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How to Promote Your Food Business on Instagram [Free eBook]

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Did you know that Instagram is the world’s second-favorite social media platform? It’s true—people across the globe love Instagram for its visual-first content.

With that kind of fan base, it’s no surprise that Instagram is one of the most effective ways to market your food business. Of course, promoting your business on Instagram isn’t as simple as just making an account. There are a few things you should know before you dive in.

That’s why we’ve compiled a list of our top tips for marketing your food business on Instagram to help set you up for success! Download our exclusive free eBook for advanced suggestions on how to level up your Instagram game this year.

While the eBook goes in-depth, if you’re looking for a quick “recipe” for Instagram marketing success, check out the five ideas below.

5 Instagram Marketing Ideas for Food Businesses

1. Identify What makes Your Business Unique

With the number of Instagram users expected to hit 1.4 billion across the world in 2024, it’s more important than ever for your business to stand out on this platform.

So, how do you set yourself apart from the competition? In terms of how to promote your food business on Instagram, start by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Do you commit to using special ingredients in your menu items (i.e. organic, gluten-free, vegan, etc.)?
  • Is your business’ backstory particularly interesting (i.e. it’s been family-run for generations, you started the business with your best friend, you used to work for the business and now you own it, etc.)?
  • Do you have a unique menu item that no one else in your area offers?
  • Is there a special service you offer that your competition doesn’t?
  • Do you have a commitment to sustainability or eco-friendly practices?
  • Are your menu items customizable?
Screenshot of the Instagram profile for Croix Street Vegan, a vegan food truck in Birmingham, AL.

Whatever sets your business apart from the competition is something you’ll want to lean into with your Instagram content. While customers can get this same information from your website, Instagram allows you to showcase what makes your business special in a visually appealing way.

2. Create an Instagram Business Profile

In 2016, Instagram introduced business profiles that offer different features than regular personal profiles do. The best part? They’re totally free to set up and you can switch a personal profile to a business profile at the touch of a button.

Here’s how to set up your Instagram business page:

  1. Go to Settings and privacy 
  2. Select Account type and tools and hit Switch to business account 
  3. Choose the category that best matches your business and select Business
A screenshot of the Instagram app showing how to switch a personal account to a business one.

Business profiles have access to features that personal profiles don’t, including:

  • The ability to boost posts: If you want to turn one of your existing posts into an ad, you can pay to boost it to get it out in front of more people. 
  • Instagram insights: This is data related to your followers and overall account performance, including how your followers engage with specific posts. If you’ve paid to promote your posts, this is also where you’ll find metrics related to that activity.
  • Post scheduling: Use this feature to schedule a post up to 75 days in advance. Create the content, select when you want it to go live, and let Instagram take care of it.
  • Contact links: In addition to the “Message” button in your bio, you will also be able to set up a “Contact” button. Choose between “Email” and “Call” to make it super easy for potential customers to reach you when viewing your profile.

Also, a
food business bio for Instagram will look different from a personal account bio. The category you select when setting up your professional account will appear right under your business’ name on your profile.

You’ll also be able to set up additional call-to-action buttons on your profile that personal accounts don’t have access to, such as the “View shop” and “Contact” buttons. You can choose to link the “Contact” button to your business phone number or email and even change the text to say “Call” or “Email” to match.

3. Post Different Types of Content

While it may have started out as an image-only platform, Instagram now offers a handful of different ways to share content with your followers, each with its own benefits and unique features.

Feed Posts

Posting pictures and videos to the feed is still the main way most people use Instagram, despite the company unveiling Stories and Reels over the years. While this is the oldest feature on the app, don’t write it off!

There are many ways you can use posts to promote your food business and entice new customers. Here are a few ideas to consider:

  • Write captions people actually read: Keep captions short and sweet. Think about what message you’re trying to send to the customer and stick to it. Encourage comments and engagement by asking questions in your captions that relate to your post (i.e. “What’s your favorite condiment to add to your sandwich? Leave a comment and let us know!”). Not sure where to start? Identify the goal of your post and ask ChatGPT to write a caption for you. 
  • Creating a coordinated grid layout: Your “grid layout” refers to the way your posts are organized in rows of three on your profile. With careful content planning, you can create checkerboard patterns or stripes across your grid by coordinating the colors of each post. While this won’t be visible in your follower’s feeds, it will be immediately noticeable when they view your profile.
A screenshot of the Instagram profile for Berries Frozen Yogurt, showing a checkerboard pattern on their grid layout.
  • Host a giveaway or contest: Everybody likes free things! Create a giveaway for a free menu item or set of items and encourage people to like the post, comment on it, and share the post in their Instagram Story for a chance to win. Collect usernames and select a winner at random.

Pro Tip: Post multiple photos in a carousel for the best results. Studies show carousels have the highest engagement rate for business accounts.

Instagram Stories

Stories might seem a little less formal and more spontaneous than a post, but when used carefully they can be an effective way to promote your business and engage with your followers.

The possibilities are endless, but here are a few of our top recommendations for how to use Stories to market your food business:

  • Create Story Highlights: Stories are fleeting—they expire after 24 hours. That is, unless you add them to a Highlight, where they’ll stay until you decide to take them down! Highlights show up as little bubbles under your profile photo and you can create as many as you want. They’re a great way for customers to view Stories you’ve posted in the past.
  • Use stickers to get engagement: From polls to quizzes to questions and more, you can add stickers to your Story that encourage your followers to interact with you. For example, you could add a question sticker to your Story for a Q&A with your customers and respond to as many as you can. They’ll get to know your business better and you’ll get to know them better too! 

Re-post your customers’ content:
When a customer posts about your food, ask them for permission to share it on your Story for the rest of your followers to see. Sharing pictures your customers have taken is almost like sharing positive Google reviews—your followers can see that other people are enjoying what you have to offer. That can go a long way in enticing them to try out your business as well.


The newest addition to the Instagram content machine, Reels are the app’s response to TikTok and function in nearly the same way. They’re 90-second videos you can edit in the app and add music, special effects, and text to create unique content.

They’re also highly successful, and only getting more popular with time. 2.35 billion users watch Reels every month—no small potatoes! And that’s not all. Reels are reshared through Instagram direct messages a whopping one billion times per day. Needless to say, the potential for promoting your business with Reels is huge.

Here are just a few Instagram content ideas for food businesses that make for great Reels:

  • Behind the scenes: People love to see behind the curtain and to get a glimpse at how things are made, and Reels are a great way to showcase this! For example, if you’re a caterer specializing in beautiful tablescapes, film yourself (or your staff) setting the table and record a voiceover explaining your thought process.
  • Before and after: This is similar to a behind-the-scenes Reel except the emphasis isn’t on the process, but the end result. A home baker could film their kitchen counter covered with all the ingredients needed to make one of their cakes and then cut to a video of the cake after it’s been baked and frosted.
  • Meet the staff: Put a face to your business’ name and film Reels introducing yourself and your staff! When customers feel like they know the people who work at your business, they may feel more comfortable buying from you and more loyal to your business.

4. Build Brand Authority

It’s crucial to have consistent branding across your Instagram profile because it may be the first place a potential customer interacts with your business. Instagram is all about the visuals, from photographs to videos, so creating an aesthetically pleasing profile can increase your chances of success.

There are many different ways to build brand authority with your Instagram account, but below are the most important ones you should focus on.

  • Consistent colors and logo usage: Use your logo as your profile picture and add branded covers to your Story Highlights for a cohesive look. Make sure your logo is easy to read on a mobile device—if it contains a lot of small text, consider creating a simplified logo you can use when it won’t be possible for people to read the fine print.
  • Make your bio count: There isn’t much space in your bio to tell people about your business, so be thoughtful with what you choose to highlight. Try to boil the essence of your business down to one sentence so people viewing your profile get the gist of it right away. Use emojis as bullet points to separate out aspects of your business you want to highlight.
A screenshot of the Instagram profile for Spooky Dogs, a hot dog food truck based in Seattle, WA.
  • Use hashtags wisely: Hashtags help your posts appear higher up in results when users search Instagram for specific content. While Instagram allows you to add up to 30 per post, you should aim for 3–5 instead. Add them to the end of your caption or in a comment on the post.

5. Promote Your Products

One of the great things about having an Instagram account for your food business is that there are so many things you can do to promote it for free. However, you may still choose to invest in the paid promotional opportunities the app allows. If you can afford it, these are a great way to ensure your posts get seen by a wider audience.

There are two ways to do this on Instagram: boosted posts and paid ads. Let’s take a look at the differences between the two.

Boosted Posts

As mentioned earlier, any one of your Instagram posts can be boosted and turned into an ad for your business. When you go to boost your post, you’ll have to fill out the following fields:

  • Goal (what results are you looking for?)
  • Audience (who are you trying to reach?)
  • Budget (how much do you want to spend each day?)
  • Duration (how long do you want the post to be boosted for?)

Instagram will then review your post to make sure it doesn’t violate any of their ad policies. Instagram will boost the post once it’s been approved.

The cost of boosting a post can be as little as $5 and you can boost Stories and Reels as well.

When it comes to choosing which posts to boost, focus on posts that already received good engagement. After all, boosting a post is only a guarantee that more people will see it, not that they’re going to like it or interact with it.

Paid Ads

Instagram also offers opportunities to create ad campaigns that weren’t originally organic posts. Just like boosted posts, you can create ads from images, videos, Stories, Reels, and more.

While Meta (formerly Facebook, Inc.) recommends starting with a budget of $5 per day, the final cost of your campaign can be influenced by several factors, like:

  • Which audience you’re targeting
  • How competitive your industry is
  • The time of year your ad will run (costs go up during the holidays)
  • Where you choose to place your ad (Facebook or Instagram)


Whether you create a new ad campaign or boost an existing post, Instagram is known for its cost-effective advertising. Because the amount you spend affects the number of people who will see your ad, you can budget accordingly and decrease the risk of overspending.

54% of users have reported purchasing a product after seeing an Instagram ad for it, so investing in paid promotions can be extremely beneficial for your business.

7 Instagram Food Business Stats and Insights

Do It for the ‘Gram

Whether you’re interested in Instagram as a way of marketing your food truck, promoting your home-based bakery, or anything in between, this platform offers no shortage of ways to attract new customers and connect with existing ones.

Now that you know the foundations of marketing your food business on Instagram, be sure to check out our exclusive free eBook How to Make Your Food Business Stand Out on Instagram for even more tips and tricks. Learn how to take appetizing pictures of your food on a budget, plan your posts with a content calendar, and other Instagram post ideas for food businesses. Get your copy today!

Alex Hastings portrait

By Alex Hastings

Alex is a Marketing Copywriter at Food Liability Insurance Program (FLIP). In her free time, she enjoys reading, birding, traveling, and finding any excuse to get brunch.

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