Why you should be on Instagram by Mark Morris

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 23rd November 2016

Right now, everyone is talking about Instagram and its potential to connect people with all topics and of course brands. As chefs are visual learners and Instagram is image lead, it would seem it is the obvious social media choice when looking to engage with them. 

The photo sharing site was started back in 2010 by its founders Kevin Systrom (CEO) and Mike Krueger (CTO and Co-Founder). The site now boasts over 500,000,000 users who add a staggering 95 million photo's daily, begging the question how many selfies can you take?

The Staff Canteen instagramIt seems our obsession with recording every moment of our life in pictures shows no signs of slowing down. As phone cameras get better and better, so does our desire to show off and scream look at me I’m eating this in a posh restaurant my life is amazing! Compare this to Twitter’s 400 million users and it's clear to see just how popular Instagram is. Twitter has also just slashed 9% of its work force (around 350 people) plus it's closing its APP Vine the short video clip site, to cut costs as its revenue slows. The platform is struggling to engage younger users, and is losing this ground to Instagram and SnapChat.

Systrom and Krueger are now considerably richer after the social network heavy weight Facebook opened its cheque book and splashed the cash to the tune of $1 Billion ($300,000 in cash and the rest in Facebook stock).

This quickly saw Facebook change its wall/newsfeed to accommodate a much large image. As an APP the platform was so wonderfully simple, you could upload one image at a time, when uploaded, the image could not be expanded or rotated something almost unheard of in other photo apps, you could like and or comment.

Of course there were the filters you could add to uploads giving them a great twist, but what made it really catch on, was just how simple it was. The Staff Canteen had its ear to the ground on Instagram and joined the site in 2013 as we began to see more and more chefs moving from Twitter to Instagram. Like all new social networks the first few weeks are always the toughest, there seems little or no transaction in terms of amassing followers, getting your images liked or commented on.

Here the key of course is to engage like and comment on other images, also tell the world you have an account add a link in
 your e-mail footers, use your other social media channels and ask your fans and followers to join you on Instagram, whatever you do don't give up - we now have over 80k followers. Facebook has made many changes since its acquisition, you can get a business profile these are being rolled out.

Instagram has been added to the Facebook targeting advert software, you can link The Staff Canteen instagramyour account, although sharing images as they are posted to business pages is still frustratingly not yet something you can do. You can promote your post to a targeted audience via a simple button on each image.

A must now for business users is the reporting features, which offers you the number of impressions your content generates,
this week alone (November 23, 2016) The Staff Canteen had over 2,000,000 Instagram impressions. The feature shows analytics from the last seven days showing the variance of the previous seven days, the reach, profile views, clicks to your website - just some of the measurements on hand to justify your ROI.

A whole section of food only hashtags have been created the #Food has over 194,000,00 posts #FoodPorn has some 103,779,007 posts #Chef has over 8-million posts #Cheflife over 3,000,000 and #TheStaffCanteen has over 52,000 posts but the list goes on and on. We are still testing hashtags here to find the best solution in terms of what works, and what doesn't, that's something we'll probably keep just for us though, so keep watching our posts.

There are some serious numbers of followers behind the industry’s biggest names Tom Kerridge (@cheftomkerridge) 80k followers, Sat Bains (@satbains1) 37k followers, Nathan Outlaw (@Nathanoutlaw) 53k, however you don't need Michelin stars to rule on Instagram take Daniel Watkins (@chefdanielwatkins) who has over 215k followers simply by posting regular engaging content. Proving yet again, content is king.

The Staff Canteen InstagramAs our followers have grown on the channel, part of our quest to drive fresh content for our daily audience was offering our Instagram account to the chefs we feature so they could photo blog direct to our audience, featuring a day in their life through images posted from their restaurant hotel or operation. This worked both ways in offering our ever growing audience fresh new content, plus it benefited many of the chefs and restaurants with fewer followers to help them tap into our audience base and grow their follow mass.

We’ve seen Instagram takeovers from the great and good including Sticky Walnut, Phil Howard, Sosharu, the Fat Duck, Le Gavroche and many more, congratulations to our editor Cara, a great idea, I was wrong, no one has abused it as I expected they would!

What do you need to do to get started on Instagram? Here are our ten top tips:

1. Create an account, simple really that one right? Make sure it is set to public so everyone can see your content and it allows you to add business details plus a simple contact button.

2. Add an Avatar, it will show as circle so make sure your company logo looks good

3. Fill in your details add your web address and contact details

4. Think about what you want to post, make the images look good it's your brand after all. Don’t just stick to images, our followers get very excited about video clips especially those showcasing cooking techniques.

5. Engage follow and like

6. Don't Sell, people are not there to buy they are they to engage, ask yourself, do I want to be sold to?

7. Let people know you're there

8. Give it time

9. Trial hashtags see what works

10. Ask you audience what they think of your posts to drive comments

If you have an event that you think will benefit our audience and want to take advantage of The Staff Canteen Instagram
 account, you'll need to contact Jen (jen@thestaffcanteen.com or 01202 612328) who can talk you through how this works and the cost of reaching our audience and growing your own followers.

Don’t just take our word for it, read what Norwegian Seafood had to say when they took over the account recently.

“Working with Staff Canteen on an Insta-Takeover was greatly successful for the Norwegian Seafood Council. Having such shareable content on this occasion related to Japanese sushi, it was wonderful to see so many chefs and industry members instantly engaging with our posts and this certainly increased this visibility of our campaign, not to mention recruiting more followers to our social accounts. We will definitely be looking to take over again in the near future!”

Jocelyn Barker, UK Senior PR Manager, Norwegian Seafood Council

See you on Instagram soon!

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 23rd November 2016

Why you should be on Instagram by Mark Morris