1. Write a compelling caption
The first step to getting the most out of your photos is writing an awesome caption for them. Concise yet compelling captions are an effective way to encourage people to visit your restaurant, engage with you online, and get more information about specific dishes. Here are some tips for writing a great caption:
- Be sure that you include hashtags for your restaurant, menu items, and location in the caption. This will help people find your posts when they search on Instagram, Facebook, or other social media channels.
- Request that the viewer visit your restaurant to try out the meal or meal experience you’re advertising. You can do this by including a call-to-action anywhere in your caption. A great call-to-action should be easy to read, direct (such as “come and get it” or “try now!”), and include an emoji, if appropriate to your brand. If you’re looking for inspiration, check out some examples of call-to-action phrases here.
- Edit the caption to include where individual dish shots were taken. For example, “This photo was taken in our relaxing outdoor dining area that gets great sunlight all day.” This is your opportunity to connect your food with the broader dining experience your restaurant offers.
Image Source: LeWrap Australia
2. Tailor photo posts for each social media platform
Different social media platforms offer various perks, so be sure that you’re tailoring each post to each platform beforehand. Here are some things to consider before you upload a photo of one of your dishes online:
- Instagram is one of the most effective social media channels for food photography, so be sure to take advantage of its features. Experiment with different image filters to ensure that customers can see the details in your food, even if they’re looking at your photo on their small, dim phone screens.
- Facebook is another excellent channel for restaurants. Facebook has free image-editing tools that can spruce up photos of your food. Try adding stickers, filters, and text to your photos before publishing them - they’ll be more eye-catching and fun for your customers!
- If you’re using platforms like UBEREats to source new customers or expand your delivery range, then be sure that each of your menu items is tailored for them. Make sure that that the quality of your photos is high and that you include a lot of information about each dish, such as what’s in it, how it’s made, and important allergy or dietary information.
Image Source: The Bavarian, Sydney
What you add or don’t add to your photos will ultimately depend on the tone of your brand and what different audiences respond to on different platforms. Try experimenting with a few different approaches to see what your audience engages with the most.
3. Increase engagement by asking questions
Social media platforms like Instagram allow for easy two-way communication with your customers. Including questions with your photo posts is a great way to increase engagement, lengthening the amount of time a user considers the dish you’re trying to sell.
Soliciting responses from your audience gets them personally invested in your posts.
For example, suppose you included a special new ingredient in your dish. In that case, you could ask your audience to guess what it is, rather than simply telling them. Alternatively, you could ask your followers to tell you how they usually like to eat something, such as asking what sauce they have with their pasta or how they like the spruce up their cocktails at home.
Image Source: nestleanz
4. Highlight your staff
Our first post on food photography tips discussed the benefits of including staff in your photos to help generate a human connection with your restaurant. When it comes time to upload, you can take this further by having the staff member’s name in the photo and explaining what they’re doing with the dish.
For example, a caption that says, “Here we have Stephanie adding the finishing touches to her signature pesto gnocchi”, will generate more of a human connection than a caption that only describes the dish without mentioning who created it and why it’s unique.
Image Source: Tonka Restaurant, Melbourne
5. Connect your posts with seasonal, trending topics and holidays
Tying your posts to current events, trending topics, and holidays will help you maximise the amount of exposure you get.
For example, if there’s something big in the news, consider tying your post to it with a tasteful pun or hashtag. If it’s a long weekend, acknowledge this in your caption and invite people to unwind and indulge with a particular dish at your establishment.
As we explored in our article on the emergence of food and drink rituals, connecting your food with existing habits or creating new ones can be a powerful way to drive engagement with your restaurant. If a special occasion like Father’s Day or Mother’s Day is coming up, a photo of a family enjoying a spread of dishes at your restaurant signals that you’re an excellent choice for group lunch or dinner bookings.
Image source: The Marsden Brewhouse, Sydney
How will you use food photography on social media?
We hope the tips above help you get the most value out of your food photography when uploading images to social media. There are a lot of different approaches you can take, so it’s important that you measure the success of your posts so you can identify what works best for your business and replicate it in the future.