Business Banning Instagram!

Four Barrel Instagram Ban. Image Courtesy of TechCrunch. Above Promotions Company Tampa, FL 2012
Four Barrel Instagram Ban. Image Courtesy of TechCrunch. Above Promotions Company Tampa, FL 2012
Four Barrel Instagram Ban. Image Courtesy of TechCrunch. Above Promotions Company Tampa, FL 2012

At first glance of the Huffington Post headline, “Four Barrel, San Francisco Coffee Shop, Bans Instagram Photos, ‘Hipster Topics'”, many of you probably thought the same thing,”What business is crazy enough to ban a customer from uploading a picture to Instagram at their business?”

Apparently the Four Barrel coffee shop in San Francisco posted a sign at their door as seen above. Would you be bold enough to do so? After you read the article, you’ll see it was a publicity stunt. Well played Four Barrel. Well played. But really? Would you be as bold to tell people you didn’t want them to share images or spread your business on social media? What you will read next, may shock you, but many of you are doing that now.

No you don’t have a sign posted on your building, but you’re not taking advantage of the foot traffic in your establishment. Why not encourage people as they are at your restaurant or in your store to share a photo of something they like online? Here’s a tip. Keep it tight under your marketing hat. If your customers knew we were sharing this, it would be gimmicky to them.

Here’s the tip. Let’s say you have a restaurant. You have people who are relaxed and enjoying themselves and are probably even playing on their cell phones in between laughs. Having a waiter to say, “Doesn’t this appetizer look great? I bet you know someone who would love to be here eating this with you right now.” or “Doesn’t that just look great. That’s a Twitter picture for sure.” Or if you have a boutique. Have a customer unsure of which outfit to purchase? Tell them they should post it on Facebook and see if their friends can help them to decide. Then offer them a bottle of water and good conversation while they await their response. In the least, even if they do not respond right away or can’t make a decision, their friends will have learned about your shop.

Now both tips can really only work if you have quality items that are in demand. If your food looks like it was in a garbage can or the dress is of poor quality or ill-fitted, this will just backfire. So you won’t be able to do it with every customer. However, you get the drift. Find ways you and your employees can encourage the use of social media to customers while at your establishment.

Doing this can be tricky and if done wrong could be annoying or obnoxious. So seek an expert to help integrate these practices into your sales process and customer experience.

Do you do any of these suggestive sharing statements now? Or do you have a more obvious social media marketing tactic (i.e. discount for checking in, etc)? If so, share with us.



Above Promotions is a full service publicity, marketing and promotions company, founded with the purpose to serve an array of clients that are looking to expand their presence in the marketplace. From a local to international market, Above Promotions Company can provide the exposure that goes above your expectations. Visit today.


7 thoughts on “Business Banning Instagram!

  1. lmao on the hipster topic! I don’t know that I would have been bold enough to use the F word on something I was posting as a business but if it got the attention of the patrons then so be it. I love the ideas about the instagram/twitter pics as something businesses should actively request. I know I’ve taken advantage of many specials that some businesses have for check ins on foursquare, no reason they can’t capitalize on the other forms of social media as well. Great article….as usual.

  2. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment! Please share with others who may benefit from the tip. It’s one people rarely use, but is so very effective! Thanks again!

  3. This reminds me of the “Don’t Press This Button” ploy! LOL. I think this works if it is used only occasionally…people catch on to gimmicks pretty fast….like “Going Out of Business Sale” for 10 years…..but a cleverly crafted marketing maneuver could actually be more than a “flash in the pan”.

    A restaurant who serves delightful looking dishes could have a contest with one of their social media such as Facebook…”Flash for the Food Friday”…the first person to tag the restaurant’s social media page with a great photo of a certain food dish will win that specialty for their next visit. This gets people excited about winning, cooks will want to be more detailed about their presentation and the restaurant gets exposure and customers. The dish, meal time and the day could be changed each week and details would be announced by restaurant on their page at the beginning of the week.

    Lots of possibilities here and thanks for stimulating my creative juices! I love your blogs!
    Brenda Ellison-MyInfoSnap

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