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September 11, 2019

How to Optimize Your Instagram Account for Local Search

In 2019, 86% of people read online reviews for local businesses before making a purchase decision. 

Believe it or not, people use social media to share their shopping experience with other customers. Since 60% of Instagram users discover new products on the platform, this network plays an important role in consumer behavior as users pay close attention to brand reputation before buying your product. All in all, Instagram has become a powerful marketing tool to promote your brand even if you run a local business.

Having a successful marketing plan for your local business is important, and with over one billion active users on the platform, an Instagram marketing strategy should be a part of it. If you’re looking for actionable Instagram tips for small businesses that can help to promote your local business, there are six ways to optimize your Instagram account for local search:

1. Include a Target Keyword in Your Bio

Wouldn’t it be great if you could generate Instagram followers like crazy?

If you want to get visitors who want to follow you on Instagram, it’s important to make sure your profile attracts the right users who are interested in your product or services. Thus, you need to do research and find target keywords your potential customers use when searching for your products and match your Instagram account with users’ intent.

For example, Starbucks has separate Instagram Business accounts for each country. With the Instagram graph API, it’s easier for local audiences to find the restaurant when searching for a particular location. Just take a look at Starbucks Philippines:

It’s a great example of optimizing the Instagram account for a target keyword as the username, name, bio, and branded hashtag show that this account is dedicated to Starbucks Philippines. 

2. Add an Address to Your Business Profile

If you run a local business and you want to promote it on Instagram, you need to attract the right people who live or work within your area so that they can become your customers. Thus, it’s important to let them know your location, and the best way is to add your address in the Instagram bio. 

When you add an address, it appears below your bio, so visitors don’t have to spend much time to understand where your business is located. Here’s what it looks like:

Once you add an address, it’s converted into “Directions” so that users can tap on it and see your business on a map. All in all, it helps visitors decide whether they will be able to visit your location and how to find your store. 

3. Use Geotags and Hashtag Locations

The best thing about Instagram is the ability to connect with people around the globe. However, running a local business, it’s important to target your local audience who can become your customers, so it’s important to get more specific with who you target. With geotags and hashtag locations, it’s no longer a problem.

Obviously, using geotags helps to find people who are interested in your area, but there is another way to target your local audience with hashtags. It goes without saying that brands use hashtags for better engagement, but it’s also a good idea to customize hashtags for a specific location to reach nearby customers.

With 70 international locations, Shake Shack has to create custom locations and branded hashtags for each restaurant. Here’s how Shake Shack promotes its location in Mexico with the separate Instagram account, custom geotag, and unique branded hashtag:

For any local business, using geotags and hashtags is a must. With the help of these features, you can make sure your content is seen by the local community which means you can attract potential customers with ease.

4. Add Instagram Stories Location Stickers

Over the last three years, Instagram Stories have gained in popularity a lot. With over 500 million users who create or watch Stories daily, short-lived content has become an important element of a successful Instagram marketing strategy. Since Instagram Stories have a short lifespan of 24 hours, people are afraid of missing out something important, so they spend much time watching ephemeral content on Instagram.

For businesses, this means a great opportunity to engage their followings. And if you run a local business, you can make the most out of Instagram Stories features to attract your local audience. 

Using Instagram Stories geotags and location hashtags is a great way to inform your followers about your business location and increase reach as non-followers can discover your stories through the explore page. Here’s how these Stories may look like:

If you want to make the most out of Instagram Stories stickers, do your homework and learn how to make them invisible: Experiment how to place your text behind images to hide hashtags and geotags.

5. Collaborate with Local Influencers

Do you remember that customers read peers’ reviews before visiting your local business?

This means you need to make sure they get positive feedback about your company. It’s not just about using local listening tools to monitor brand mentions; it’s also about encouraging your customers to share their experiences with others. The best way to do it? Establish a connection with your target audience through collaboration with local influencers.

Since opinion leaders have a great impact on their communities, it’s a great idea to invite them to visit your local store and share their thoughts about your product. With an engaged following, it’s more likely these posts can acquire customer reviews.

Let’s take Patent Coffee, for example. In collaboration with lifestyle blogger Quel, the company entered an already-established community and spread the word about its products:

Influencer marketing generates great results because people trust the opinion leaders they follow. When you work with local influencers, chances are that their community includes people who live or work within the same area. Thus, it’s a proven way to tell your potential customers about your business, increase brand loyalty, and acquire new visitors. Plus, with the right project management, it’s easy to collect customer feedback and improve your products.

6. Switch to Instagram Local Business Profile

Have you heard about the announcement of Instagram local business profiles?

Today, there are over 25 million business profiles on the platform which means more and more companies use Instagram to promote their products and services. Since the number of local businesses on Instagram is growing, the company has decided to test a new profile type that can bring more value to local businesses. 

With Instagram local business profiles, companies will be able to write more about their business:

  • Address
  • Business category or type
  • Opening hours
  • Price range
  • Website
  • Phone number

Although this feature hasn’t been rolled out yet, some companies like Aroqa NY see an update and make the most out of it:

As you can see, this profile type has many advantages for companies who want to attract local audiences, so it’s a great idea to keep an eye on Instagram announcements and switch to a local business profile once it’s possible, and thus stay one step ahead of your competitors.

In Short

Instagram marketing is not just about selling ecommerce products in-app. Over the last few years, it has become a powerful marketing tool that helps to target your local audience. However, it’s important to make sure your Instagram account is optimized for local search. When done right, Instagram can help to increase brand awareness, build brand loyalty and trust, and get more local customers.


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With over 6 years of digital marketing experience, Hugh Beaulac is a content strategist behind MC2 Bid4Papers website who works freelance as an SMM manager to help small businesses grow on social media. Being fond of digital marketing, Hugh keeps an eye on trends to make the most out of using them. Follow him on Twitter to read more.

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