Let’s face it, we all check a restaurant’s Instagram before we go there. And we’ve all had a cheeky look at Ella Woodward’s page after buying her Protein Balls because it’s just become second nature to refer to someone or somethings Instagram out of pure and utter curiosity. This is why having an up-to-date and attractive page has become an important part of running a business. It can be daunting and seem like a lot of work, but with this list of 20 must-do’s, it’ll be a breeze and you can always call on the expert services of us beans (#shamelessplug #sorrynotsorry).

  1. The first step towards having a successful Instagram page for your food brand or restaurant is acceptance. You must accept the importance of social media and start working with it!
  2. Put effort into your content. Lighting, composition and camera quality are all key factors in producing engaging content. It can seem absolutely impossible to get that ‘perfect Instagram flat lay’ but all it takes is patience. Start with natural lighting and a neutral background. Play around with it and don’t forget, you can adjust the contrast and highlights later if you need to fix the lighting.
  1. Don’t think of your page as a business page (even though it is), think of it as building a community. It goes without saying that you should always respond to comments and DM’s but you should also comment and like posts yourself. You should also follow relevant people. This will help establish your presence and show people that you’re not just here to post and leave. Remember social media is called ‘social’ for a reason.
  1. It’s 2020. Consumers expect businesses and brands to act and behave sustainably, from packaging and sourcing through to waste management and energy efficiency, show and talk up everything you are doing to be more sustainable and environmentally friendly. Yes, there will probably still be areas that you are working on and refining, so always think carefully about what you post and say whilst improvements are being made. You will get there, and your loyal customers will support you on the journey.
  1. Convert your account to a business account. This feature was introduced in 2016, and it should be used. It unlocks many benefits, such as the possibility to run ads, add contact buttons to your bio and insights and analytics…
  1. Make sure your bio is optimized. Always include a branded hashtag and make sure there are contact options, such as an email or a phone number. Having something catchy which describes your brand in there is always a plus.
  1. Post at strategic times. Once your business account has 100 + followers, you’ll have access to insights on your followers’ most active days and times. You should refer to this when posting and scheduling content to achieve maximum reach!
  1. Don’t miss out on the power of hashtags. Use them. Research them. Worship them. (Maybe a bit too far… but they are important). Every social media strategy should come armed with at least 30 relevant and researched hashtags. You should always find out how many people use each hashtag e.g. #FoodPorn has been used in 215 million posts. Top tip – to avoid sounding cringey when using hashtags and making your captions look messy, try posting your hashtags in your comments. You reap the benefits minus the messy look.
  1. Run giveaways and competitions regularly and reward your loyal customers and followers when you can. Running giveaways is a super effective way of growing your followers fast and steadily. It also gives you a good reputation as being a generous food brand or restaurant! And on top of that, you’re highly likely to get some lovely UGC (User Generated Content) out of it. Don’t forget to set out some rules in the T&C’s.
  1. Use paid promotion/ads. But wisely. As important as it is to have a paid media budget, don’t assume that putting £1,000 behind a post for a day is going to get you to 10k followers. It won’t. Use it strategically and target a relevant audience. Although Instagram does a good job at doing this for you, it’s worth having a go at using Facebook Ads as Facebook Ads will allow you to have more control over your budget and be more specific with your targeting.
  1. Try to stand out and differentiate yourself from the masses of food brand pages out there. We know it’s your business page, but try not to make it too business-y. Don’t be afraid to make jokes and use puns and colloquial (ish) language (if your brand personality aligns to this). A page which uses friendly language is much more likely to grab the attention of IGers. Establishing a tone of voice which is locked into your social media play book is essential.
  1. Use national foodie holidays on your social media calendar. The good ol’ National Croissant Day (which is soon btw), Chocolate Cake Day etc. Posting relevant content on these days will help you show people you’re putting effort and planning into your content.
  1. Be personal. If the nature of your business allows you to, show some BTS’s (Behind The Scenes) then do! Introduce the staff and upcoming projects etc. This will make your followers (and your staff) feel special.
  1. Encourage your followers to share their experience. If you’re a restaurant then having an area dedicated to your customers taking selfies is a good idea. All you need is a nice (subtly branded) background and a ring light. For food brands, try including your social media handles on your packaging with a message encouraging people to interact with you.
  1. If you’re a restaurant, make your restaurant a location! There is nothing worse (for a millennial, at least) than going somewhere for food, getting a super cute pic and then not being able to post your location because it doesn’t exist. You can make your business a location easily using Facebook for Business.
  1. Be grateful for and make the most of UGC. Reply, repost and reuse. Regularly check your hashtag or location to see what’s being posted. If you feel the content doesn’t fit with your grid then just repost on your story or leave a comment! Never ignore!
  1. Use a scheduling tool. Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Sked Social… the list goes on and on. A scheduling tool will allow you to post regularly and at the right time without having to pick up your phone and do it manually! Consistency is key and taking a week long break in posting because it’s the holidays is not okay. So, schedule that content!
  1. Make use of your story highlights. People often refer to these to gather a feel or more information from an account. Make your highlights look cohesive and neat. You can easily create a highlight graphic using a 1080×1920 template on Canva. Try having a highlight dedicated to reposting UGC!
  1. Don’t. Forget. Stories. Posting on stories is super important and should not be forgotten. If you’re not always around or if there’s not always something exciting going on then gather content in advance and post it when you feel is most relevant!


This last one relates to the first one… take a deep breath because you may not entirely like what we have to say…


  1. Work with influencers. Invite them along or send them some stuff for free, or offer them a discount in exchange for them posting about your brand or restaurant. You should choose your influencers wisely. Don’t always go for the largest following, focus on someone who fits your brand. Make sure you agree terms and conditions with each other beforehand to avoid any misunderstanding. If you plan on reposting their content, make sure you have permission.

So, there it is, our top 20 tips for a successful food brand or restaurant Instagram page in 2020. Luckily for us, food is one of the most posted things on the Gram. This can work to our advantage in some ways, but it also means we all have to work harder to stand out from the crowd. Most importantly, be yourself and be true to your brand! #Winning

To discuss any of the topics and tips raised in this blog post or to hear how Jellybean can help support you with elevating your social media presence in 2020 and beyond then get in touch. Don’t forget to follow us on socials @JellyBeanAgency too!