Locations on Instagram give you a window into your community, without even having to leave your desk. Want to check out the festival downtown? Scan the veggie selection at the farmers market? Explore a new restaurant? Instagram is telling you everything you need to know about what’s going on right outside your door. Even if you’re not a brick and mortar business, geotags and location hashtags are an #InstaSmart way to instantly find new leads, build relationships and connect with the right people in your community. If the promise of offline community relationships isn’t an incentive enough, 75 percent of Instagram users are inspired to take action after seeing a post, so time spent on Instagram is valuable to your business.
But really, if you’re not leveraging your location in your Instagram strategy you are missing a big opportunity for growth. Before you even dive into my tips, let me review something basic. When you have a business profile (learn how to turn that on here), you have the opportunity to add your business address in your bio. This allows customers to find you easier and it hyperlinks to a map, making it easy for users to get directions – and if you don’t, go do it right now!
Here are four ways you can use your location to grow on Instagram.
#1 Geotag your location
I know, it seems simple. But you would be surprised how many business owners forget to geotag their location in their post when they share. Including a geotag not only ensures that you show up in the Instagram map, make sure to check it out if you haven’t seen it, but also puts you in the geotag hub.
Geotagging your location puts you on the map, literally! Visitors and locals alike who are checking out your town are more likely to see you, and if they’re nearby, pop into your store. But geotagging your location shouldn’t be limited to your storefront. If you’re at a local festival, hosting a meet-up, or any other type of event is a great reason to use a geotag.
If you are a brick and mortar business or a restaurant, you should make sure to share your location every time you post. Posting consistently from the same location gives you more chances to show up in that specific location hub and grab the attention of potential customers. @BostonFoodies does this all the time on their account. Even if they visit the same restaurant, they still share tag the photo with the geotag. This keeps their content fresh and relevant to all of the foodies in Boston and beyond. With one tap, anyone can know where they can find the best food Boston has to offer – without even having to leave Instagram!
#2 Use location hashtags
If you’ve read any of my other blog posts you know that I cannot stress enough the importance of hashtags (check this out if you need a refresher). Hashtags not only allow your business to stand out from your competitors, but they also make it easier for people to find you. There’s a good chance that your ideal client is nearby, so you want to make sure that they see you in the location hashtag.
Since I’m in Boston I often use #BeanTown or #Boston, but you’d be surprised at the location-specific hashtags that pop up. For example, Vancouver locals often use #Vancity. Before you start throwing out random hashtags, take time to research the location hashtags that will actually work for your business. Using a combination of more general location hashtags (like #Boston) with more neighborhood-specific hashtags (like #BeaconHill) will help you to expand your reach.
To do some research and get recommendations from Instagram, head over to the explore tab, second from the left. Search a hashtag. Once you click to select the tag, before the ‘top posts’ section, you’ll see “Related” hashtags, just like below.
But you don’t have to limit your location hashtags to your street or even your city. Industries that offer services in a variety of locations, such as real estate agents or wedding photographers, should also use hashtags from the surrounding areas, including hashtags that have geographical or historical significance. Frances Shultz (@francesschultz), a writer and travel enthusiast, uses hashtags that are very specific to wherever she travels. When she visited The Mount, a famous estate in the Berkshires, she included location-specific and historically significant hashtags. Whichever hashtags you use, do some initial research to determine which hashtags are most relevant to your specific content.
#3 Engage on posts tagged with your location
Sharing your hometown pride shouldn’t be a one-way street. If you want strong engagement on your Instagram account you need to take time to reach out to other businesses and influencers. Being active with comments and likes not only shows your potential customers that you are genuine, but it’s a great way to open up the possibility for partnerships and offline business opportunities. When I’m out and about I often use #BostonCommon.
Guess what? Using this hashtag helped me to connect with a complete stranger who just moved to Boston. Yes, really!
Aside from meeting amazing people, Instagram posts tagged with locations are a great tool for market research. What are the other businesses nearby that are similar to you? Jot down a short list, and then look at which posts seem to be getting the most engagement. For example, Talia (@partyinmyplants) uses industry-relevant and location-specific hashtags that reflect her focus on yummy, plant-based recipes. If you were a health-focused business, this is the type of content you’d want to examine to determine how you can adapt your content strategy.
Whatever you do, remember that spamming people is never an option. Random comments and nonsensical likes won’t do anything to help your business grow – they’re annoying and will lead to people unfollowing you. Always engage with genuine intention and you’ll find people who actually want to support your business.
#4 Share your location in Stories
From exploring your hometown to wandering somewhere exotic, Instagram Stories allow you to share your experience in real time. But now your Stories can reach an even wider audience by including a location tag. The inclusion of a location tag in your Stories allows you to show up in the location hub, on the map within Instagram, so you can get more eyeballs on your content.
But how does it work? Here’s what you need to do:
– Tap on the sticker option in your Story
– Select “location,” it should be one of the first options at the top
– Scroll until you find the location that’s most relevant to you
– Select and share
#NinjaTip: If you don’t want to compromise the quality of your photo, make your location tag tiny. Just pinch and squeeze to make it virtually disappear. Your location tag magically “goes away” but you will still show up in the location hub.
Hashtags are an #InstaAmazing strategy … If you do it right
Geotags, location hashtags, Instagram is full of tips and tricks that can help you connect with your ideal clients. As long as you share with intention and consistency, you will find the followers who genuinely want to support your business, no matter where you are. If you’re still struggling with an Instagram a headache, be sure to download my free strategy guide.