How to use Instagram for cafe marketing - grow your customer base

How to use Instagram for cafe marketing

You’re living the dream, running your own cafe and serving up delicious coffees and lunches to your community of customers. So it might be a little overwhelming to realise that to be in with a chance of survival in the dog eat dog catering world, you’ll need to invest time and energy into serving up fresh daily online content too! Which is why we’ve gathered our thoughts here on how instagram for cafes and cafes can use Instagram to grow their customer numbers.

Instagram is where it’s at for cafe marketing. But how can cafes use Instagram to market themselves? And what is the benefit of using Instagram for business? 

Here we show you six ways to use your Instagram profile, grid and Stories to make them improve your bottom line. Even if their bottom lines are not improved by a visit to your cafe!

Instagram hashtags and geotags

First up, think like your customers. You’re in a town you don’t know and you’re desperate for a quick and delicious caffeine fix. So you open Insta (not Google any more) and search! 

The Missing Bean indie coffee roasters and cafe in Oxford uses hashtags to extend the reach of their posts. They put themselves in the minds of their customers searching for that perfect brew, both in terms of product and location. In this example, they’re promoting vegan and gluten free cake too, so they’re tagging that specific niche as well. 

Check out location specific hashtags that your local competitors are using and jump on them, plus any hashtags that are popular with the particular dishes you’re serving up. 

We recommend using 8-20 hashtags. Separate them from the caption so you don’t crowd the reader. Instagram users want clear, design-led content, not a long list of hashtags.

Make sure you geotag each post as it goes up, by selecting ‘Add location’ when you post. This is particularly relevant for the cafe market as the customers you haven’t yet met seek out their ideal cafe. Make it yours! 

Follow: @themissingbean

missing bean instagram for cafes.jpg

Photo quality and theme

Queens of the beautiful grid, Sketch London is an absolute delight to follow. The palette, styling, consistency, rich hues and fabulous fashion and interiors-style photography is more on show than the afternoon teas they offer. Their huge filmography and photography budget is likely to be out of reach for most independent cafes, but experiment with excellent free apps like Snapseed and Adobe Lightroom - both available on iPhone and Android. Beware slapping on a naff filter! 

Follow: @sketchlondon

sketch london on Instagram .jpg

Nail your cafe’s Instagram bio

Pineapple Cafe makes its profile page work for it. Don’t waste those precious 150 bio characters. You’ve got to let your customers know what to expect, where and when. With more people than ever checking Insta profiles before they search for a company’s own website, it matters!

Pineapple Cafe has not only let us know what they serve up, what’s unique (riverside setting) but also their opening hours, address, and the fact that they’ve been nominated for a prominent award.

Follow: @cafepineapple

cafepineapple Instagram marketing.jpg

Another smart and uplifting trick is to use line breaks and emojis to group your information in a visually appealing way. Mission Burrito is a multi-venue chain of Mexican restaurants, so instead of sharing location details, they’re telling you every other reason why you should go there for your Mexican food fix.

Follow: @burritohq

Missionburrito instagram bio marketing.jpg

Instagram Stories for cafes

Tickle the senses with your Stories to provide ‘here and now’ insight and create FOMO amongst your prospective customers. Instant satisfaction is the ‘here and now’ of Instagram marketing for cafe. Think icing cakes, pouring latte art, biting into a gooey biscuit. You want to hypnotise your viewers with instantly #oddlysatisfying content. 

The theory behind why this works is that we humans are programmed from childhood to enjoy watching skilled people do things with their hands. It’s how we learn after all. Tap into those ASMR responses (the tingling up the spine) that’s provoked when we watch videos of people making slime or unwrapping presents. It’s a thing!

Play around with interactive elements including polls, countdown clocks and music, and track what resonates with your audience most via the Insights panel. 

Follow: @palmvaults

palmvaults Instagram Stories cafe marketing example.png

You: the people behind the cafe

Staff at The Baskerville pub in South Oxfordshire show they’re just as happy in front of the camera as they are front of house! Don’t be shy. Happy faces on the grid demonstrate the warm welcome your customers will get when they visit. You are in the hospitality industry after all!

Follow: @thebaskie

thebaskie using instagram for pub marketing.jpg

Perfecting Instagram captions for cafe marketing

The charming vibe at Spoon deli and cafe in Henley on Thames is a class apart when it comes to captions. Free flow chatter, which is authentic, unfiltered and from the heart is difficult to fake. It gives the brand real personality, which helps newcomers feel at home before they’ve even arrived. By frequently addressing their community as ‘spooners’ they are building an even larger world around themselves, generating unbeaten brand loyalty.

Follow: @spoondeli

spoonhenley cafe marketing.jpg

Instagram for cafe marketing

Do them all or test each Instagram tactic fully, one at a time. You won’t see a queue out the door overnight but you should start to see an increase in follower numbers, post like and comments, and views of your Stories.

Using Instagram to marketing your cafe doesn’t have to be time consuming either. Keep the grid neat and tidy, posting thoughtfully when you can. Use Stories to tell that ‘here and now’ to showcase what, where and when to be seen in your cafe!

Do we practice what we preach? We like to think so - follow @coconut_pr on Instagram

For more Instagram marketing tips, a social media audit or a strategic perspective on your digital marketing, let’s chat.