How to Use Instagram for Local Business Marketing - for Free!

 

Instagram and Local Marketing: How to Use Social Media for Business - for FREE!

 

Hi there, Ms Fancy! Welcome- if you have questions about social media marketing, we’re here to answer them- feel free to send us your questions via our Contact Page and we’ll answer them via email and in a post!

This is the first in a series on Social Media Marketing for small businesses and bloggers- from Smart Social Kits- we are starting with "How to use Instagram to Get More Business"

When it comes to your marketing your business, social media is a fantastic tool at your disposal. Thanks to the abundance of profiles across a variety of platforms, it’s never been easier to reach out and engage with your customers.

 

Although sites like Facebook and Twitter get the most attention, Instagram is another high-profile platform that can work wonders for your local business. However, because it doesn’t offer the same kind of versatility and functionality as sites like Facebook, it’s imperative that you understand as much as possible so that you can maximize your potential.

 

So, with that in mind, we want to take a look at how to utilize Instagram for local marketing and how this platform can transform your marketing outreach and drive customers into your storefront.

How Popular is Instagram?

Before we get into the details of how to make this program work for you, we want to look at the potential that you can have when you sign up. Currently, Instagram boasts a subscribership of over 800 million users, with 500 million people actively using the platform on a daily basis. That’s a lot of eyeballs that can potentially see the best sides of your business.

 Mobile Ready

Most social media sites are designed for the mobile user, but Instagram is almost worthless if you try to use it on a standard laptop or desktop computer. Everything from scrolling to capturing images is so much easier on a smartphone, which means that Instagram is always at your fingertips. Because active mobile users are the most proficient with this technology, you can easily capture their attention with an app like Instagram.

More Popular Than Twitter

Instagram has been steadily gaining followers over the past few years while Twitter has been in decline. In the battle for social media attention, it seems that Instagram is commanding more and more of it, which can help you get an edge for your business.

Hashtag Marketing

Twitter is still the king of trending hashtags, but Instagram isn’t far behind. Even Facebook is not as successful when it comes to employing and utilizing hashtags, which is why they can be so important for Instagram. When promoting your business, that little # symbol can be a powerful tool.  Your target audience can find local shops and services using #geotags - for example #yaletown and #beverlyhills and #SeattlePikePlace, places that have amazing finds for shoppers, adventurers, foodies, anyone looking for a good time!

Perfect for Video and Images

When Instagram started pushing “stories” as an alternative to apps like Snapchat, it caught on immediately. Although there are a few reasons that this happened, one of them was that people like to be able to do multiple things from one app, rather than switching back and forth between various platforms. In its first year, Instagram has already upset Snapchat and has become much more prominent with video options.

Considering that 64% of consumers are more likely to buy a product after watching a video about it, this is a huge potential for your brand. More than anything else, videos are going to engage your audience and keep them interested, which is another reason why Instagram is so vital.

A reminder: you can get your free two weeks of graphics and social media marketing instruction by requesting a Sample Kit from our website SmartSocialKits.com/Kits

How to Use Instagram for Local Marketing

By now, you should understand the massive potential that this social media platform can have on your business. Thus, let’s look at the various ways to utilize Instagram to its full effect.

Post Your Location

Both geotagging and contact information is available through Instagram, and this is going to be an essential part of your local marketing. If you want people to find your storefront, you need to post an address. With geotagging, you can also link that address to user’s map program (i.e., Google maps) so that they can find you even faster and get directions to your store.

If you have multiple storefronts, then you want to make an Instagram account for each one so that people can quickly differentiate between them.

Develop a Brand Image

Taking pictures of your products is not going to entice users to click on your Instagram images and drive traffic to your business. Even though it’s much easier to upload and share photos this way, you have to be strategic about it.

Instead, think of each image as a standalone advertisement. You are selling your brand and your company’s culture with these pictures, so they can’t be generic or poorly shot. Take the time to craft images that will stand out from the sea of gorgeous photos that crowd your customer’s feed.

As the old saying goes: “don’t sell the steak, sell the sizzle.” In that regard, don’t take static pictures of your products or your storefront without any kind of context. Make sure that you show other customers using your items and enjoying them. This will create a bond between potential customers and what you have to offer.

Encourage Tagging

Even though many small businesses are on Instagram these days, you can’t assume that your customers are going to take the time to find you. Thus, you want to highlight your profile in the store and incentivize customers to start tagging your business in their photos. Offer rewards and bonuses for such engagement, and you will begin to see your followers increase.

The more that people engage with your brand and tag you in Instagram, the better your profile and reputation become. That being said, it can take time to develop a strong following, so don’t get distraught if it’s taking longer than you anticipated.

Post Videos and Stories

As we mentioned, video marketing is by far the most popular way to get people interested in your products. These videos can be instructional (i.e., showing how to use the item correctly), or they can be just for fun. If you make certain things in-house (especially food), show videos of your work in action. People love getting a glimpse behind the scenes and watching how their favorite products are made.

Best of all, these videos don’t have to be professional-quality. Instagram users expect a certain amount of “raw” footage with stories and other videos, so don’t worry that it’s not as polished as you might like.

Use Your Bio Effectively

You only have so much room to spare in this section, so don’t waste any space or words. Most small businesses just put their website here, but that’s thinking small. If you’re working on a particular promotion or marketing strategy, then put links in your bio that can help drive traffic. For example, rather than linking to your site’s homepage, send users to a specialized landing page that will drive conversions and highlight your current campaign.

Also, be sure to highlight these changes as you update them. If things remain the same for too long, then users will scroll past without paying much attention.

Don’t Skimp on Hashtags

We’ve all seen posts that have a bajillion hashtags underneath the image, which seems like annoying overkill. However, it turns out that there’s a legitimate reason for this. Overall, the more hashtags you use in your posts, the more engagement you get from users. OPtimal according to research are between 11 and-the max which is 30.

When you think about it, this makes sense. Because people are searching for different things based on hashtags, you are expanding your horizons by utilizing multiple tags that lead back to your images and your profile.

To get the broadest reach possible, don’t make your hashtags too similar. Instead, try to get creative with them so that you can get a more diverse cross-section of customers to your page.

Make Your Business Instagrammable

We mentioned that you want to highlight tagging for your in-store customers, but that’s just part of the equation. If you really want to increase engagement, then you want to offer something unique that people will just have to ‘gram to show to their friends.

If you’re a restaurant, then a signature dish that is poised for a photo opportunity will encourage your customers to share it. If you’re a retail store, then offer a display that people will want to take selfies with and make their friends jealous.

When it comes to getting noticed on Instagram, creating this kind of unique enthusiasm can go a long way.

Analyze Your Results

In the end, you can’t make adjustments to your marketing campaign if you don’t know what's working and what isn’t. For example, some posts may get hundreds or thousands of likes, while other, similar photos get substantially less.

Thus, it’s imperative that you use analysis tools to see how your profile is impacting your audience. Pay attention to things like:

●     Engagement throughout the day (which hours are the most active?)

●     How many hashtags you have, and how effective they are in driving traffic

●     How many views your stories and videos get

●     The location of your most active audience

●     The content of your most popular images and videos

 

Analyzing all of this data will help you adjust your marketing techniques so that you can make more of an impact with each subsequent campaign. More than anything else, analytics is what’s going to take your small business to the next level.

Bottom Line

As Instagram continues to soar in popularity, your users will want to engage with you online more frequently. Thus, make sure that you are prioritizing your marketing strategy to make the most of your Instagram profile. If all goes well, then you can make your storefront IG famous.

A reminder: you can get your free two weeks of graphics and social media marketing instruction by requesting a Sample Kit from our webiste SmartSocialKits.com/Kits