Best Instagram Practices for a French Restaurant in Central Florida

Chez Vincent Restaurant and Hannibal’s Bar & Lounge, are two restaurants adjacent to each other in Winter Park, Florida. They’re next door to each other because they’re owned by the same family and share a kitchen in the back! Although they’re two separate entities, their social media presence is combined into one. As small businesses that are family operated, the restaurants aim to be an establishment with great food and even greater company. The restaurants pride themselves on customer service, and want the same to be promoted through their social media efforts.

Currently, Chez Vincent & Hannibal’s have a social media presence on Instagram and Facebook. The posts are similar on both platforms but the businesses choose to post more frequently on Instagram than on Facebook. Because of this, the restaurants aim to gain a bigger following on Instagram.

Instagram is a photo and video sharing platform that helps people a brands create a visual story. The account, @cv_hannibals, currently has a following of 654 users and continues to gain more as more posts are published. Because the account includes two different restaurants, the content includes pictures of different food options, drinks, menus, and miscellaneous graphics in efforts to promote a holiday or event.

The ideal length for a caption for a post on Instagram is in between 138–150 characters, and the ideal number of hashtags to include in a caption is in between 5–10 hashtags. Chez Vincent & Hannibal’s captions fall between that character account and should continue to do so! The restaurants want to keep users and potential customers informed while trying to avoid overwhelming a post with too many words. Throughout most of the posts, the restaurants tag local “blogger” accounts in the hope that the bloggers will promote the restaurants on their own accounts. An additional effort to increase engagement and promotional efforts are through the previously mentioned use of hashtags. Hashtags are frequently used, but should be a priority for the account moving forward. Examples of hashtags that should be utilized for general posts are:

  • #WinterPark
  • #SmallBusiness
  • #FrenchCuisine
  • #OrlandoNightLife
  • #WinterParkLocal

However, when there is a special event or if the restaurants are promoting the Winter Park Farmers’ Market, specific hashtags should be used!

Consistency is key when it comes to Instagram. The restaurants should be posting as frequently as possible and should exude a sense of classiness and friendliness throughout the captions. Posting as frequently as possible shouldn’t just include pictures on the main feed; This also includes posting Instagram stories and highlighting specific posts and events. The Instagram stories are a great way to boost engagement and promote an upcoming event multiple times throughout a week. Stories help with highlighting content on the feed, and provide users with an opportunity to view past menus or meals that have been served.

A link to the restaurants website should be included in the bio, unless there is a local online competition where users can vote for their favorite establishments in the Winter Park/Orlando area (this happens more than you would think!). When there is a local online competition, the website should be replaced with the link to vote, and the promotional efforts for that competition should be posted more on Instagram stories than on the actual feed. Other Instagram stories efforts include posting seasonal menus, special meal offerings or drinks, and polls! Polls are a great way to gauge what the online audience wants to see or even try when they visit the restaurants.

The restaurants have a long way to go when it comes to social media. The branding, graphics, and overall aesthetic should be prioritized as the account continues to post. The restaurants are a classy establishment with some of the best food in the area, and that should be reflected throughout their online presence! This can be achieved by using all of the features that Instagram has to offer while also using high quality pictures and videos for more visually appealing look. Building on what the restaurants currently do will help them gain more followers, and potentially more customers.

Graduate student at the University of Florida