Even before By Chloe touched down in Boston’s waterfront, the buzz was already real. Oversize bowls of crunchy vegan delights, whole coconuts (branded with the restaurant's logo) and dairy-free mac and cheese made with smoky bits of shiitake “bacon” had long tempted local Instagram “likers” who were hours away from indulging in the New York fast casual.
But now, By Chloe starts their Boston domination, with a brand new location at 107 Seaport Boulevard, and Fenway spot on the way. With them, they bring an arsenal of photographic “moments,” as co-founder/Instagrammer-in-chief Samantha Wasser likes to say. The new location mirrors those in New York and Los Angeles. White swings sit by the front window, while bright textiled banquettes line booths along the walls. The white Moroccan tables are clean, simplistic, and each feature colorful pops from small green and purple potted plants — perfect quick-fix accents for an Instagram flatlay.
And, of course, it’s all strategic. Wasser says the importance of Instagram was ingrained in the brand from its 2015 launch,and is executed within every facet of the space. “We even change the bathroom and hallway wallpapers in all of our locations, so we create little social media moments there,” she adds. “We make sure every aspect lends itself nicely to photos.”
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Their account, @EatByChloe, currently lists upward 64,500 followers, but their hashtag #ByChloe boasts more than 17,000 posts of their food and restaurants from users. (With some outlying stragglers, namely ones named Chloe.) Wasser shares some of her Instagram knowledge, and explains why social media newbies shouldn’t be afraid to go off-brand.
Create a vibe, not an advertisement
Instead of just showcasing menu items, which is so on the nose, Wasser thought: “How do we create an original voice that’s fun, instead of: Here’s our quinoa taco salad, ten different ways.”
She decided to post mood boards featuring playful food and fashion vignettes. The 29-year-old collects the pop art photos from Pinterest and lays them out in a grid. As a bonus, Wasser kicks back to the artists and photographers whose work she features, bringing their voices into the account with hopes her followers will share.
Response rate is everything
Instagram is a two-way road, says Wasser. While the likes and the tags are grand, it’s up to a brand to engage back to create a meaningful relationship.
“We tried from the very beginning to be as approachable as possible,” she explains.
Post a pic of your meal? By Chloe likes. Ask a question about chipotle aioli? By Chloe replies.
“Social media is all about real time. If I answer your question three days later, that’s not good enough with the way we [as a culture] are,” she adds. “You want it instantaneous. I always tell people, 10 minutes is too long.”
Engage with Instagram stories
Don’t forget about Instagram’s live and vanishing photo feature. Wasser says the option to share live and behind-the-scenes photos and videos have allowed her to show the By Chloe brand in a whole new light.
"The engagement is really incredible," she explains. "I try to to use it as much as possible. It's important top show live time — I like showing the lines at lunch, or something that doesn't necessarily make sense as a photo, but shows people what actually goes on at the restaurant."