Instagram is one of the most widely used social media platforms on the internet today, with roughly one billion active users. 

That coupled with the fact, users are more likely to check out a restaurant’s social media profile before ordering makes it extremely important for restaurants to have an active presence on the platform.

But the problem that many restaurants face today is the low engagement rate on the platform. On an average restaurants see an engagement rate below 10 percent on the platform. 

While having a presence on Instagram is table stakes, restaurants need to be constantly thinking about their digital content strategy to get higher engagement rates, and attract more customers. In this post, we will go over 4 tips which restaurants can leverage to improve their engagement rates on Instagram.

Tips to Improve Engagement Rates on Instagram for Restaurants:

1. Optimizing your Instagram Profile:

Optimizing your Instagram profile is the first step restaurants should take in order to get their Instagram engagement and marketing in order. 

Surprisingly, a majority of restaurants fail to properly optimize their Instagram profile. 

The purpose of an Instagram profile is to ensure that your customers are able to extract the information they need out of your profile. This provides your users with good user experience, and gives Instagram the signals to promote your profile organically to similar users, improving your engagement rates. 

Since different users visit your restaurant’s Instagram profile for different reasons, you need to be leveraging all the tools available to you, to make it worth their while. Below are a few things to consider:

Instagram Profile Bio: 

Your Instagram profile bio is the first thing users see when they land on your profile. Ensuring that you are using that screen real estate to communicate effectively, what your restaurant offers is essential. Now keep in mind, not all users landing on your profile will be returning users, so crafting a message that appeals to new and returning users is beneficial. 

Call to Action CTA Buttons: 

Call to Action buttons are another important feature that many restaurants do not utilize on Instagram. 

Restaurants can leverage buttons like Order Food, and Contact to allow users to  easily order food through their online ordering platform, or contact you to know more about the restaurant. 


The highlights section where restaurants can showcase their previous stories and batch them using a cover and a name. 

An effective use of this would be to have a highlight for your menu, venue, and another for any new announcements you may have. 

Properly categorizing everything will allow users to easily find the information they’re looking for, and hence improving their user experience.

2. Properly Using Geo-Location and Hashtags:

While this may not be new to you, geolocations and hashtags play a very important role in allowing new users to find you. 

What does that mean? More Engagement.

A carefully curated hashtag strategy allows new users in your area to find you in their explore tab. 

For instance, a Neapolitan pizza place would want to focus on hashtags like #neapolitanpizza instead of #pizza. This allows for users interested in Neapolitan pizza to find you through their explore section.

Similarly, if you offer food delivery are based in Chicago, using hashtags like #foooddeliverychicago which can help you get in front of users interested in food delivery in Chicago.

Using relevant hashtags and geo-tagging will ensure you are leveraging local marketing and allow customers to find you. This can not only boost your engagement rates on Instagram, but also bring in more people through your front door. 

3. Leveraging UGC Content:

We’ve talked about the importance of User-Generated Content (UGC) for Restaurants and how it can help form relationships with your customers online. 

Customers on average find UGC to be 2.4X more authentic than regular content. Hence, UGC not only gets more engagement, but helps you build social trust and really build a relationship with your customers. 

Putting out UGC in the form of Reels and Stories is a great way to leverage UGC, and also allows you to leverage the extra boost Instagram provides for promoting video content on the platform. 

4. Promoting your Instagram Profile Offline:

While all the tips we’ve talked about on improving Instagram engagement revolve around best practices on the platform, promoting your Instagram offline is just as important. 

Encouraging your customers to follow you on Instagram, and offering them a discount or value-added offer goes a long way. 

While this strategy may take months to bear fruit, once you have a regular stream of organic followers, Instagram will start to see your account as a local authority in the space, hence pushing your content more to people with similar interests. 

Running a weekly giveaway campaign, and special offers are some of the ways to reward your customers for providing you with some organic love. This helps to boost your engagement with new users, while at the same time foster loyalty with your current customers.

About Smooth Commerce

Smooth Commerce is a digital ordering, customer marketing and loyalty platform for restaurants. We take ordering to the next level with personalized customer engagement, making your digital storefront the cornerstone of your brand. By solving more restaurant pain points in one digital platform than anyone else, we put you back in control of the customer’s experience with your brand to promote profitable sales growth.

If you would like to learn more or talk to a representative from Smooth Commerce about how our platform can help you meet your loyalty goals, contact us at