Since we came out and suggested food truck owners should adopt Instagram usage in today’s feature article, here are some tips to help you get the most out of Instagram.
- Use images to tell a story, not blast your branding. Since food trucks sell products off your menu, make sure the images you use are about the experience of visiting and eating from your truck, and not a product placement ad. There’s not a lot of tolerance for marketing that’s obviously marketing. Keep it subtle and keep the focus on your customers.
- Most photos fall into two categories: beautiful imagery or humor. Make sure your Instagram photos fall into one of these categories. Most users aren’t posting all their random party pics to their Instagram stream and you should exercise similar constraint. Photo albums in that vein are for Facebook. Think of your Instagram photos as high value/low volume.
- Don’t post too often. A general rule, don’t post more than three photos in a row or one every three hours. Also, unlike Facebook, the commitment level to an account is low—”unfollows” can happen frequently. Don’t automatically share your Instagram photos—editorially select and customize each one for the appropriate platform.
- Choose an account name that’s the same as your Twitter handle. Having the same Instagram account name and Twitter handle serves two purposes. One—your profile will be easily recognizable and easy to find. And two—if you are tagged by another user in a caption and that photo is shared on Twitter, that tag will link to your Twitter profile. It ensures that tagging makes sense when an Instagram photo is shared on other networks.
- Use hashtags. Like on Twitter, hashtagging photos enables discovery of your profile by users outside of your primary connections. You can use the search functionality on the app to find out which hashtags are often used. Like on Twitter, hashtagging Instagram photos by event, geolocation, or subject matter is a good idea.
- Set up an account on a web-based viewer. Instagram’s focus continues to be all about the mobile experience, but the app recently added the ability to view individual photos on the web through a shareable link. This feature allows your food truck’s Instagram stream to not only be seen by those not using the app, but allows those who do have an account to like and comment on a shared photo right from the web. However, using a separate web-based viewer can help you manage your presence and track your progress.