by Phil Yacuboski
On the Trackside Station Grill & Bar’s Instagram account, one will find pictures of an open-faced shredded beef sandwich, wings, burgers and a recent drink special – an Absolute Citron with Limoncello, Pernod, lemonade, basil and lemon.
The number of potential viewers?
More than 16,000.
The East Stroudsburg eatery has used organic growth to gain thousands of followers.
“It was a slow and steady incline,” said Carolyn Walker, who manages the restaurant’s page. “Our goal is to be as personable as possible.”
Instagram is hoping to gain more traction with local businesses as it begins to test in-app profile pages for them. While there is no specific date for the rollout, users may see them soon.
“It models the Google Knowledge panel, which I think is very popular with users and I think it’s going to bring that kind of information to Instagram,” said Denise Sevick-Bortree, a professor in the Bellisario College of Communications at Penn State University.
She said it will be helpful for small businesses to have this type of information available in the Instagram app, so people can search for the cost of a meal or hours of operation.
“It will be a big advantage for small businesses,” she said.
Sevick-Bortree said Instagram’s appeal for many is that it is loaded with pictures, which heighten its usability.
“To have that information in tandem with photos is great,” she said.
In January, Instagram’s owner Facebook reported 2018 fourth quarter earnings of $16.6 billion for the final quarter of 2018 – a 30 percent jump over the previous year. Their profits show businesses are using the social media platform as a source of advertising.
“Particularly with the younger demographic, it’s a fantastic way to reach people and to be in a place where they are already are – in social media,” she said. “My 13-year-old daughter spends her time (on the app) because it’s a place where all of her friends are.”
Walker said to grow the numbers, they often interact with clients through messages and comments.
“We make it special,” she said. “Even the photography.”
Walker said the Instagram page was developed five years ago and has spent money through Facebook, which gets linked to Instagram. She said they buy one ad per month.
“It’s definitely increased business because more people are aware,” she said. “The location services on Instagram are fascinating because someone can search East Stroudsburg and Trackside will pop up. We’ve gotten new followers and new customers based on our posts. It’s very rewarding to hear.”
One look at the Lake Naomi Club’s Instagram page and you’ll see breathtaking images of the Poconos and its surroundings – everything from flowers to wildlife.
“I spend a lot of time just walking around our area taking pictures,” said Mark Luethi, social media coordinator and photographer for the page.
The 3,000 posts are gaining traction with people who want to come and visit, he said.
He said many of the photos are shot with a professional, digital camera and then ‘touched up’ using software.
“We’re getting a lot of likes,” he said. “It’s a good thing.”