From its early days as a novelty photo-sharing app, Instagram has become a legitimate social media marketing powerhouse for both large and small or local businesses alike, regardless of product or service.
It’s perfect for connecting with your audience in a visual way and for rounding out your social media marketing. Also, since the network has a high level of engagement you can reach your local audience quickly.
Some of the world’s major brands, such as Amazon, Taco Bell, and Coca-Cola, all use Instagram marketing to build buzz around their brand and strengthen relationships with their consumers. Local businesses have the same opportunity to build buzz and strengthen relationships with the local consumer base, just like the larger companies do.
Quick Tip: If you are using a personal profile for your business on Instagram, convert it to a business profile so you can measure how well your posts and campaigns are working. You’ll get more insights, and learn more about your audience so you can attract the local customer base you want and target them more effectively.
Below are a few tips to help you connect with your local audience and best of all, each of them is free and easy to do!
Include Your Location in Your Bio
Your Instagram bio needs to make it clear where your business is located. Instagram doesn’t give you a whole lot of room, but you definitely include your city/town and a line or two about what your business does.
Post Local Images
As a local business, you’re probably tailoring your Instagram profile to a finite audience that’s located within your immediate geographical area. One of the best ways to capture the attention of your local customers is to include images of the local scenery.
For example, a local business in the Seattle area might post images of the Space Needle or other points of local interest. Although this won’t necessarily resonate with Instagram users outside the area, it definitely would resonate with the locals—people you’re trying to reach in the first place.
You don’t need to hire a production crew and a big name director for this one. You can easily use videos to highlight your business.
Research shows that “Instagram videos are seeing significantly higher (over 2x) more engagement than Instagram photos.”
Take advantage of this for your local business by including videos among your images (you only need a minute or less of video per clip). A good idea would be to highlight your local flavor by posting clips of your brand around your local area.
Quick Tip: Use your smartphone that you already own to capture video clips for your Instagram profile
4. Use Hashtags
Hashtags are one of the easiest (and one of my favorite) ways to ensure that your images get found and seen by the right people on Instagram.
Quick Tip: Whenever appropriate, include a hashtag that shows your locale.
This could be your actual city or specific locations within your city. In the case of Seattle, you might use #spaceneedle or #alkibeach. And because posts with 11 or more hashtags receive nearly 80% interaction, compared to posts that contain only 2 hashtags (41% interaction), the more the merrier.
5. Capitalize on Trending Hashtags
Social media is big on trends and there is always something trending on Instagram.
If you see something on Instagram that t ties in with your local area and is relevant to your business, go ahead and post an image that includes the related trending hashtag. For example, if you are a restaurant in the New York area and you see a trending hashtag of #goodeatsinny, then post an item from your restaurant menu with that hashtag.
Sometimes, this can boost your visibility and net you hundreds or even thousands of followers overnight!
6. Ask Questions
People love to engage, and asking questions is the fastest way to get them to engage with your local business. Have a new item on the restaurant menu? Post an image and ask your local audience what they think. Own a hair salon? Post a side by side image of an updo and blowout and ask your followers which they prefer. It’s a great way to get engagement for your local business.
7. Share Photos of Your Loyal Customers
Most local businesses have certain loyal customers who’ve been with them for years. Show them your gratitude and earn local goodwill, by posting a picture of them on Instagram (with their permission).
This is an excellent way to strengthen your bond with your customers even more (and earn some new ones), and it can help you become legen-wait for it-dary in your community.