Though I’ve focused a lot in my marketing career on helping B2B businesses that weren’t local to me in San Diego, I’m starting to work more with companies in my area, including my own creative workshop brand. As I work to drive attendance of events, I’ve found that Instagram is a great resource to introduce the brand to more people in San Diego. It’s a learning process for me, but as I learn, I want to share a few things I’ve learned that should help you with marketing your local business on Instagram.
1. Personability is Key
In addition to using Instagram to drive signups for Creating Space in Kensington, I’m also managing the Instagram account for my local business association, Adams Avenue Business Association. The goal of this Insta account is to support what’s happening at local businesses, create awareness of their annual events, and introduce others in San Diego to the neighborhoods on Adams Avenue.
Being personal and personable is working to drive more follows, likes, tags, and shares. For instance: I’ll post something about the annual Street Fair and people will comment on the post. The best way to drive engagement is to reply to each comment that needs a response or answer. That way, people don’t feel like the account is automated and know that an actual human is behind the scenes!
2. Follow People to Get More Followers
This is a strategy I find pretty effective: I’ll look at a related Instagram account (for the business association, I’ll look at the accounts of some of the members in our district) and follow people that follow those accounts. Sure, you may get a few wild cards, but I safely assume that most of the people following a local sushi restaurant are local to San Diego, and therefore will be interested in learning what our account posts.
Not all, but most people will follow you back when you follow them on Instagram. It’s a slow process, but follow a handful daily, and you’ll soon amass a larger following.
3. Ask People to Tag Others
I just got this idea, looking at AABA’s feed. On a post for the Street Fair, many people tagged others in the comments. Basically, they’re saying, “hey so-and-so, I think you’d be interested in this event.”
Thanks! You just did my marketing for me. I plan to encourage people to tag a friend in upcoming posts like this: Who are YOU bringing to the #AdamsAveStreetFair? Tag your friend in the comments!
Bonus tip? Follow the people your followers tag!
4. Post Consistently
Finding the right cadence for posting to social media can be tricky, and each social channel has its own speed. For Instagram, I’m posting five days a week for AABA, and a few times a week for my creative company. You can look at stats for each post (likes, shares, comments) to figure out what frequency works best.
Don’t know how to look at your stats? In the mobile app (assuming your account is a business account; you can easily convert it to one), click the hamburger (lines in upper right corner) on your profile page, then click Insights. There, you’ll get great data on how many people saw or liked your post, where they’re coming from, how old they are, etc. Use this information to guide what and how frequently you post to Instagram.
5. Leverage Instagram Stories
I admit I’m still learning how to leverage Stories, but if you’re marketing your local business on Instagram, I think they’re worth diving into. Why? Because everyone who follows you will see your Story at the top of their front feed. Not everyone will see every post you publish otherwise, but Stories are front and center.
The drawback is that they expire after 24 hours. You can save them as highlights, and I suggest doing that for themes that are important to your business, like photos from a big event.
If you have more than 10,000 followers (oh, to be so lucky!) you can also include a link that people can click from your Story to your website. This is one flaw I find in Insta: the fact that you can’t put a clickable link in a post without having a ton of followers.
I’m still learning here, and welcome any tips you have for marketing your local business on Instagram!