5 Tips for Local Businesses to Harness the Power of Instagram

No doubt you already know the value of using Instagram to promote your business. But if your business is confined by geography to just your own locality, only focusing on building up your followers or fans might boost your ego but it won’t necessarily get feet through the door.

There are clever ways to use the sledgehammer of social media platforms to crack the nut of attracting local customers. Just by remembering a few simple rules you can create content that’s easily discoverable by potential punters in your area. Consistency and frequency are the keys for this plan to work and to build up a local following; don’t expect to get results if you only post irregularly or with non-location specific content.

Tip #1: Run your Instagram account as a business

If you haven’t already done so, register your Instagram account as a business account using the Settings option. This will give you vital insights into your reach and engagement. Make sure your website URL is included in your Profile (making it easier for followers to locate and contact you). Use Instagram’s Settings to also connect Instagram with your other social media accounts.

Tip #2: Use geo-tagging

Always use a location tag with every Instagram post. As you’re loading content, Instagram gives you the option to select your location. Use it! Then you’re in the mix when other users are searching for local businesses or stories.

Tip #3: Use location-specific hashtags

Hashtags aren’t just for Twitter or Facebook. They’re just as effective on Instagram for joining in with trending conversations. Always add a hashtag to your Instagram posts but don’t just make up a random one: check what’s trending locally first then jump on it!

Tip #4: Join in local conversations

Spend time searching Instagram for your own community-specific content. Follow your competitors, neighbours, clubs, teams, partners, customers, your competitor’s followers (I’m not kidding). This gets you noticed and gets you additional followers in return. Like, comment, send a direct message, ask a question, “Regram” (either via a program like Hootsuite or a screenshot) which is just like retweeting a Tweet or sharing a Facebook post. Get stuck in there and let people know you’re up front and center where local matters are concerned and where you are.

Tip #5: Hook up with local influencers and celebs

Search for local people who already have a big Instagram following. Then if they fit with your brand positioning and are the sort of client you’d love to have – shamelessly hook up with them! Follow, like, comment, question – all the things you’re already doing to get your name out there. On a slightly more serious note this tactic also works when collaborating with influencers or partner businesses. Contact them directly to set up location-based competitions, giveaways and promotions that you can jointly support with Instagram content.

Your next step to local marketing success

Social media platforms aren’t just for the big boys and big brands. Think about them as a cheap and easy way to market to your local community and you won’t ever regret the time spent doing so.