There are over one billion monthly active users on Instagram – that’s over one billion potential followers for your business. According to Statistica, there were also an estimated 25 million business profiles on Instagram during the last reported period. So, how can you ensure you are reaching your local target market? Well, the social media marketing experts at VitalStorm are here to share some professional insights that will help you market local services on Instagram.

1. Strengthen Your Instagram Presence

Before your brand can successfully market local services on Instagram, you’ll need to build the right following with a healthy level of engagement. Considering that an estimated two-thirds of users who visit business profiles aren’t following them yet, it’s imperative to have a strong brand identity. While it’s important to have a strong profile and bio, the level and quality of engagement on your profile is just as vital. However, this piece of it takes time and effort, beyond producing quality content. You must actively engage with users in order for users to engage with you. To step up your engagement, here are some first steps you can take:

  • Be an Active Participant

Just like any other social media channel nowadays, Instagram is a community, not just a platform. In order to utilize the Instagram community to market your services, participation is key. To show users that your business is a valuable part of your local community, you must first become a valuable member of the Instagram community. Start by following local and large-scale influencers, along with other brands, even direct competitors. Join the conversations these users are starting and interact with their content regularly. Furthermore, you should always answer questions, concerns and praise centered around your own posts. This will humanize your company and help create a more trustworthy brand sentiment.

  • Re-post Content

Re-posting content is another important step in bolstering your reputation on Instagram and with your targeted audience. To start, re-post your local followers’ content on a regular basis, as well as content published by other local businesses and celebrities in your area. This is a smart move for your business in many ways. For one, the local users you promote will often mention your “shout out” on their Instagram page, helping you reach their followers and others in your community. Secondly, sharing more content created by real people will make your brand seem more authentic and approachable to your audience.

2. Localize Your Content

In addition to your scheduled content, be sure to post local images. As a local business, you are probably targeting a finite audience within your specific geographical region. Taking that into consideration, peppering in images of local scenery is a great way to grab the attention of your demographic. An incredibly effective tool for local marketing on Instagram is Photo Map. With this feature, you can add geotags with the specific location in which a photo was taken. According to Sprout Social, geotagged posts receive 79% more engagement than those without. While geotagging your business location is important, you should also geotag from various places around your town.

3. Step Up Your Hashtag Game

Another way to localize your content is through your choice of hashtags. In essence, hashtags are a tool to make sure your brand and content get found by the right people. Whenever it’s appropriate, include a hashtag that indicates your location, whether it’s your city or a specific locale within your city. However, hashtags must be used strategically. Stuffing too many irrelevant hashtags into your posts can appear spammy and can turn users off. Furthermore, it’s ill-advised to use the same hashtags over and over again, as users can choose not to see your content for that specific tag. To ensure the most effective strategy, let your content inform which hashtags you choose and how many. When choosing your hashtags, focus your goals on who you want to engage with your content. A targeted audience will yield a higher quality of engagement. As such, you should always keep this golden rule in mind when choosing your hashtags: The more specific your hashtag is, the more targeted your audience will be.

*Pro Tip: According to recent studies, the most successful brands follow the “less is more” rule, with an average of two to five hashtags per post. To make the most of your hashtags, be discerning about which ones you choose. Bear in mind that niche hashtags will capture more of your targeted audience than popular hashtags like #followmeback.

4. Use Instagram Stories

Among the most useful tools to reach local users are Instagram Stories. In fact, it’s been estimated that a third of the most viewed stories on Instagram are posted by businesses. Because Stories disappear after 24 hours, the content for these posts should present a clear message. Through your Instagram Stories, you can utilize features like polls and questions to connect with users and build follower confidence. You can also use Instagram Stories to promote any contests, giveaways, or new products for your business. An excellent way to use Instagram Stories is to feature any coupons you want to highlight that week or month.

5. Pursue an Influencer Partnership

Many successful businesses have jumped on the bandwagon and partnered with targeted influencers to promote their brand. A successful influencer will have already built a loyal following of users who trust their recommendations. By partnering with a local influencer who has already done the heavy lifting of building an audience, you can bring a great deal of visibility to your brand. As an easy way to get started with an influencer partnership, you can host an Instagram takeover. Essentially, this would involve inviting an influencer to take over your Instagram account for a weekend or special event. Another way to conduct an influencer partnership is by featuring their content on your Stories only, or as a weekly Stories highlight.

6. Utilize Instagram Shopping

Did you know that over 33% of Instagram users will purchase products through the mobile platform? Many of these purchases result from shoppable posts and Stories. As a part of your business profile, you have access to the Instagram Shopping feature. Through this feature, you can sell products directly from Instagram posts and Stories. Why is this more effective than posting a back-link in the bio? Consider the fact that you must attract the attention of your customers in a matter of seconds. With Instagram Shopping giving you the ability to instantly connect customers with the products that pique their interest, this feature promises more reliable conversions.

7. Drive Sales Through Instagram Ads

If you are looking for a way to capture leads and drive sales, Instagram ads could be another viable solution. Because you cannot link to a product page in Instagram posts, this is a marketing must for most businesses. Like Facebook ads, Instagram ads allow you to include a call-to-action and click-through link to a product or landing page. Depending on your ad budget and goals, you can utilize Instagram ads to direct customers to a product or landing page outside of the platform. In addition to directing traffic to your business site, you can use Instagram ads to highlight promotions and contests.

8. Run Instagram Contests

In discussing the benefits of using ads to market local services on Instagram, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the value of contests. Instagram contests kill three birds with one stone: increase followers, capture leads, make sales. Here are some of the most effective contests to consider:

  • Bonus Entry Contest

To kill the first bird, consider running a bonus entry contest to get more followers. Instantly rewarding users who engage with your business on Instagram, a bonus entry contest is a great way to earn loyal followers who are likelier to convert to viable leads. An example of this contest could be rewarding 5 extra entries to users for following you on Instagram, and 3 entries for liking the post. Use your Instagram Stories and scheduled posts to advertise this contest and the prize being offered to the winners.

  • Sweepstakes Contest

If your focus is on capturing leads, consider running a sweepstakes contest that encourages followers to enter some basic contact info for a change to win one of your products or services. Simply put, a sweepstakes contest can help you showcase a specific product or service to your followers, while capturing leads when they enter to win. With the contest app of your choice, you can build a landing page featuring info about your contest, the prize, and a form for users to fill out as an entry. For the entry form, we recommend keeping it simple – just ask for a name and e-mail. Then, schedule several Instagram posts and Stories to inform users about the contest with a call-to-action that directs them to your sweepstakes page.

*Pro Tip: Because you cannot link to pages through posts, a general rule of thumb is to include a link to your sweepstakes page in your Instagram bio. You can also run an Instagram ad with the back-link and CTA to highlight your contest.

Enlist the Help of a Professional Marketing Team

For the many ways you can market local services on Instagram, there are even more ways in which a professional marketing team can help you grow. With the right strategy, social media marketing can help your brand humanize your content, showcase your services, and generate leads. Ensure you have the best team behind your brand – partner with the social media marketing pros at VitalStorm.

Grow your business and get found today with the help of our team – visit our site or give us a call at 1- (877) 311-5695!