1. Sign Up for a Business Account
Business accounts allow owners to include a phone number, an email address, a website and a physical address, ensuring followers can contact and locate the bakery. A business account also provides access to Instagram Insights, which lets owners see metrics like impressions (the total number of times a post was seen) and reach (the number of unique users who saw a post) to help bakeries measure the success of their posting strategies, says Sara Lancaster, founder and creative director at food marketing firm The Condiment Marketing Co.
2. Make Mouths Water
Every successful food-related Instagram account has one thing in common, according to Lancaster: “Beautiful, mouth-watering food photos.” Bakeries don’t have to work with a professional food photographer to create great images, says Rachel Crampsey, owner and head baker at Montclair Bread Company in Montclair, New Jersey. “Make sure there is enough light, try to eliminate shadows and make sure it is in focus,” she says. “Instagram gets instant results. If there’s a picture of a donut special, it will sell out within the hour. I have to alert the team so they’re prepared for customers.”
3. Use Hashtags
Good pictures are crucial, but they’re useless if people don’t see them. Hashtags work as a search tool. Think about what customers would search for and test. Crampsey also recommends checking which hashtags are used by Instagram accounts of bakeries or restaurants that have a lot of followers. “Research shows that three hashtags [per post] garners the most engagement,” Lancaster says. “You should have one branded hashtag, one location hashtag and one descriptive hashtag to cover your bases.”
4. Post Regularly
How much a bakery posts can matter just as much as what it posts, according to Crampsey. “I try not to post more than once a day, but I try to make sure I do post at least once a day,” she says. “It’s about consistency. I try not to be noisy.” Trial and error is the best approach to pinpointing an ideal posting frequency. “Test posting at different times of day [and] days of the week to see what will get you the most engagement,” Lancaster says. At the bare minimum, post once a week, she advises.
5. Talk Back
Instagram is a two-way street. “Reply to every mention, like and re-gram, to further your reach. When a follower comments on an image, include his or her username in the reply to ensure the person sees the response. This is free marketing,” Lancaster says. She adds, rather than ignore or delete negative comments, see if you can engage. Transparency can be as important as rave reviews. “Keep it short and upbeat.” If a customer asks a question or needs information that requires a long explanation, encourage the person to call or email the bakery.