Is your venue Instagrammable?

A few months ago, with the support of my pocket rocket marketing/social media guru Carolyn, I got my act together to find a platform to share my thoughts on the hospitality industry. This included a lot of social media. Like a lot.

Since then on top of my “normal job”, I no longer scroll Facebook for leisure or take photos of my food for fun. Having previously been a consumer of social media networks, it’s been an interesting journey switching hats to a producer of content. And consistency is key. My drive home at night is filled with article ideas, follower to following rates, and how I can get people to return to my blog.

I am now conscious of content, especially the professionalism of the photo. The number of followers or “likes” I gain I do not associate with my success as a business person. However, my social media profile does form part of the business world and should be a consideration for all.

One thing that I have noticed is that on Instagram, food photos get more likes than photos with people. Great snaps of places or nights out gain more traction if it includes food (unless you’re a barely clothed 20-year-old). Not something that I would have believed but my experience has proven that it seems to be the case! Many companies are posting food photos to gain exposure for their businesses even if their business is only slightly related to food. Go figure!

This led me to keep a closer eye on photos of food being posted. You may occasionally see me in a restaurant standing on a chair, leaning left to get the best light or even possibly spending precious minutes watching my warm food go cold whilst I prepare for the perfect shot.

A strong social media presence is critical for a venue to have. When I’m choosing a venue to dine at, often it will come from screenshots on my phone of people’s meals via Instagram. The more appetizing the meal looks, the faster I visit. And if the lighting is right and my food looks good, it might go on my socials, where my friends and followers see it and then dine there… Oh would you look at that, we are creating a movement.

Imagine my surprise when I recently read an article on how there has been a shift in the fit-out requirements of venues due to once again - the social media phenomenon. The Clean Treats Factory in Sydney designed their cafe space to be black and white, purely so it suits people's Instagram pages. They have white tables with bright lights, so everybody can get really beautiful clear pictures. They also built in a selfie mirror, which “is one of the best things as you get to have a laugh and it creates some beautiful moments” Charlie de Hass. How smart is that!

Everything from the lighting, decor and even the plates and cutlery are now put through a different thought process - that is, how will these seemingly little pieces of the puzzle translate into social media photos or a greater following because after all, it is now one of the biggest marketing tools available.

It is another example of how the millennials have driven the social media phenomenon which is changing the way the world works and it is growing traction every day. The debate on whether Facebook is dying or Snapchat is growing is in sequential given the point is around having a strong online presence. Each and every business needs to not only seriously consider the impact of such a phenomenon but also execute a strategy to stay ahead of the game. Maybe we need to think twice before we bulk order the wrong colour napkins! The horror of them contributing to a bad Insta photo!