I’ve been obsessing lately about a few Instagram accounts (which all happen to include food, don’t judge), that all belong to local businesses.
If you are a local business, that is, a biz in a physical, brick-and-mortar location that serves a specific geographic area, you have some very unique assets to leverage on Instagram that us “online-only” people don’t have.
An Instagrammable Experience
When we talk about building a magnetic brand on Instagram, the conversation often turns to how your feed, or your “grid” looks. We talk about building a cohesive look, whether it’s through the lighting, the colors, or the actual subjects of your photographs.
But have you thought about carrying that aesthetic INTO your physical business? A recent article in The Verge exposed this new industry niche forming of interior designers that are literally tasked with making interior spaces photo-friendly.
This includes things like unique lighting or floors, murals, neon signs, and other one-of-a-kind elements that people can’t help but take pictures of.
One of my FAVORITE examples right now are the Tatte bakeries in the Boston area.
The Tatte bakery spaces are gorgeous. Every detail has been attended to. The spaces are gorgeous, from the floors, to the lighting, to the tables and the way their bakery items are displayed. It’s a feast for the senses.
Interior design and these kinds of merchandising techniques have been around forever, but I think it’s fascinating how we are starting to take them online.
If you were enjoying a pastry at Tatte, could you stop yourself from snapping a photo and sharing it on Instagram? I couldn’t.
User Generated Content
Local businesses also have a unique opportunity to ask for, and get, great User Generated Content to share back on their own accounts.
Even something as simple as creating a hashtag for your event or business and posting it for people to see can encourage UGC. It’s the power of suggestion.
Last week I visited a local museum with my kids. In each exhibit there were placards with a hashtag to use, that was specific to that exhibit and museum. Of course, since we were there with the kids, we took tons of pictures of them enjoying and experiencing the exhibits. Do you think we uploaded a few to social media? And used their hashtags? You bet!
Stories & Geo-Tags
Ok, gut check time. If you aren’t using Stories yet, it’s TIME! Competition on Instagram has gotten fierce, with over 800 million users. 300 million people are using Stories each month – your ability to stand out and establish your brand through Stories is pretty great.
They also offer a unique way to show behind the scenes of your business and really relate to your followers on a different level.
If you need an amazing example of a local business using Stories well, take a look at Tatte Bakery again. They are very active, they showcase their team and show you just how they get those zillions of gorgeous baked goods out to their shelves each day.
One thing you MUST do as a local business using Stories is to use a geo-tag on every few posts. You can check-in to your own location, but you’ll bring in even more followers if you use your city, or if you are in a large city, maybe a geo-tag for your neighborhood.
Inside the Stories wizard, you can select the geo-tag sticker from your stickers menu.
Instagram curates stories for specific locations, so now there is a great chance that segment of your Story will get seen by people around you that are flipping through the story for your town.
These are just a few ways that local businesses can stand out on Instagram. Which one will you implement today?
Molly Marshall teaches small business owners and online entrepreneurs how to systematically and simply grow a profitable online presence through social media. Get your FREE Instagram Strategy Guide now!