3 Ways Restaurants Can Use Instagram Live Streaming

The Restaurant Coach™, Donald Burns, put it best: "Word of mouth is now world of mouth with a single click of a button." Social media is now the new word of mouth, and restaurants that want keep up with their culinary competition and stay connected with technologically-advanced consumers need to stay ahead in the digital landscape.

Using Facebook and Twitter are pretty much a given, but in the last few years, brands have even begun exploring Snapchat, an app known for temporary, in-the-moment photos — and for quickly rising as a social media star that in a short time spiked to 150 million active users a day. Still, Instagram reigns supreme in the kilobyte kingdom at 300 million daily users. However, beyond Instagram transforming users from the typical diner to ultimate food photographer, its latest feature can transform restaurant owners to brand storytellers.

In late 2016, the app announced its live video streaming capabilities. Unlike live streaming on Facebook or sending stories on Snapchat, the footage recorded on Instagram Live disappears as soon as recording ends. Content that disappears without a trace? Some may wonder how that could be effective, but if you're looking for a creative way to connect with your guests, here are three ideas.

1. Give them a Behind-the-Scenes Peek at Your Business

Want to show off your sustainable sourcing by recording your staff picking ingredients directly from local farms? Are you in the process of plating your specials of the day? Interested in offering your viewers a fun mini-class or tutorial on how to set up their silverware or give them hints on how to mix up their favorite cocktail?

Instagram Live can last up to an hour and gives your audience a unique, intimate look at how your restaurant runs day-to-day. Building that relationship and bridging the gap by highlighting the human face of your operations only increases brand loyalty — and if you capture the right dishes, could make users hungry enough to swing by, too.

2. Introduce Your Team — and Your Regulars!

This goes hand-in-hand with humanizing your brand. Customer service and high-quality food are no longer the only expectations consumers have when it comes to receiving the best dining experience. They want to know more about your restaurant's background, mission, culture, and values

Have a fun Q&A with your lead chefs. How did they get to be where they are today? What is their favorite dish to create at the restaurant? What about it makes it so delicious? Let your front of house introduce their smiling faces and encourage viewers to come on by! And if you have any regular diners who are adventurous and don't mind strutting their stuff in front of the camera, let their word of mouth be your next advertisement. Guests will trust their feedback over your promises any day. By featuring your regulars, you are also hinting to other viewers that there's a reason why your regulars have developed a rapport with their restaurant. Now they just have to find out why!

3. Offer Exclusive Rewards to Win Customer Attention 

There is a certain honor and appeal of being "in the know." Win the attention of your audience by occasionally offering exclusive rewards or deals through Instagram Live. Because the footage vanishes into thin air right as you hit end, only loyal brand followers who managed to catch your announcement will be able to cash in your special prize — and once word spreads that your restaurant hides these Easter Eggs here and there for guests to find, others will be more inclined to tune into your announcements, too. Read More