How To Go Viral On Instagram With Your Foodie Fans

  • 6 Minutes
Cronut's, freak-shakes and 10-pattie burgers. What is it that makes food go #viral on Instagram? We explore a 5-step process to help you create products to gain traction online, leading to lines out the door!

This post was originally published on November 20th 2017, and was last updated on December 15th 2017.

How to Go Viral on Instagram

It seems as though each day a new viral video of a 10-pattie burger, freak-shake, or croissant/doughnut hybrid, makes its way onto our Facebook and Instagram news feed.

With a large number of cafes in Melbourne, venues that want to generate some buzz and stand out from the competition have to be willing to change up their offerings and do something a bit out of the ordinary.

Here are 5 ways to make your venue generate some buzz online, leading to people lining up out the door.

Editor’s Note: Whilst we’re using a food business as an example, the elements required for going viral on Instagram can be applied to any industry on any social media platform.

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Do your research

Before you can jump in the kitchen, throw on apron your apron and start taking a whole bunch of ingredients out, grab a pen and paper, sit down and have a think.

I know it’s all exciting, you want to start experimenting like a mad scientist.

But the first thing you have to ask yourself is; why do people visit your cafe? What do your customers tell you that you’re best at and can’t find the same quality elsewhere?

This basic marketing research will give you insight on what is currently selling and popular.

Find out which products are top-sellers on your sales reports, ask for feedback from your customer and keep an eye out on what people are saying user-generated on Yelp and Zomato.

The hotcakes at The Kettle Black in South Melbourne is the perfect example of a venue that utilised key business information and leveraged it to create the same effect, elsewhere.

The owners of The Kettle Black had already created the hotcakes at another one of their venues, Top Paddock.

Almost every cafe has a pancake/french toast item on their menu, but how many had a pretty, singular hotcake decorated in edible flowers?


By using the success of their previous venue combined with The Kettle Black’s beautiful interiors and building design, this was the right fit for the brand.

They even went on to create a social media campaign called the ‘hotcake challenge’, to see which hotcake of their three venues would get the most engagement on Instagram. The winning hotcake would then become be added to all their three venues for the following three months.

So just remember – all this buzz and the social media campaign that followed started from a hotcake. Step one of learning how to go viral on Instagram is now complete!

Brainstorm some ideas

Start writing some crazy ideas down, what is something you would make if you had all the money and resources in the world? Write that down, because if there’s a will, there’s a way.

This is where it starts to get exciting.

Next, call in your team, chef’s, wait staff, baristas – everyone.

Ask them the same question, see what ideas start to pour out and flow. Avoid knocking back anyone’s idea.

Having your team involved in this process will help them figure out the functionality and capability of what you’re planning on implementing. Not only do they have experience in knowing what’s possible, but they’ll feel incredibly valued for involving them in this exciting process.

Think wow-factor and #FoodPorn

Have you ever eaten something or ordered a beverage and said; ‘I have to take a photo of that’. Think back to those moments, why did you say that? How did that experience make you feel? More often than not, as soon as people see their ordered item coming towards them they also have that wow-factor.

Matcha Mylkbar has some super-instagrammable smoothies and green burgers, Co-founder Sarah Holloway recently said about all the items she creates for her menu, “has to be photogenic if you want to encourage people to share their experiences and spread the word as quickly and widely as possible in a short amount of time”. She continues, “there’s a big ‘food share’ culture in Melbourne so you have to be able to capitalize on that.”

In early 2016, Holloway and her team jumped at the opportunity to expand on the brand, Matcha Maiden which creates fine green tea powder that boosts your energy, immunity and focus to open up a vegan cafe. Their brand is all about green, fresh food and well-being.

When launching their cafe, they created vegan eggs. Made from coconut, sweet potato and turmeric, the trademarked recipe has the same consistency and similar protein levels as a regular egg.


Why hadn’t someone thought of that sooner?

Document the process

The next step in learning how to go viral involves, you guessed it, teasing your followers.

Whether you have a big social media following or not, keeping your community involved is crucial. After all, they’re the ones who are most likely going to visit your venue.

Post on Instagram stories and use the polling feature to find out if they say for example; prefer new sweet or savoury dishes on the menu? More about Instagram’s polling feature here.

When launching anything new, it’s always great to post teasers and a sneak peek of what you’re working on.

Think of it the way a fashion brand would hint out a new range of clothing. First, they’d show the texture of the fabric, a color palette, the team working collaboratively to create it etc.

By showing snippets and hinting out ingredients, sounds and equipment involved you’ll get people curious, intrigued and ultimately hanging to try out your new item.

Take LOTS of drool-worthy photos

You’ve put all the hard work in, the last step in learning how to go viral on Instagram involves taking photos every time the item is ordered, being made and regramming photos to your Instagram account of people who have ordered it.

Not sure what to post on your brand’s Instagram feed? Here’s a 5-step guide on what to post.

This is your content, so leverage it, utilise it and promote it as much as you can!

How To Go Viral On Instagram: Final thoughts

Instagram has become one of the best platforms for brands in the hospitality industry to visually communicate and share their business offerings. If you haven’t mastered how to go viral on Instagram, or aren’t utilising the capabilities of Instagram and scheduling tools such as Sked Social (formerly Schedugram), you’re missing out!

Do you have an idea that you’re currently working on? Let us know in the comments,  I’d love to learn more about it.

Now that you know how to go viral on Instagram, why not start carving out hours in your social media workflow, sign up for Sked’s 7-day trial. Our all-in-one Instagram scheduler allows you to automatically post images, carousels, Stories, videos and more. Tag locations, users and products and manage all your hashtags in one place to save 5+ hours every week.

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