Is your Cafe Instagrammable?
Updated: Mar 23, 2022
Way before Instagram and Facebook were legends, there were only 3 ways of knowing great cafes in your area and beyond.
Word of mouth
Driving or walking past
Print or media
I remember opening my first cafe back in the early 90's. Back then, we had print, being newspapers or magazines and word of mouth. Foot traffic was important, as it is today.
To tell you the truth, I didn't know what I was doing, I had service experience and little knowledge of coffee. My love for coffee had started when I was 7 years old and my father had a pizzeria in Sydney.
We had a small one group coffee machine, and I remember I would give up playing soccer with my friends after school, just so I could go and play with this coffee machine.
It really didn't matter who made coffee in those days, because pretty much, all coffee tasted the same and most of us were putting in lots of sugar.
Working in different places while I was growing up, I thought that the process of making coffee was the same in most of the places I worked at.
So when I opened my cafe, It wasn't a big concern to learn more about it.
My focus was, of course, letting people in the area know about my cafe.
To get word of mouth, you would have to get your friends to pass on the word or customers coming through your door (foot traffic), wowing them so that they would go and tell their friends.
Letterbox drops were also a convenient way of letting people know you were open. On these flyers, leaflets or brochures, you would have some company work their magic by providing a menu, coffee list, some special and pricing.
It would take most of my evenings to walk around the area and drop these leaflets/brochures into mailboxes, hoping that people would read them and come and visit.
It would take more than 500 of these leaflets/brochures at times to get some response.
If I was lucky, I would get 10 - 15 people coming in from the 500.
Newspaper advertising was probably broader, but you wouldn't know how many people actually read the advertisement.
Social Media changed the game.
When Facebook started in 2004 it virtually presented us with a platform to announce ourselves to our friends and to potentially the world.
We were able to add pictures of ourselves, family, vacations, favourite hangouts to boast to others what they were missing out on.
Facebook provided us with a way of advertising our business. Back then it was free, you would just add pictures to your page.
By the end of 2004, Facebook had over 1 million people using the site.
By the end of 2010, there were more than 6 million people.
Today, there are more than 2.8 Billion people using Facebook. Advertising your business today comes with major work and financial outlay. But we'll get back to that later.
Then in 2010, Instagram, like Facebook, came along and changed the way we viewed the world.
We were now able to share our latest pics and videos to a broader more open market. It allowed us to see the world according to everyone who would allow us to.
I remember seeing a post of a cafe around my area. Knowing of this cafe, I never really thought of trying the coffee or the food as the cafe seemed unfriendly.
However, the picture that was posted of this cafe, made me curious.
Their posts were of their food and coffee. The pics were bright and inviting.
Every time I would see their posts, It made me want to go and try it out. They eventually got my attention.
Instagram had changed it all for me.
Leaflets /brochures only captured that one of two photos that had to hit the mark or you wouldn't get customers in. You couldn't change them of course.
Back then you had a platform, whereby if one picture didn't hit the mark, you had the chance of uploading as many as you desired to make sure that you got everyone's attention.
Today, we are in a social media world that has no boundaries.
We see pics from local cafes to a new cafe opening in Hong Kong. We're able to see latte art champions uploading their daily pours and have tons and tons of food pics that leave your mouth watering.
We are able to take a look inside the cafe world of, cakes and pastries, birthday parties, weddings, catch-ups, kids trying their first babycino, what keep cup is cool, or what our favourite barista or staff is up to, all in one of many pics or videos.
We're able to like or leave comments, ask questions, get lots of information and follow or unfollow.
It's cliche to say, but "the sky's the limit"
To not be on a social media platform today, is like having no wheels on your car. You can't go very far without them.
It's important to blend your business with social media, for it will help you grow your business. Once you have those extra followers, then you have the extra word of mouth.
You will be able to let your followers know about your latest special on offer or that great birthday party that you catered for.
As I said before, you can advertise your business on these platforms.
crazyegg.com has a great blog on advertising on these platforms. Alternatively, Facebook and Instagram have step by step on how to advertise. But do your research and find the right budget for yourself.
There are many platforms to choose from today and no doubt more to come.
MUO makeuseof.com recently blogged, "5 Social Media Platforms to Check Out in 2021" good insight into the new players out there, like Clubhouse and more.
Of course, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Youtube, still remain the most popular choice.
Ask your friends what they use and start with that as it will get them involved with your posts and so on. The more traffic you get to your page, the more traffic you get to your cafe.
Remember that a picture tells a thousand words, but today a picture fills a thousand mobiles, and with that, they will come to see what all the fuss is about.
Goodluck and all the best!