Social media trends are always evolving, and with ever-shifting algorithms, getting your content seen and keeping customers engaged can feel like a never-ending battle. Short-form videos are able to capture new and loyal followers’ attention, increase engagement, and boost sales.

The fastest-growing feature worldwide is the Instagram reel: a 15-second video that's fun yet to the point. According to research, reels receive twice as much engagement as compared to other posts. Consider these tips to help grow engagement, expand your customer base, and stand out from the competition — all with very little effort and money on your part.

Understanding the Algorithm

Though we may never fully crack the algorithm's secrets, knowing its basics can help your videos convert better. The algorithm is designed to show users the best content for them. It considers the user's interests and location but also looks at the reel's content and popularity.

The more people "like," comment, and share your video, the more the algorithm will promote it. Consider who you're trying to reach. What would this ideal viewer want to see? Brainstorm a mix of educational, fun, and creative videos you think your ideal customers would be interested in. Remember, keep it short, tell a story, and leave them wanting more.

Post Plan

Posting regularly and having well-rounded content are essential to your success. The best way to stay on track with variety and consistency is by using a social media calendar to map out your content. With a calendar, you can plug in your reel ideas and get a bigger picture of where there may be gaps in content. You can also mark important holidays, national food days, and milestones specific to your restaurant that can make for compelling video content.

Also, consider the most optimal posting times. Your social analytics will show when the most people are engaging with your account. In addition, think about when people are apt to scroll. While having coffee before work, during the commute, and before bed are prime times to grab attention. The global consensus is that Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday between 9 am and 1 pm translates to the most engagement, but keep in mind that if you post earlier, your reel has more time to gain traction.

Cue the Music

One of the biggest ways to create the biggest reach is to use trending audio. To easily find clips that are popular, search trending audio on Instagram. Also, look to other accounts in your industry to see if there is audio specifically trending in your niche. Music can set your desired tone for your reel and will increase engagement.

Show it Off

Gone are the days of seeing long-term social success with a photo here or there, a funny caption, or even a regular carousel of photos. Consumers want more. They want to see how you make that unique cocktail, what your chefs are cooking up behind the scenes, if your work culture is fun and if your employees are happy. Reels can help capture all this to not only draw in potential customers but tell your authentic story, as well. Snag video of a work party, or bartenders whipping up a new special, or your chef plating a beautiful new dish.

Partner Up

Collaborate with social media influencers, bloggers, and fellow chefs to create even more original content and boost numbers. Have a foodie influencer come in and take a video of all your latest cocktails, or your newly decked-out patio space, and have them encourage others to check it out. Or share customers’ video content of your business on your feed to show your appreciation and increase customer loyalty. It’s fun for the customer and costs you nothing.

Hashtag It

Hashtags are still one of the best ways to get your video in front of the masses. Choose hashtags relevant to your specific reel and niche but remember to change up your hashtags often to reach a different audience. Instagram allows 30 hashtags per post, however, try to keep it as close to what you’re showcasing as possible.

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