Instagram has become a marketing hot-spot for companies due to the rise of social media influencers. However, businesses don’t have to splurge on sponsored content to benefit from the promotional tool.

Consumers are increasingly being attracted to establishments–such as bars, restaurants and shops–with charming décor that creates the perfect Instagram shot.

To take advantage of this, more businesses are utilising decorative lighting, such as fairy lights and chandeliers, to encourage people to take Instagram photos and generate free publicity. Earlier this year, research found that 62.1% of people use Instagram to find things they want in real life.

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.”

Glamour recently declared several restaurants and bars as ‘the most Instagrammable places in the UK’. Among the eateries and bars mentioned, many displayed neon signs with playful phrases—such as ‘well-behaved women don’t make history’ and ‘I licked it so it’s mine’.

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.

“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.”

Neon lends itself perfectly to photo opportunities by adding extra light, which can highlight certain aspects of the space. It 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).”

A similar type of lighting available is faux neon, which uses plastic tubing instead of glass and LEDs instead of neon. These lights are easy to design, build at speed and are often more appropriate for the bespoke market.

“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.

As well as decorative lighting, bars, restaurants and cafes should have decent natural lighting so customers can take high-quality, Instagram-worthy photos.

With more and more establishments emerging with striking interiors, the ones that don’t stand out run the risk of falling short and losing out to companies that can offer quality products or services, and the ‘Instagrammable’ experience.