When you think of using social media to benefit local businesses, it’s usually around using Facebook, LinkedIn or even Twitter. Most people consider Instagram as a site used by individuals (millennials?) to simply share photos and videos with one another. But local businesses may be missing out on appealing to their local clientele if they ignore the valuable parts of Instagram that make it unique.
As of September 2017, there were 800 million Instagram users worldwide! That’s up from only 90 million in early 2013. Add to that fact that compared to most other social media outlets, Instagram is relatively easy to maintain. It’s a great way to get your brand in front of potential customers. And the latest stats show that 71% of businesses are on Instagram, up from 48.8% in 2014!
There are a number of ways that using Instagram can benefit your local business, but we’ve narrowed it down here to the top 5.
A Geotag is an electronic tag that assigns a geographical location to a photograph or video, a posting on a social media website, etc. As a local business, you want people in and around your service area to be able to find you, so geotagging is a must.
Research shows that Instagram posts with location have 79% more engagement than those without. Users can check the “places” tab via Instagram’s search feature + locate businesses within a close proximity. Having all of your content filed under your physical address is an awesome way for potential new patrons to find your brick and mortar location.
Geotags are especially important for local businesses operating solely from their office, like dentists or doctors. People new to the area, or those searching for medical providers in their insurance network, prefer those within their neighborhood, if at all possible.
Hashtags can help you target a specific audience, so you should create a list of popular hashtags as well as the keywords that are specific to your industry, and of course your location. City and state are great to start with, but you should also try to add local tags specific to your industry in your area.
Location-specific hashtags can help increase followers more than any other tactic. Consumers usually prefer to support local businesses, so these types of hashtags can catch their attention when others can’t. If your business is sponsoring or hosting a local event, these will pop up on their radar immediately.
Instagram users love looking at photos that are captivating and creative. If you’re a local retail business, showcasing your products in the form of brilliant and colorful images will drive customers to your website or physical store.
Photos are also great for restaurants on Instagram. Posting tantalizing images of menu items can attract people to your eatery to order the item they saw in your post.
And local service industries can also benefit from Instagram. For example, a local handyman can post before-and-after photos of repairs and renovations he’s completed. This showcases the types and quality of work he’s performed. Posting how-to videos can also be a way of showcasing knowledge and generating trust.
Instagram is comprised of photos and videos. Using videos to complement the photos can be even more impressive and showcase the story you want to portray to the viewer. Tapping the middle icon in the row at the bottom of your Instagram app will open up your photo and video capabilities. Once it’s open, tap on the Video tab and click the red button to start recording.
Granted, the videos you create will be brief—maximum length of around 60 seconds—but it can still go a long way in grabbing interest. In fact, sometimes the shorter videos are more attractive, since interest wanes as video length grows.
Because consumers are becoming increasingly visually-driven, Instagram presents a great opportunity for the real estate business. Realtors can bring their cameras or use their cell phones to take photos and videos of properties on the market. They can share listings, photos of open houses, as well as local restaurants, shopping and other places of interest in the vicinity of the properties.
You can boost your following and responses quickly by including an urgent call to action or offer in your Instagram post. For example, a graphic containing a daily or weekly special, coupon for money off, or other message to get their immediate reaction could help generate followers and customers.
Make sure your CTA specifies that the deal is only for Instagram users. You may also mention that more deals are forthcoming and to check back often. This will keep them following your Instagram account.
There are other ways that Instagram can benefit your local business. For example, boosting your Instagram posts or jumpstarting interest with ads can help you get followers and generate business, especially at the beginning of the process.
Kalamazoo SEO for Growth can provide expert advice and assistance in making your Instagram account work for you. Contact us today to learn how we can improve your online presence!