Instagram’s huge surge in popularity has transformed the marketing industry over recent years. Due to the rise of social media influencers who endorse products and services, the platform has become a powerful promotional tool. But businesses don’t need to splurge on sponsored content to reap the rewards.

More establishments–whether it’s bars, restaurants or shops–are incorporating picturesque features into their décor as Instagram-bait to attract customers who want to get the perfect photo for the ‘gram. Earlier this year, research found that 62.1% of people use Instagram to find things they want in real life.

Emily Cocker, senior digital strategist at Instagram marketing agency Bigfoot Digital, said: “Instagram is powerful, so are many forms of social media. It’s the modern-day replacement to word-of-mouth as it carries photo evidence. People use Instagram as bragging rights, but you can use that to your advantage.

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“Having a creative and quirky space is going to inspire people to take photos. The more pictures posted about your establishment, the more business and publicity you will receive without paying a penny for marketing.”

Glamour recently named several restaurants and bars as ‘the most Instagrammable places in the UK’. Among the establishments mentioned, velvet furniture, millennial pink decor, flowers and glitter string curtains were used to create Insta-worthy backdrops.


Graeme Hoole, head of product development at NeonPlus said: “Instagrammable décor helps companies showcase a brand image, whether that’s a modern, cool bar or a sophisticated, feminine café. This attracts a particular target market and increases brand awareness.”

Decorative forms of lighting, like neon signs and fairy lights, have become extremely popular design features in eateries and bars. Neon adds personality and extra light to a space, lending it perfectly to photo opportunities. Neon can also be used to light up branding and exhibit images and symbols.

Emily added: “Neon adds a burst of colour into an otherwise dull space. The signs are almost unmissable and great for capturing the attention of customers. Also, they aren’t as harsh on the eyes or camera lens as lights, which makes for an ‘Insta-worthy’ photo (without the glare).”

Several establishments on Glamour’s list displayed neon signs with playful phrases, such as ‘well-behaved women don’t make history’ and ‘I licked it so it’s mine’. This encourages customers to take photographs for their feed, and therefore generate free publicity. 

“A neon sign can be an establishment’s ‘hook’ that draws customers in. Displaying a catchy phrase delivers an added experience to customers. It encourages them to take photographs and make memories that they can upload to Instagram,” Graeme added.

An alternative to neon lighting available is faux neon, which uses plastic tubing instead of glass, and LEDs instead of neon. These lights are simple to design, build quickly and are often more appropriate for the bespoke market.

“As more and more enterprises emerge with stunning interiors, the ones that don’t are likely to fall short,” Graeme added. “Just having good products or services won’t always be enough to compete with firms that offer this as well as the ‘Instagrammable’ experience.”

Décor has been a priority for many businesses in the past, but because of social media it has never been so prominent. As well as looking attractive in person, bars, cafes and retail spaces now need to be photogenic to get Instagram attention. Due to the huge amount of competition, businesses that don’t stand out run the risk of being forgotten.