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Keeping Up With The ‘Gram

The Holy Trinity of New Features for Restaurants, Pubs and Bars

7th May 2021


In the 12 months of the year-that-must-not-be-named, Instagram has been dropping new features like they’re hot 🔥

 There have been messenger rooms and AR filters, closed captions and a Clubhouse-style mute during IG Lives. We’ve seen Green Screen arrive into IG Stories which means you can check in with your followers from a Parisian cafe when, in actual fact, you haven’t got out of your bed in Peckham yet. 

But there are three features that arrived in the last year that have us super excited for those in the hospitality world- Guides, IG Shopping and Reels 🙌

We’re going to break down what they are and how you can use them to, not only add more zing to your IG presence but even be of benefit to both your marketing efforts and the cash in your coffers.


If old-school blogging and carousels had themselves a baby, Guides would be it. 

Essentially, it’s a way to group lots of content together in small, digestible chunks that’s highly shareable. Heads up if you can’t find them, they live under a tab next to other features like Tagged, IGTV and Reels on the profile.

It was originally designed to be a useful Travel Guide feature. By the time it launched in May of last year, there wasn’t much of that going on so IG did a classic 2020 pivot and turned it into a wellness feature. In the following months, it has grown exponentially to include Posts, Products, Places and is just a brilliant way to collate longer-form content in an appealing way. This is especially handy for hospo businesses during this time of grand reopening- take for example the Guide we made for Drake & Morgan detailing which outside spaces would be opening from April 12th. They have a LOT of bars and this information would have been way more confusing to impart using any other feature. 

This doesn’t have to be just a post-lockdown specific endeavour though! Whether you’ve got products to showcase or information about your locations to give, Guides is a winner. But how to make your first one?

  1. Head to your profile and click the + symbol in the top right corner
  2. Press Guides (obvs)
  3. Choose Products (recommend your own products or those from other IG shops),  Places (location-specific, great for businesses with a few different sites) or Posts (a guide of your own or saved posts. This can lead back to the OG post meaning your content stays evergreen. Yay!)
  4. Choose your cover info
  5. Create a freakin’ delicious gift guide, product rundown, selection of offers or location-specific guide that brings value to your followers.
  6. Share with the world! 

The best part? You can go back and edit them later so they are evergreen. Great work IG 🙏

Instagram Shop

Does what it says on the lovely, lovely tin. With Instagram being such a huge part of any strategy for F&B brands nowadays, this takes your social channel ROI (be it time or money)  to a whole new level 🚀

Over the last year, many types of brands have had to shift their business model with e-commerce becoming a big part of how they operate. Is that here to stay in a post-covid world? Absolutely and the Shop feature is going to be key. 

In a nutshell, this is a customisable native shop front where you can get your products in front of your followers, allowing them to browse and purchase without even leaving the app. You can even tag your products across posts, Stories, IGTV and Reels. Huzzah! 🎈🎉

There are 130 million users clicking on IG Shopping posts each month; it’s time to carve yourself off a slice of IG’s indomitable e-commerce action. Here’s the lowdown on how…

  1. Make sure you have a business profile and check your eligibility (There are certain criteria like being able to connect to a FB page and having a physical product to sell rather than services. It’s also worth noting that you cannot sell alcohol through Shops)
  2. Upload your product catalogue (using Facebook Business catalog manager or by integrating an e-commerce database like Shopify)
  3. Submit for review 
  4. Turn on shopping through your Business Profile Settings
  5. Get creating Stories, posts, Reels, Guides, even IG Live broadcasts- give your products those extra jazz hands by using captions, effects, filters, whatever works for you.


Of course, the biggest news this year in Gramland is how they came for TikTok’s short-form video crown with the addictive Reels feature. It’s worked engagement and exposure magic for those who jumped on it quickly and continues to be a pretty egalitarian feature for getting your content in front of people- as long as that content is great in under 30 seconds of course! 

Much like TikTok, it’s all about those viral dances, challenges, hacks, how-to, travel inspo and beauty, with food making up a huge part of what makes Reels so compelling. Check out this Reel from @ingatylam to see how a simple instant ramen hack went viral, garnering nearly 15.6 million views, 815,000 likes and over 3,5000 comments. 

The biggest thing to remember about Reels is that Instagram really likes to push their new features and are obviously sinking serious dollah into it. That’s why Reels is pride of place on the Explore page and is the feature you’ll be most rewarded for using. The ultimate goal is to become a Featured Pick which will literally make it rain with views and likes… but how? 

There are endless ways to go about it but here are some basic rules-

  1. You can use videos made in other apps (like TikTok) but IG don’t love it. The best chance you have of them pushing your Reel is to make the video directly in the app using their effects (or at the very least remove the Watermark)
  2. You will be given an option to share your Reels to your Grid and to Stories, you want to do both!
  3. Jump on current trends and challenges with your unique spin on it. 
  4. Have a consistent feel to your Reels with similar music, colour palette, cuts. This is another way of advertising the personality of your brand!
  5. Use popular tunes, your Reels is searchable through the audio you choose and music makes such a difference to the viewing experience. 
  6. Add relevant hashtags
  7. Consistently post, the suggested amount would be four times per week.
  8. Keep it pacey and exciting. When most of us are on a scroll-sesh, you have literally a couple of seconds to grab our attention.
  9. Add value to get users to save your Reel- for a F&B brand, it could be an awesome twist on a recipe with an incredible soundtrack or a behind-the-scenes tour. 
  10. Keep an eye on Remix too- this is the Reels version of TikTok’s Duet and a fantastic way of interacting with the content of other users.  

Keep going with it. Maybe your first Reel doesn’t work in the way you want it to, maybe your third doesn’t… but you’ll get there and the first time you see the ‘You are a featured pick’ notification, it will all be worth it. Have fun with it- after all, that’s what content creation should be about. 

What next? 

Now you’re utilising three of the most amazing new features for your brand, what next? Well, it always worth keeping in mind that Instagram changes alllll the time. Staying up-to-date could put you in front of the pack- as discussed above, the platform is famous for pushing content from accounts that are utilising the latest features. Now the Shopping experience is here, that could mean not only a huge uptick in engagement and followers but also, products sold.

And who doesn’t like a bit of that? 💃

If you’d like some help with your organic social channels but aren’t quite sure where to start, hit us up! We love helping brands tell their stories-

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