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On Instagram, imagery is the name of the game.

Master Your Instagram Marketing with These 5 Design Tips

Standing out is no easy task in today's social media universe.

Marketing on Instagram has many inherent advantages over traditional forms of advertising, including its ability to reach a much wider audience than a flyer or a poster would. It’s an inexpensive and easy form of advertising that can reach restaurant customers instantly.

Here is where design comes in: since Instagram is populated by many restaurants and their ad campaigns, you need to find a way to stand out. Follow the steps below to design a unique and professional Instagram advertisement. 


The first lesson for effective Instagram marketing is how to grab attention without being over-the-top. Step No. 1? Lead with a large font. Big splashy letters catch your audience’s attention as they scroll through their feed, and prompt them to take a pause and read further.

If your copy is the most important part of your Instagram post, put it front and center—even if that means covering up your imagery. Don’t make your followers work to find your important information. Put the most critical part of your message where they can’t miss it. Then, if needed, include a link to the “Learn more” section on your website.


On Instagram, imagery is the name of the game, making your image choices hugely important to your ad’s success. This component takes precedence over using large fonts, because you can get away with using small fonts if your imagery alone is effective enough to grab people’s attention. 


Make the photos dominate your design instead of being elements of the background, just like this Pizza IG Post. Often a single high-resolution photo works best for grabbing attention, but multiple photos can be used successfully, if they go well together. Two pictures of entirely different things will be jarring for customers. 


Using the right colors for your advertisement is another crucial step in the design process. Instagram has a white background, so you want to avoid using white as the dominant color of your ad’s design, otherwise it will just blend in with the app. Using black is a great way to counter this. Food photos have plenty of natural color, and if you use one as the background of your ad, you’ll be well on your way to designing an engaging advertisement. 


Summer Instagram Update. This design is a great example of how to use color correctly: the light orange background contrasts the beautiful red, blue, and black graphic to make a color scheme that stands out and embodies summer. Sleek font fits the modern look of this ad, and it isn’t used in excess. All these factors combined make this ad professional, unique, and purposeful, which will pique the interest of Instagram scrollers. 

Color, if misused, can be the bane of an otherwise effective ad. Too many colors are an instant no-go, especially if they don’t mesh well with the photo that you are including in the design. For example, if you are advertising your dark chocolate, using black is a great way to give your design a sophisticated and seamless look. If you paired dark chocolate with a green, purple, and blue color scheme, it could look tacky. 

Pay close attention to how colors harmonize with one another and the food you may be showcasing, and your ad will be engaging and professional. 


All advertisements have purpose and your design needs to reflect that. It’s all about brand building or promotion of a specific event or special. Ideally, the pacing and design of your Instagram posts creates anticipation and excitement from your customers. 

If you’re reminding customers about your burger specials, make a beautiful burger photo the focus of your ad. Maybe you’re promoting your trivia nights—include specific details about the event so customers know what to expect. Your summer business hours changed? Make them the focal point of your advertisement and dress them up in bold font so they pop out.


Reopening Instagram Update. This design executes its purpose effectively: it uses a grand font to commemorate a grand event. Customers will see this right away and will be excited to return to your restaurant. The natural color scheme, attention-grabbing font, and large food photo make this a great example of successful Instagram marketing.  


Lastly, captions. They serve as the final impression, the selling factor, and even though they may seem inconsequential, Instagram users often take a glance at ad captions. You want to avoid an insufficient or cryptic caption that doesn’t seem to relate to the ad itself.

Instead, create a caption that reinforces the post and incorporates a call to action or a witty remark that makes people want to engage further. For example, some easy calls to action could incorporate phrases like “Learn More” and “See Our Selection Here”. The main takeaway here is to put some effort into your caption instead of disregarding it.

Follow these tips to master your Instagram marketing and watch your restaurant’s account gain likes and followers. The more likes your posts have, the more exposure they will receive in customers’ feeds, so you can increase engagement and outreach easily. 

Sites have additional marketing templates that can help your restaurant make a splash as business picks up in the coming months.

Zach Williams is a staff writer for MustHaveMenus and is currently enrolled in the English department at USC.