How To Create Great Content for your Cafe's Social Media

Sara Lindsay, Digital Content and Social Media Manager

Over the last year, I’ve been even more addicted to my phone than usual. With cafés, restaurants, bars and shops often closed, I’ve been very guilty of endless scrolling (you don’t even want to know how long my weekly screen time average is).

What I’ve noticed, now more than ever, is that that people love food and drink content. I will sit and watch endless videos of people making recipes and pouring latte art or scroll through hundreds of beautiful images of delicious wonders. Maybe it’s because we’ve been missing hospitality or maybe we’re all becoming more appreciative of great photography and videography. Whatever the reason, food and drink content is exciting and can help elevate your café business if you promote your tasty offerings effectively.

So, what makes great content? Here are my ideas on how to capture your audience’s attention, promote your brand and engage your following, using examples from some of the most effective Instagram posts from cafés we follow.

These five ideas should give you some new inspiration to elevate your social media content. The main message is to get creative! Try a few of these out and see what your audience engages most with. Don’t forget to tag us @matthewalgiecoffee and we’ll share our favourites!

Happy posting!

1. NAIL THE SET-UP SHOT

First things first, you should set up a few shots that really showcase the coffee, drinks or food and make them the focal point. The idea with these is to really make them look delicious. You can use them for social posts, but they also make good cover photos or appealing additions to add to your website.

Get your chef or barista to make a perfect-looking dish or drink and don’t forget about the crockery and presentation. Consider where you are taking the photo. Maybe it’s in the kitchen, at a table, or in front of some complementary products. The background is just as important for your overall look so don’t forget about it! For a simple, no distractions approach, a top-down photo on a clean, interesting surface (wood, slate, or funky tablecloths work well) is a great way of showcasing your creations.

It’s also a good idea to pick out some props. Taking a photo of your autumnal pumpkin spice latte? Some pine cones, mini pumpkins, or hessian sacks will really set the scene. Or you could pick out a few key ingredients, so a photo of an orange hot chocolate could be photographed alongside some orange slices and broken chocolate pieces. Get creative!

Check out the tips at the end of this article on how to get the best lighting, adjust the exposure and take an all-round great photo!

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BothyGlasgow

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OchoGlasgow

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2. USE VIDEO

Don’t get caught up in just static imagery. Video is far more engaging but does take more work. I would aim to have a balance between the two and keep your videos fairly short and sweet (under 30 seconds). Instagram make it super easy to create ‘edited’ videos. Just use Reels to stop and start filming to give you several back to back shots. You can also use the video function on your phone and upload to your grid. Be aware that most people watch video without the sound on, so if you’re talking you might want to add subtitles, which you can add automatically using a feature in Instagram Stories.

There are so many opportunities for great video content in a café! Think about latte art pouring, speciality drinks making, extraction of espresso, cutting cakes, drizzling on food, shot of the buzzing café – showing a snapshot of your process will often make you stand out.

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3. GET YOUR BRANDING IN

Getting your branding in shot every so often is a good thing. Serial scrollers will instantly recognise it in amongst all the other content and if your posts get shared elsewhere, everyone will know the post was yours.

This could be subtle, like making sure your logo is visible on your crockery, or a more obvious shot of your store sign. Set up your shot well and your brand can easily be the focus of a really engaging photo.

To keep growing, you will need to keep your audience engaged (we’ll come on to measuring that later), as your goal is to encourage shares, likes and comments to increase the likelihood of people seeing your account and following you.

Importantly, you’ll want to measure the reach and impressions of your individual posts and stories too. Which ones performed best in terms of reach and impressions? Once you know the answer to this, you know these are the types of posts to prioritise in future.

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OchoGlasgow

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SohoCoffeeCo

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4. INVITE PEOPLE (AND PETS) TO FEATURE

Don’t let your business become faceless – we are social creatures and we like to see other people in our social content. Whilst your product and service is important, you and your people are just as important. I always notice that posts with people in them perform well because you are adding a personal touch.

Consider introducing yourself, showing your baristas and chefs, or even (willing) customers. The caveat here is you must ALWAYS ask for permission before taking photos of people and be clear how the photo will be used.

One current trend is behind the scenes shots and video. We love to have a look at things we would usually not have access to, so show us chefs making beautiful dishes in the kitchen, baristas pouring perfect latte art or your team opening up the doors ready for a busy day’s trading. We want to see their skill and meet your team.

Why not ask a member of your team to do an Instagram takeover? You could give them access to post stories for an afternoon and we could get a sneak peak of what they are up to.

Oh, and if your café allows dogs, you are onto a winner… animal content is huge on social media, so post a few pics of our four-legged friends enjoying a puppuccino on your account for the ‘aww’ factor!

5. BE CURRENT

This one is about being led by seasonality and trends. Your content needs to resonate with your audience, so posting comforting content in winter and refreshing content in summer will captivate your following by mirroring what they are craving. Christmas, Halloween and Easter are great times to create fun seasonal content and the only limit is your imagination.

For trends, there are loads of resources you can access so you’ll always be on top of your game. Make sure you subscribe to this eZine to get trends delivered to your inbox, check the Matthew Algie website and socials and listen to your customers themselves! Take note of what people are saying in person or in the comments on your socials too – they could give you valuable insight.

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GOLDEN RULES

  • ALWAYS ask permission before taking and posting photos of people.
  • Mix up all the ideas we’ve discussed here. Posting in the same format will get monotonous, so trying a few styles will keep your page fresh.
  • Review your results – keep track of your analytics so you know what works well and therefore which types of content to focus your efforts on in future.

SMART PHONE PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS

  • Clean the lens – Step one is to always clean the lens on your smartphone before taking your photos. Lots of people don’t do this, resulting in blurry or foggy images.
  • Lighting – try to ensure the light source is behind you and natural light is always best. If your subject is too light or dark, adjust the exposure by tapping on the affected area on your phone screen.
  • Rule of thirds – a well-known guideline within the world of photography, this is one that helps you take a balanced photo. On most phones, there is a setting to display a built-in grid to section the shot into nine parts. You should then align your focal points along the lines or intersections.
  • Composition – mix up the angles you take the photo from. Maybe it will look good from a high or low angle? Taking a top-down photo is very popular for food and drink on social media, so give this a try.
  • Check the background – don’t get so caught up on the subject that you neglect what’s in the background. Think about the whole picture.

About Sara Lindsay

Digital Content and Social Media Manager


Sara has worked in Digital and Content Marketing for over eight years, with a focus on B2B web content & SEO, copywriting and Social Media. She worked with global healthcare brands for several years before moving to the coffee industry three years ago.

In her role of Digital Content and Social Media Manager at Matthew Algie, Sara is responsible for our websites and delivery of the lead generation strategy, our social media platforms and digital paid advertising.

Sara enjoys absorbing the knowledge and passion from the industry experts at Matthew Algie and translating that into engaging stories for our visitors and followers online.