Chelsea Allenby

Chelsea Allenby is a Digital Marketer of 9 years and Managing Director of Allenby Digital Ltd, an online marketing agency she set-up in 2015, specialising in social media and content marketing.

We know what you’re thinking. It’s not that simple to become ‘Insta-Famous’ and gain thousands of followers who are hanging on your every word and excited to check out every single thing you post. The truth is, it’s far easier for an individual to become ‘Insta-Famous’ than it is for a restaurant business. If we can understand the real reasons why this is, we can begin to piece together four stand-out rules that can be applied to Instagram marketing. We can’t promise you Instagram fame, but we can say they will super-charge the way your account grows.


It’s rare to find a hugely popular account on Instagram that isn’t fuelled by activity elsewhere as well. Someone with 250k followers might actually have a popular YouTube channel, which is the real driving force behind their Instagram fanbase. Typically, your above-average Instagrammer has a presence on several other platforms and harnesses a cross-promotion technique. What can we learn from this? The takeaway lesson is to drive people to your Instagram account from other sources as well as within the app itself. In the case of a restaurant, you should use your offline promotions (in and around the diners) to encourage Instagram interaction. Start a fun hashtag, run a photo tag competition, or tell customers to follow you for exclusive Instagram discounts.

If you do have a promotional video or audio clip either published on YouTube, TV or radio, use a final message to plug your Instagram handle.

Regular Posting

For real fame, you need consistent regular content, posted at least on a daily basis. This isn’t always possible from a brand point of view. You might not have that much content or that much to talk about, so it’s better to choose quality content over quantity. However, those with real fame do post much more than those without, and every single post is a thought-out hit. So what they have is quality + quantity.

The reason this is easier for individuals, is because most of them share personal things about their lives. When fans are invested in a person (or brand) they become interested in the wider things associated with that person/business. This is why a seemingly unpurposeful post about what someone had for breakfast, can actually be immensely popular. It’s not always the obvious content that wins, so use this rule to drive your own success. Could you share more ‘behind-the-scenes’ content, or give the Instagram spotlight to a different team member each week?

Themed Visuals

This rule is true for the majority of high-performing accounts. Most of them follow a ‘visual theme’ where all their images are uniform in their aesthetic, design or colour. For brands, a visual theme should fit with your branding colours and style, or the types of food you serve. A unique visual theme will keep your account memorable and any content from that account should be instantly recognisable as yours. (At least to the real fans!)

Here are two really good examples from restaurant. The colour pallette across photos are similar and the photographic style is the same throughout. These accounts are very visually appealing and therefore more likely to garner follows and likes.

Instagram shots from @bobbobricard & @tatturestaurant


Play to Your Strengths

There’s usually a reason Instagram famous people are famous. They almost always have a talent or passion. As a restaurant, your immediate talent might be food and service, but can you go beyond this? Is there something unique about the way you prepare certain food? Is there something different or exciting about your team members and the way they present themselves, and deliver service. Does your restaurant support something bigger?

To make a start, list your 3 main strengths that don’t include just ‘food and service’. Then next to each strength, see how you could showcase this through photos or videos. This should give you a focus for future content.

The Sky Garden plays to their strengths on Instagram, using the amazing view,location and decor to their photographic advantage.

Instagram shot @sg_skygarden



Whatever you do, don’t be tempted to buy followers or engagement. This type of spam is bad for two reasons. Firstly, it puts your account at risk of closure. Instagram has a very serious policy on spam-related accounts and everything you’ve worked on could be gone instantly and permanently. Secondly, falsely inflated followers and engagements do absolutely nothing for your business. They are not real, so what value could they have? It’s usually very clear to other Instagram users when an account has used these techniques. It’s a common misconception that having a few thousand fake followers will kick-start a plethora of real fans.