If you think Instagram is a toxic slew of duck faces, selfies and yesterday’s lunch, well, in a way, you’re right. But before you lose faith in humanity and delete your account altogether, we promise Instagram has a lot more to offer. One feature that has remained hidden in the shadows is the Places option in the Explore tab.
Whether that location is a trendy restaurant, a cool art museum, a bustling city, or a thriving business is completely reflective of what you search. When you click on an individual place, a map will appear on your screen along with the location’s Top Posts and Most Recent Pictures. To associate your pic with a specific place, assign a location — or geotag — to your photo. Once you’ve figured out how to use Places, you can get down to business!
Define your demographic
If you look at the pictures in your Place gallery, you can get a raw snapshot of your demographic. Study the people in your photos.
- How old are they?
- Do you see more families, couples or singles?
- What professions do they have?
- Are they starched collars, suit and tie business fellows, or are they ripped jeans, Converse, camera-clad creatives?
- Based on the photos, what events are being celebrated?
- Can engagements, family reunions and girls’ and guys’ nights take place at your location?
Asking yourself these questions will help you determine what kind of demographic and atmosphere your business embodies. If your findings don’t align with your vision (e.g. your Little Miss Muffet Tea Party biz is filled with overly-tanned men on “bro dates,” triple-dog daring each other to chug tea), figure out what steps you can take to refocus your overall brand.
Know your value
Pay attention to what food, décor, products and services your consumers take the most pictures of. It’ll tell you what your customers view as “Insta-worthy” within your business, and will help you figure out what to expand and what to delete going forward.
For example, if you found that your bruschetta board is the No. 1 photographed menu item at your restaurant, you should experiment with new recipes to keep that hot item, hot.
Don’t have any ideas on how to move forward? Explore your demographic’s interests outside of your business. If a handful of people snapped your famous home-brewed tea also posted about how they “can’t even” with lavender and peaches, try adding a new lavender-peach tea to your menu and see if sales increase.
Use your biggest fans
Your biggest fans can be your greatest advocates. You never know who someone is and how you can work together to propel your business forward. Start with your Top Posts and look at their accounts.
You might find the user of your most-liked photo is a blogger with a 50K following who is wholeheartedly willing to be an ambassador of your mandarin coffee scrub. (If that happens, do a congratulatory happy dance and then make sure you understand how influencer compensation really works!)
Repost your peeps
We aren’t all celebrities. Groundbreaking things don’t just happen to us on a regular basis, which makes posting on Instagram every day a bit of a hassle. Cue Places. Remember all those photos in your gallery? Show your followers some love and repost their photos!
Pro tip: Even though most people will say yes (because who doesn’t like free publicity?), always ask the user’s permission when reposting photos.
Once people realize you take the time to highlight and regram other people’s pictures, they’ll want to continue taking photos for a chance to be featured.
Host a contest
Not getting as much interaction as you’d like? Host a contest! Determine what the focus of your contest will be (general or specific emphasis on a product/feature), and what requirements you want people to follow. Remind people to add your location to their picture and give them an incentive. Whether it’s 20-percent off an item, a free appetizer, a regram, or a giant giveaway, treat your followers while simultaneously increasing engagement.
We’re hoping after reading this, you’ll be able to see the significant value Places can add to your online presence and your business. Always know what you have to offer and remember your biggest fans can be your greatest allies. Good luck!