10 Ways to Make Your Offline Business Instagram Friendly

Wondering how to draw more customers to your brick-and-mortar business? Try adding design details that will boost its Instagrammability.

When people post photos of your space on Instagram, you benefit from the free advertising and positive word of mouth. Plus, having an Instagrammable space is an asset when it comes to attracting customers, especially those who are willing to make a trek for the perfect photo backdrop.

We know not every business can emulate Giraffe Manor in Nairobi, which has literal giraffes hanging out with the visitors— maybe the most Instagram-worthy concept I’ve ever seen.

But there are lots of attainable (and affordable!) ways to make your business Instagram friendly. Here are a few tried-and-trued ideas from some of the platform’s most-tagged spaces.

Bonus: Download a free checklist that reveals the exact steps a lifestyle photographer used to grow from 0 to 600,000 followers on Instagram with no budget and no expensive gear.

10 ways to make your business Instagrammable

1. Go green with plants and flowers

Churchill Arms is a classic British pub in London— in that sense, there are a million other pubs just like it. But it’s become a photo landmark thanks to its floral exterior:View this post on Instagram

View this post on Instagram

The perfect bar doesn’t exi-

A post shared by John Resig (@johnresig) on

The perfect bar doesn’t exi-

A post shared by John Resig (@johnresig) on Aug 12, 2018 at 10:28am PDT

If that’s a little ambitious for your taste, Vancouver restaurant Botanist pulls the greenery inside in a more attainable way:

The most inspiring interiors I’ve seen for a while! If you’re ever headed to Vancouver, you’ve got to check out @botanistdining for brunch or dinner

A post shared by Vladimir Zhukovskiy (@vladizhuko) on Apr 8, 2019 at 10:43am PDT

It’s a jungle in here Photo by @dorringtonr at @botanistdining #dishedvan

A post shared by Dished Vancouver (@dishedvancouver) on Aug 10, 2018 at 9:07pm PDT

Plants and flowers will brighten up your space and add cheerful, colorful accents for photographers seeking the perfect shot.

Worried your Instagram investment might wither and die? Fake plants look almost as nice online!

2. Provide an accent wall

Often, Instagrammers are looking for an ideal backdrop for their selfie. Or the popular “holding up my food for the camera” photo:

this place has quickly turned me into the biggest gelato fan EVER???? . . ????La Casa Gelato, Vancouver Vanilla Cookie Dough + Peanut Butter Cup . . . #lacasagelato #gelato #vancouver #downtownvancouver #socalsoph #yvr #eatyvr #eatvancouver#foodblogger #foodie #foodphotography #visitvancouver #eatbc #yelpvancouver #buzzfeast #vancityfood #nomnomyvr

A post shared by Socal Soph (@socal.soph) on Apr 10, 2019 at 5:00pm PDT

Give them what they want with an accent wall. Choose a well-lit location in your space, and add some visual excitement with a mural or bright wallpaper. Planta Toronto’s leafy wallpaper is a popular choice:

Happy place @plantatoronto • • • #plantatoronto #bestplacestogo #foodtrip

A post shared by CHRISTINA SCHMIDT ???? (@christinalovesthiscity) on Nov 29, 2018 at 11:00am PST

You’ll want to go with bright colors or patterns, as Instagrammers are looking for something that will stand out on the feed.

Neon signs are also popular on Instagram, if you’re not inspired by paint or wallpaper. Little Bean in Portland, which makes vegan non-dairy desserts, has a cheeky sign celebrating their surprise ingredient. It makes many appearances on Instagram:

I wasn’t planning on going into @littlebeanpdx last night but when I walked by there was no line‼️A foodie miracle It was short lived though because the line was out the door within minutes so I totally lucked out I picked the Szechuan strawberry ???? chickpea (not) ice cream and it was so good I couldn’t resist getting the S’mores tart too ????

A post shared by Hungry B (@hungry_in_portland) on Apr 5, 2019 at 4:06pm PDT

3. Add a patterned floor

Instagram is really into floors. For proof, just check out the 800,000+ posts tagged #IHaveThisThingWithFloors.

They’re ideal for a selfeet (that’s a selfie of your feet), and they’re also nice for people who feel a little self-conscious taking photos in public. After all, no one can tell if you’re taking a photo of the floor or just looking down at your phone.

Patterned tiles are especially popular choices, if you want to upgrade your entire floor.

If you want more of a spot-upgrade, writing on the floor is also very Instagram-friendly. A few coffee shops have figured this out, like Reunion Island Coffee. Their apt floor message has been Instagrammed hundreds of times:

View this post on Instagram

First things first… ☕️ #coffeeTO

A post shared by blogTO (@blogto) on

First things first… ☕️ #coffeeTO

A post shared by blogTO (@blogto) on Apr 20, 2018 at 4:29am PDT

So has the friendly welcome at Safehouse Coffee.

Hi! Maybe you are new to the @OntarioTravel community or maybe you’ve been following along for years. Either way, we want to hear from you! What do you want to see more of on this page? Let us know in the comments! ????: @fringeandfair #DiscoverON #ExploreCanada

A post shared by Ontario Travel (@ontariotravel) on Jul 31, 2018 at 5:02am PDT

For the budget-conscious business owner, you could even try a graphic area rug or bright carpet. Ensure your floor has breathing room (don’t put your best rug under a table) so photographers can find the best angle.

And if you’re installing an accent piece, like a tiled message, make sure it gets good light.

4. Don’t forget about products and packaging

Packaging is another opportunity to shine. To-go containers, cups, and bottles should have an appealing and distinct look to build brand recognition.

Here’s one of the three delicious new releases that we’ll be crushing this weekend… Curious what the other two are? Visit our website: thegrowler.ca. ???? @dennisthefoodie

A post shared by The Growler (@thegrowlerbc) on Mar 23, 2019 at 5:47pm PDT

Glossier is one brand that does packaging extremely well. The pink pouches that they use for shipping (a Millennial-hued twist on bubble wrap) have become status symbols, thanks to Instagram:

Feels like summer ???? @glossier pouch, I adore you #pinkpouchchallenge

A post shared by skincare reviews & routines (@italianskincare) on Apr 26, 2018 at 8:35am PDT

You can also consider special touches for the items you serve or products you sell. La Glace serves their ice cream in slim chocolate cones that look dreamy on Instagram:

View this post on Instagram

Weekends are made for scoops of heaven🍦

A post shared by The Vancouverite | CINDY YU (@thevancouveriteblog) on

Weekends are made for scoops of heaven

A post shared by The Vancouverite | CINDY YU (@thevancouveriteblog) on Aug 25, 2018 at 7:14am PDT

These details set your business apart from competitors, online and offline.

5. Light up the room

If your business has good windows or amazing natural light, take advantage of it! Ensure your most well-lit spaces are also carefully curated. Don’t crowd them with too many products or boxes that will throw shadows around and make it hard to see (and photograph) details.

I can’t think of a harder outfit decision. Went wedding dress shopping for my good friend and totally loved the relaxed, gorgeous @truvelleflagship boutique in Gastown, Vancouver. Such a great combination of boho and rustic beauty. Plus when you have wedding dresses from @laudaebride that have a new collection inspired and named after Palm Springs streets… I die!

A post shared by Emily ???? (@emily.ave) on Aug 27, 2018 at 9:38pm PDT

Natural light is ideal, but if you don’t have it, fake it with warm and gentle lighting. No matter how beautiful your products are, if the lighting resembles a department store changing room (too harsh, too dim, or too fluorescent), no one will want to take an Instagram Story there.

Beyond bulbs, add reflective surfaces like metal and glass to diffuse light and illuminate your business from all angles. Designer Craig Stanghetta points out that lighting from below is more flattering than shadowy overhead lights. That’s part of why Kissa Tanto, a restaurant he designed, is so Instagram photo-friendly:

View this post on Instagram

Friday night mood ⚡️

A post shared by The Wild Bunch (@the_wildbunch) on

Friday night mood ⚡️

A post shared by The Wild Bunch (@the_wildbunch) on Feb 22, 2019 at 7:02pm PST

6. Go all-in on a theme

This one requires a little more commitment, but it can really pay off. Going hard on a theme that’s a signature color, mood, or concept pays off with a big “wow” factor when executed well.

NYC restaurant Pietro Nolita is a perfect example. Everything in their space, from the napkins to the exterior walls, is bright pink. Their restaurant motto isn’t “Pink as F***” for nothing!

Spreading #springvibes ——————— #pietronolita #pink #smile #behappy

A post shared by Jelena Salikova (@jelenasalikova) on Apr 8, 2019 at 9:01am PDT

A month since New York and I’m only just posting the most instagrammable food place…also I really miss my wedding nails #whoami • • • • #pietronolita #food #pinkaf #elizabethstreet #photography #newyork #pretty #pinkaesthetic #fashion #ny #red #newyorkcity #foodporn #manhattan #sweet #nolita #photooftheday #eeeeeats #nyc #pinklover #hpbride #instafood #latte

A post shared by Meghan Blake Fenton (@meghanbryony) on Mar 29, 2019 at 11:00am PDT

Similarly, The Standard hotel in LA boasts a buttercup yellow restaurant. It’s irresistible Instagram bait:

Sunshine and scrambled eggs — part of a well balanced diet. ☀️????☺️

A post shared by Erin Fong (@erinlovesfun) on Jan 19, 2018 at 8:14am PST

7. Selfie-friendly mirrors

Are you selling apparel, jewelry, or anything else people put on their bodies? Make sure you’ve added mirrors for selfies. Your customers will need to try on your products, and flattering reflections can help boost sales.

Position them to maximize natural lighting, or add warm lighting around the frame. Ensure they’re large enough for group or full-body photos, and make sure there’s nothing unsightly in the background.

Take a tip from apparel retailer Outdoor Voices, who adds their signature hashtag #DoingThings to every store mirror. This detail provides new customers with hashtagging hints, and makes it easy to identify an OV selfie.

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by @ m.maarria on


A post shared by @ m.maarria on Apr 5, 2019 at 1:52pm PDT

Likewise, cosmetics company Glossier adds a recognizable company motto (“You Look Good”) to their store mirrors. This means that even selfies that aren’t tagged with the location or account help to build brand recognition.

View this post on Instagram

I think mais looks good in NY too… bye richmond?

A post shared by C A M E R O N (@cameronscovell) on

I think mais looks good in NY too… bye richmond?

A post shared by C A M E R O N (@cameronscovell) on Jan 14, 2018 at 2:24pm PST

8. Create a lounge area

Give your products or tables breathing room by creating a photogenic lounge area for your customers. It provides a place to break from shopping, or an inviting spot for customers to sit (and photograph!) their food and drinks.

It’s also an alternative to conventional table-and-chair seating that offers more versatility in photos.

Aritzia is a pro at providing thoughtful seating areas, complete with stylish furniture and reading material. It’s like being in a very hip living room where you can also spend a lot of money.

Are you shopping today? Check out our Flag Halyard Chair at the @aritzia flagship store in Vancouver . . . #vancouver #yvr #flaghalyard #myrove #roveconcepts

A post shared by Rove Concepts Furniture (@roveconcepts) on Apr 15, 2017 at 1:47pm PDT

View this post on Instagram

When in doubt, wear red 💋 #red #ootd

A post shared by Charmmie Vu (@charmmie.vu) on

When in doubt, wear red #red #ootd

A post shared by Charmmie Vu (@charmmie.vu) on Jan 30, 2019 at 7:29pm PST

Lovenote Bride in Calgary combines on-theme wall art with a chill seating space, which looks great in photos with or without shoppers.

noted ✔️ ps – brides, this new store in Inglewood looked amazing ????

A post shared by Kelsey Smith ???? (@kelseykristyn) on Mar 15, 2019 at 1:00pm PDT

Got to play dress up at the cutest bridal shop in town today ????????

A post shared by Tola G (@tolaawhitney) on Mar 9, 2019 at 7:24pm PST

9. Add some charm to your bathroom

Why is there always a line for the ladies’ room? Because if it’s cute in there, people are taking selfies.

A bathroom is a very attainable space to beautify, partly because it’s typically small. A little wallpaper, a nice mirror, and good lighting are all you need!

Grey Gardens in Toronto doesn’t even have Instagram but is well-represented on the platform thanks to many, many selfies in its gorgeous bathroom:

View this post on Instagram

Florals 🌺 • #GreyGardens

A post shared by danielle black (@danielleblack) on

Florals • #GreyGardens

A post shared by danielle black (@danielleblack) on Feb 16, 2017 at 4:28pm PST

Bao Bei is another shining example! There’s something about a floral wall and a round, antique mirror.

Favourite spot for a piña colada and a gratuitous bathroom selfie #baobeibathroom

A post shared by Jessica Napier ????????‍???? (@jess_emma_) on Apr 6, 2019 at 10:28pm PDT

10. Dress up the outside, too

So far everything I’ve mentioned has referred to something inside your business… but your exterior is important too! Draw in customers and visitors with your building’s walls or storefront display.

Not only will customers want to step inside, but they’ll also want to post a photo of their visit!

There are hundreds of photos on Instagram of the famous mural at Jo’s Coffee in Austin. It’s even a stop on the Austin Selfie Tour (yes, that’s a real tour!).

The mom guilt before my trip: paralyzing. The mom guilt after my trip: NONE. Why are we made to feel like we shouldn’t go away, shouldn’t be happy and free and good to ourselves? For one night! I had the best time. It was good for me and good for my marriage and all of that makes me a better mom. I’d love to say I’m done with mom guilt but I know that’s a lie. So I’ll just say I’m done with it in regards to an overnight getaway. ✊????

A post shared by Jamie Stelter (@jamiestelter) on Oct 1, 2018 at 4:49am PDT

And the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs provides visitors with a mural wall that changes each year, renewing interest from returning visitors.

View this post on Instagram

“Desert Void” by @chaz.wick

A post shared by Colleen Dunn (@codunn) on

“Desert Void” by @chaz.wick

A post shared by Colleen Dunn (@codunn) on Apr 15, 2019 at 5:26pm PDT

If a mural seems a little ambitious (or if you don’t have that much space to work with), brightening up your front door is another option. The pink doors of the June Motel provide a lovely backdrop to many photos on Instagram.View this post on Instagram

dreaming of weekend getaways filled with sunshine, bubbles & pastel pink doors ☁️

A post shared by angela chau ???? (@angelachauxo) on Jan 3, 2019 at 2:01pm PST

Try one or more of the ideas above to see how your business can benefit from a few photogenic touches! Never underestimate the appeal of a perfect photo for drawing new and returning customers to your door.

Article syndicated from HootSuite https://blog.hootsuite.com/offline-business-instagram-friendly/


Editor in Chief at here SMNZ, I have a passion for social and digital media. When not writing and managing SMNZ I am the Head of Innovation at TAG The Agency, a digital ad agency and the Head of Sales and Marketing for End-Game, a software development agency. I'm also involved with a number of startups and I am always keen to support those that are bold enough to give things a go. Start something, better to try than to live wondering what if...

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