal market research. As operators, consider taking a pass through your search results regularly to see if specific dishes seem to be fan favorites or, conversely, if there’s an opportunity to tweak something in real-time. This is also an easy way to find new people to follow and interact with, as a quick comment or like on their photos from your operation carry plenty of weight in the social world. Your social presences are only as strong as the conversations you engage in, so use these new updates to connect with loyal customers and convert new customers into regulars.
Want to learn more about ways to make Instagram work harder for you? Check out our Instagram 101 podcast!