Keeping three important steps in mind
By: Grace Gurley
While I was working as a bartender and server for a local brewing company, my coworker and I were brainstorming how to get in more people on a slow night. We concluded that Instagram would be helpful. An Instagram would give us exposure, and allow clientele to interact with our “new items on tap” lists when they went up. To our shock, we found out the business had an account but hadn’t used it in over a year. I emailed a pitch to the owner on how I could grow the page, and he gave me access to all accounts. Here’s how I grew the story engagement by 206%.
To grow anything (relationships, plants, followers, etc.), you need to be consistent. The more frequently you post, the more your consumer is seeing the content. Posting content at least 14 times a week is ideal for a page with under 1k followers. Those 14 posts can be the main account or story content. Posting Instagram stories every day keeps your account popping up every time your followers open the app.
You can also share your own main account posts to your story to drive engagement. I used the format of 3 main account posts a week and 1 to 2 story posts daily. The reason it was imperative to post more frequently on Instagram stories than main came from the recent Instagram Stats notes. These stated, one-third of the most viewed stories came from brands and businesses. Posting daily I got questions and comments about posts in the brewery during my shifts.
Putting out engaging content can boost you in the Instagram algorithm. Instagram sorts content by the users interests, whatever they interact with most will be boosted in their feed. For example, if you asked your followers a question to answer in the comments, every time someone new comments it will put your post at the top of followers feeds again. It does this because Instagram will flag it as something that person wants to keep interacting with.
Likewise, with stories, users are more apt to remember a story they participated in. You can have polls, rate scales, question boxes, and more on your stories. Not only do these practices engage, but it’s an invaluable insight into what your followers want to see from you. Picking your followers’ brains with playful questions, stories are a great place for conversations with your customers.
Whenever a new beer comes onto our tap list I’d post it on the mainstream and repost it to the story with a question or poll. This way followers would have two chances to see anything new. Additionally, it helped us see what beers most excited our clients.
Promoting Your Instagram
Engaging and consistent content is great, but people need to know about it. You can grow your following or re-engage stagnant followers in person and through tags online.
Using hashtags on your posts and stories makes it easy for your content to be tracked and located. There are different types of tags including branded, location-based, seasonal, broad appeal, niche interest, entertainment, and time-sensitive. Searching and finding tags in all the categories that are relevant to your business will give you a massive “like” boost and new followers. I would use tags like #brewsaders, #grandrapidsbrews, #Oktoberfest, and #newtotap. All of these tags boosted our engagement as a small brewery in Grand Rapids.
In-person engagement driving came mainly from my front-of-house staff and me. I put the Instagram handle on the door, the hostess stand, and right above the bar tap list. Whenever a table asked about new beer or food promotion, we would guide them to the Instagram page. If any of us took a picture for a table we would tell them to tag us and repost them to our story. Not only was this effective, but it was also fun. Customers loved to be included and see their faces supporting their favorite beer or brewery.
Importance of Social Media Growth
In the modern world, it’s important to grow in relevancy with your brand. Growing that Instagram page taught me how valuable it is to have your brand constantly put out there. In 1 month we saw an increase in nightly diners and drinkers, got tagged at least once a night, and had people walk in the door asking to try our newest beer. We saw the direct impact of having social media outlets on the business. When I started managing the page, stories were getting between 35-50 views, by the end of the month every story was being viewed by 300+ accounts. It created a fun way to communicate with and engage with all our regulars and large clientele base.
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