Grow Your Local Business With Instagram

Instagram is an extremely popular social media platform, and with its main focus being visual media, it is perfect for showcasing your product or service.  Instagram allows a user to post multiple images and videos, live video, stories, and more.

Here are some ways to use Instagram to grow your business:

Have a proper focus.

If your goal is to build a viral Instagram account, you will have to use different methods than if you are trying to create a useful business Instagram account that will attract local customers.

If you are a local business trying to attract local customers you shouldn’t be concerned as much with trying to get thousands of worldwide followers.  It is much more important to attract quality local followers than a large quantity of global followers.  100 active followers from your service area will benefit your business MUCH more than 1,000 followers from a foreign country.

Yes, having tons of followers feels and looks great, but if it’s not helping grow your business, why focus on it?

Set up a business account.

A business account will allow you to see key statistics to help you determine which posts are most effective.  You will be able to see details on which types of images and videos get the most attention.  You are also able to add clickable business contact information such as phone, address, and email in your Bio, in order to allow customers to contact you easier.

Grow your account organically.

While there are many schemes that allow you to buy followers, pay for likes and comments, and have a bot follow/unfollow accounts, this is not necessary for a local business.  It may help in trying to get a massive viral account, but the quality of the followers you will gain won’t do much for local sales.  The best way to grow an effective Instagram account for a local business is to have yourself (or an employee) follow and interact with other local businesses and personal accounts.  Local personal and business accounts are your potential customer base, and also a great source for free advertising.  Interact with accounts in your service area through liking posts and providing genuine comments (not generic comments like “Nice post” or “great video”).  DM’s (direct messages) are also a great way to meet and interact with other businesses and individuals.  Don’t spam other accounts with “Check out our services” or “We’re the best … in town”.  Instead, provide thoughtful comments that are relevant to the post you are commenting on.

Post real images and videos from your business.

Try to avoid generic stock photos and instead post quality images and video of the services/products you provide.  Show customers what YOUR business is all about.  Effective photos and videos can include before/after images, images and bios of your employees, how-to videos, and interviews with happy customers.  Don’t be afraid to include humor.  Again, quality is more important than quantity.  Use images and video with good lighting and focus, and that do a good job representing the quality you are trying to portray.  Also, take the time to include an engaging caption for your post.  Ask a question, use emojis, make a bold statement, or include an interesting description.  Use text with emotion or that elicits a response.

Include a variety of relevant hashtags.

Instagram allows users to search and even follow hashtags.  These hashtags can be helpful in directing potential customers to your account. Use hashtags that relate directly to your image/video, but also include hashtags specific to your service area.

Research the popular hashtags from your city/town/region (ex. #smithville and #smithvillenj).  As there are numerous towns across the country with the same name, the state’s name or initials may possibly be at the end of the hashtag. Use some broad hashtags that represent your business services.  For example, if you run an HVAC business, you may will want to use hashtags such as #hvac, #heating, #cooling, #airconditioning, etc..  Try to stick with hashtags that are somewhat relevant to your post.  An image of a air conditioning unit can work well with #homeimprovement or #comfort, #cool.  Using generic, irrelevant hashtags (although they may be popular) may get some extra views, but will not necessarily bring you the local, useful views and follows.  Use a mix of up to 15 hashtags in either the bottom of the post or in the comments section.

If the post relates to a local business or personal account, don’t forget to tag that business or person in the post.

In Conclusion

Instagram can be an incredible marketing tool for local businesses to promote their services…and it’s free!  Invest a little time in producing quality posts and interacting with other local accounts and your business will attract the potential customers you are looking for.

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