— November 14, 2018
Succeeding on Instagram as a local business is not as simple as counting the number of followers that you have or measured by the number of likes that you get per post. It’s all about engagement and providing value to your audience which will, in turn, lead to increased engagement and conversions.
The challenge that many small businesses face is producing content that is worthy of their followers’ engagement, and them translating this engagement into conversions. In this guide, we will cover 9 tips that you can use to promote your business on Instagram to gain more local customers.
Like any other social media platform, Instagram is a community. Just as your business is a valuable part of your local business environment, and you have worked hard to establish a reputation within your community, you’ll need to put in the effort to develop your brand image on social media.
Merely posting images or videos – even amazing ones – on Instagram is not enough to make people eager to follow your business, engage with your content, or make a purchase from your company. To do this, you’ll need to provide value to your audience and begin developing a positive reputation for your brand.
One way to do this is to start following and interacting with influencers in your niche – even your main competitors. This allows you to begin participating in the broader community discussion, providing value while demonstrating your expertise. In turn, their followers will see the value you provide and begin following you.
In short, you must give engagement to receive engagement on social media.
Maintain a Consistent Brand Identity
When you join Instagram, as a business, your social profile basically becomes an extension of your business.
Because the majority of your customers will follow you on more than one social platform, it’s important that you maintain a consistent brand personality across all of your social media channels, otherwise, you’ll risk confusing your audience. The same rule applies to the way you interact with your customers on Instagram, the captions you use on your posts, and the general vibe your account purveys.
Another important point is that your social presence must match the tone and atmosphere of your physical “brick and mortar” store. This social vibe needs to align with the actual experience of visiting your store.
Avoid ‘Blanket Posting’
While you want the tone and persona behind the content to remain consistent across all social platforms, you can damage your social growth by posting content that is too similar. You need to find the balance between having consistent, unique content and making sure that these posts aren’t exactly the same across all your social profiles.
‘Blanket posting’ is when you post the exact same content and caption across all of your social profiles – whether Instagram, Facebook, Twitter – without changing up the appearance or providing some form of variety. This is because the customers that follow you on multiple social platforms will see the exact same post multiple times, and this can cause them to be less engaging and even bored with following you.
It’s important to remember that every social media platform is different and that you should create variable social strategies to utilize the unique advantages of each one. However, there are a few times when blanket posting is acceptable. These include special dates, holidays, or promos that require consistency. Nevertheless, as a general rule, you should seek to create and promote unique, engaging content for each platform, specifically.
Showcase Your Local Lifestyle
Because Instagram is such a visual platform, it’s the ideal place to display your business in a local setting. This means creating content featuring your office space, your team members’ supporting a local sporting event, or even having lunch or coffee at a local bistro. It showcases your organizational lifestyle and incorporates local landmarks.
By integrating “behind the scenes” photos of your business or employees in action, you allow your customers to become familiar with you and your business in a local setting. This will make it easier for those customers to get to know you and even visit your business.
Localize Your Hashtags
When you think of it, there are actually quite a few similarities between hashtags and SEO keywords. If you want to optimize your target keywords on Instagram to gain more local followers, then you need to focus on local hashtags.
When you use location-based and local hashtags, it will allow people from your community to find posts from your business through area-specific hashtags.
For example, if you run a pizza shop in New York City, you’ll want to use hashtags that let people know what your business does, but also let them know where you’re located. Instead of using a generic hashtag like #Pizza you might want to use hashtags like #NewYorkPizza or #NewYorkPizzaPlace. There are many hashtag variations that you can use to ensure that your business gets noticed, but just make sure that the hashtags you use are relevant to your business. If the hashtags aren’t relevant, then the people finding your business through generic hashtags will have little interest in what you’re trying to sell.
Post Professional, Creative Content
While this may seem more than obvious, there are still many businesses that regularly post low-quality, blurry content. If you want to gain an edge over your competitors on social media, this is one area that you should definitely focus on. In fact, content quality is so important that Instagram has actually factored this into their platform algorithm, as a ranking factor for the ‘explore page’. Because Instagram is a visual platform, you’ll need to create the best visual content possible to get ahead.
Geotag Your Posts
Geotagging is another strategy that may seem obvious, yet it is often overlooked by many local businesses.
If you want people to find your Instagram posts, in a local setting, you need to tell them and Instagram where you’re located through a Geotag. When your posts have a geotag on them, it allows other users to click on that location, opening up a map of your location to help them find you. This is another important method for becoming an active participant and public figure in your local community.
Track & Measure Your Efforts Constantly
Because the attitudes and behaviors of consumers change, you’ll have to change the way that you use your social media. You should always pay close attention to the posts that gained the most engagement and performed the best on Instagram, and then try to figure out why you gained more likes, shares, and comments than other posts.
If you can, you should ask your social followers what aspects of your social media account they like the most and what aspects they would change – Their insights could be invaluable to building a larger, more engaged audience.
Creating a vibrant social culture is becoming increasingly crucial for local businesses looking to compete in a competitive digital age. Instagram is just one social platform that can be used as a channel for potential sales and should be utilized by every small business as a powerful marketing tool. By implementing some of the tips we’ve covered, you’ll be able to start creating an engaged brand community, which will eventually translate into increased business leads.