When it comes to social media marketing, Instagram is a restaurant’s best friend. Everyone loves to look at pictures of food! The big challenge is dedicating time and being consistent in your posting to reflect your brand and portray your restaurant in the best possible light.
New York City’s Barbuto boasts a an impressive 47.2k followers on Instagram. (Of course it doesn’t hurt that Chef Jonathan Waxman has some publicity power of his own, but it’s worth noting that his account has about half that many followers.) In fact, the @barbutonyc is managed by Jennifer Davidson, Barbuto’s GM — and she shared with us some of her top tips for taking great photos, growing an audience, and interacting with fans. Read on!
Activity is everything. I try to post at least twice a day, if not three times. I also make time to be active on Instagram every day, including following restaurants, chefs, and people in the industry. The more active you are on Instagram — including posting, following, and liking — the more activity you’ll see!
Balance is key. While I mostly post pictures of menu items at Barbuto, I try to also include shots of the restaurant and pictures of our staff, as well as feature other restaurants I visit. While I think showcasing our menu is important, I think it’s the behind-the-scenes and “day off” photos that really highlight the vibe and style of Barbuto. It’s about sharing what we do here with everyone — it can be quite educational.
Responses create repeat visitors. I always try to respond to likes, mentions, and location tags with a like or a comment. We have a really special relationship with our guests and regulars that I try to maintain through Barbuto’s online presence.
Keep it simple. My composition style is to shoot from above to really feature the food in its entirety. I try to keep it simple, just like Jonathan does with his food. That being said, style is always evolving and I keep up with the best food bloggers and stylists on Instagram to see what trends are emerging. As far as lighting goes, we’re spoiled at Barbuto. The garage doors lend themselves to filtered natural light — the perfect scene for a food photo shoot. Never use a flash, especially when shooting food!
Hashtags are important but not the end-all, be-all. I try to use five or six per post, generally highlighting our #seasonal ingredients.
New menu items are just as important as Barbuto classics. I try to feature each new dish on our ever-changing menu, but you’ll always see pictures of our staples. Barbuto was founded on chicken and carbonara, and you’ll know that from our Instagram!
Know your audience. I try to make Barbuto’s Instagram appeal to everyone from food bloggers to neighborhood residents. I like our pictures to be clean and aesthetically pleasing, but also to reflect our style at Barbuto. We’re a refined restaurant with a relaxed neighborhood vibe and I want our Instagram to show you that.
All images courtesy of @barbutonyc on Instagram.