Instagram is for small, local businesses, too. Instagram has 1 billion monthly active users and many of those users are right around the corner from you. Promoting your local business on Instagram can introduce your company to a whole new audience and get more foot traffic through your doors than ever before — if you do it right.
Here’s how to use Instagram to promote your local business.
Leverage word-of-mouth marketing with Instagram.
Traditional local businesses rely a lot on word of mouth. For instance, say your local business sells hand-crafted patio furniture. When a customer buys your product and puts it on their patio, their friends, family and neighbors come over to visit and say, “Hey, that’s so nice! Where did you get it?” Then your customer mentions your business, leading those new customers right to your front door.
Word of mouth on Instagram works basically the same way. A customer buys your product or service. Then, they post a picture of it on Instagram, tagging your business in the photo. All of their friends and followers see the post and go to check out your business. This opens you up to a whole new audience, not just locals in your area.
These images are also known as user-generated content. User-generated content acts as social proof for your local business. In fact, according to Statista, 31% of U.S. consumers sometimes seek out user-generated content prior to purchasing. To generate more user-generated content for your local business, just ask for it. Your happy customers will be glad to create user-generated content for you. Just don’t forget to give those customers a little love by sharing their posts on your own account.
Participate with the community.
As a small business, it’s important to be a part of your community by attending and contributing to local events and functions. So, if you want to promote your local business on Instagram, participate with the online Instagram community as well. Building an online community for your local business will help your audience feel like they’re a part of something. But you can’t just follow the old adage of “if you build it, they will come.” You need to build it and participate in it in order to form strong relationships with consumers.
When you post on Instagram, start a conversation with your audience. For instance, if you own an ice cream shop, ask your followers to leave a comment with their favorite flavor. Remember, though, don’t just ask them — interact with them by liking and replying to comments. The more you engage, the more your audience will engage.
Aside from your customers and audience, interact with other local businesses as well, even your direct competition. Joining in on the conversations other local businesses are having on Instagram will introduce your business to their customers.
Put a face to the business.
People don’t tend to trust businesses. After all, many of them are just trying to sell you something. But people are more likely to trust other people, especially people with whom they have a connection. As reported by Psychology Today, we may even base our decisions about whom to trust on attractiveness, how much a person resembles our kin members and facial features.
So, if your Instagram feed is nothing but images of products, how do you expect people to connect with you? You don’t have to have the perfect face to gain the trust of your audience. All you have to do is put a face to the brand — and it wouldn’t hurt to smile, either.
Include photos of yourself on your Instagram account as well as photos of your employees. Showcasing the people behind the company will promote trust and attract more consumers to your local business. They might even recognize you from around town.
Promote the local lifestyle.
Since Instagram is mainly a photo-sharing network, your content needs to grab the attention of users. Users are constantly being bombarded with images of products and advertisements in their feeds, so much so that they’re becoming desensitized to them. Instead of pushing your product or service on Instagram, push the local lifestyle.
The local lifestyle isn’t necessarily the tourist attractions your town offers; rather, it’s the lifestyle that your customers lead after buying your product or service. Share images on Instagram that give consumers a glimpse into a life they want. You can incorporate local landmarks in these images to further promote your local pride and make photos instantly recognizable to local shoppers. For instance, a bicycle shop shouldn’t just post a photo of a bike. Rather, they should post a photo of a happy family on a bike ride through the local park.
Instagram isn’t just for internet-based companies — it’s for local businesses, too. With these tips for how to use Instagram to promote your local business, you’ll soon start to see a steady stream of new customers coming from far and wide to shop with you.
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