How to make the most of Instagram


Use of the social-media photo application Instagram has been filtering into the restaurant business slowly over the past two years, but Facebook’s announcement this week of a $1 billion deal to buy the photo-sharing platform turned more heads.

In addition, the free application was added earlier this month to Google’s Android operating system after spending its first two years as an iPhone-only app. Instagram recently said it has about 30 million registered users.

“A picture really is worth a thousand words,” Daniel Barrett, restaurant and service manager at Ava Kitchen & Whiskey Bar and Pizzeria Alto in Houston. “It’s a great tool, because food is very much about the visual — how it’s plated, how it looks.”

The Instagram posts have led to incremental sales, Barrett said. “One day we posted a picture of a vegan-friendly pizza, and one of our followers had a Houston vegan website. They reposted the photo, and we got a few people come in because of it.”

The Instagram app allows users to post simultaneously to a choice of Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, Poseterous and Foursquare.

“It’s uncommon when a brand and social media channel align so naturally both from a business [brand] benefit and social media user scenario perspective,” Pamela Naumes, director of digital for Los Angeles-based Pinkberry, wrote in an email to Nation’s Restaurant News.

She said Pinkberry also capitalizes on the viral nature of the social-media platform.

“There’s great opportunity to reach out to new customers and really leverage this channel as an awareness builder for the brand,” Naumes said.

Nation’s Restaurant News asked restaurant Instagram users for their top tips for using the social media application.

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