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Advertising QSRs in 2019: Change the Social Channel

What social media channels are you using to promote your QSR chain? When it comes to QSRs and social marketing, it might be time for you to change the channel.

Owned social: When your social marketing is restricted to your “owned” social channels, the odds are you won’t win new customers. Why not? The content on your channels will only be seen by people who follow your channel. And if they follow your channel, it’s because they already know and like what you do. You’re preaching to the converted.

Paid social: If you want to reach beyond your current followers, you could invest in a “paid social” campaign – either by “boosting” your post or creating a stand-alone paid ad on Facebook and/or Instagram. Stand-alone ads give you more targeting tools than boosted posts: detailed demographic, geotargeting and filtering by interests. Paid social is certainly a more effective means of reaching new potential customers. However, there are inherent drawbacks for businesses like QSRs. Facebook and Instagram ads are most effective when you can establish focused target audiences whose interests directly align with your offering. But there is no “typical” QSR customer demographic: they range from pre-teens to seniors. And while Facebook interest keywords are fairly detailed (e.g. “fried chicken”, “fast food, “fast casual restaurant”) it simply means that people have “expressed an interest in” the keyword. Facebook tracks both the pages that users follow and the content of their posts and comments, and uses that data to target users with related advertising. In fact, their “interest” may actually be negative: “I would never eat fast food fried chicken!” Still, paid social is inexpensive and can be effective with the right targeting, a motivating offer and a measurable goal. A recent Facebook campaign by Church’s Chicken resulted in an 8X return on ad spend. The geotargeted campaign tracked store visits and spend per person.

Influencers: Many brands focus their social dollars on an influencer strategy: paying high profile social media users to promote their products. By 2020, it’s estimated that $8 billion will be spent on Instagram influencer marketing alone. It makes sense: people trust recommendations from real people more than they trust advertising and promotions from brands. But as more and more social media users jump into the pool and label themselves as “influencers”, their impact becomes more and more diluted. There’s a glut of influencer content. As a brand, you’re paying for access to their followers and the “influence” they have over their followers. Keep in mind, however, that many social users follow influencers not because they blindly adhere to the influencer’s recommendations, but because they want free stuff. The keys to influencer marketing are to find influencers who have strong, trusted reputations in the restaurant or food fields, and to implement systems to measure the outcome.

Local media channels: Another viable option on social media is to promote your restaurant via restaurant review websites and blogs. They are trusted sources for information and reviews of restaurants and fast-casual chains. For example, Toronto’s blogTO has over 500,000 followers on Instagram who look to their content for recommendations on events, activities and the latest and best dining options. But as with any social campaign, make sure you develop a program with trackable ROI: a discount that can only be redeemed via an app, or a new menu offering that is only promoted via the media partner.

There are multiple opportunities to promote your QSR via social media. A successful campaign could incorporate all of them. But no matter which channels you choose, the key is to execute a campaign that’s trackable and measurable. Likes, comments and shares aren’t enough; you need to drive and measure the impact on in-store sales.

How Instagram checkout works

Instagram has changed the way we consume fashion, food, and even entertainment. Most importantly, it has become a powerful window display for a new generation of brands and shoppers. It was inevitable for Instagram to get into mobile commerce. Late in March 2019, Instagram introduced the checkout feature, which allows consumers to purchase products without leaving the app. This new initiative is in closed beta for businesses, and currently available to the US market only.

How it works for the consumer

Checkout tags will show up on brands’ stories and feed. Instagram did not specify whether the tag could appear through influencer’s posts. When users tap the post to reveal the product tag, they will see a checkout option that replaces the current “view on website”. On their first purchase only, they will enter their payment information, which will be saved for future purchases. After their order, users will be able to track the package with a new “Orders” section on their profile with options to return, contact the merchant, or cancel the order.

How it works for the seller

In addition to having a more appealing ad platform, Instagram will generate revenue by charging the seller a nominal fee per transaction. While the selling fee hasn’t been revealed, Instagram did communicate that prices will not change for consumers. This means that sellers will have to cut their margin instead.
Instagram is accelerating mobile commerce. Will you be ahead of your competitors and conquer the “Social shopping” market?

The beauty of instagram goes beyond the visual

They swipe up and down, they hold-on, they click, they like, they repost. And they’re doing it at home, at work, in the park, on public transportation, and in every social setting.

Instagram has captured the imaginations of millions of users. And while it’s extremely popular with the younger demographics between the ages of 18 and 34, it’s also exploding in popularity with older generations.

The key to Instagram’s success: its simplicity. It does one thing, and one thing only, really well: sharing visuals of your experiences. It’s fast, easy and immediate. “Look where I am right now! Isn’t It beautiful and cool?” Ego gratification and envy play a big part in our addiction to Instagram.

Instagram is the perfect social media channel for destinations and events to increase desire and yes, envy!

According to Field Day’s 2018 Entertainment Survey, Instagram is the second most popular social media channel to learn about events and destinations, and it’s gaining in popularity daily. How can you leverage it to reach new customers, build desire, and drive attendance?

Stories and LIVE feature:

If “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”, then Snapchat should be flattered that Instagram copied their “story” and live feed technology. These features allow users to be the storyteller of their own life, creating ongoing real-time diaries of their activities.

For event and destination marketing, Insta’s LIVE and Story can be used to extend the event experience. Brands can use these features to show followers aspects of the event that they otherwise wouldn’t have access to: they can go backstage during a concert, drop in on rehearsals, watch the “real-time” installation of a new exhibit at a gallery, visit with the cast of a play during intermission… all from your sofa at home. When used effectively, you immerse your followers in your experience before they even attend. The end response: “So cool! Next time I’ll definitely book a ticket and I’ll be there”.

An array of ad options – Paid, Sponsored, Targeted:

As an advertising medium, Instagram began as the little brother of Facebook, but brands are discovering the effectiveness of using IG’s features to reach new audiences. The key is to understand how users interact with Instagram. Whether it’s video, image carousels, or retargeted static images, make sure your advertising content is simple, bold and visually compelling so that it stops users from scrolling past it.

Platforms like Instagram are always adding new features (like e-commerce) and it’s crucial for brands to stay current on the features of any platform and look for creative ways to leverage their potential to reach new audiences.

For more information, contact Andrew Arntfield, President at Field Day Inc. at 416.408.4446 Ext: 226

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