Increasing a local business clientele through social media might be challenging. With such a huge competition on Instagram, standing out from the crowd is getting harder and harder over the years.

Instagram is now estimated to have 1.074 billion users, 73.5 million more than its number of users in 2020. Imagine how many of these are brand accounts.

The importance of having a brand Instagram account is also out of the question: 50% of all Instagram users follow at least one brand on the platform. Besides, according to Bloglovin, Instagram is the most popular platform among local businesses.

For a local company, Instagram success is not about its followers but about converting them into customers. When you start up your business, your first question is where to find your clients and which means to invest in.

With that in mind, let’s figure out how a small local brand can stand out and attract a target audience to their Instagram account.

Prepare Your Brand Instagram Account First

The first thing you need to do is to prepare your Instagram account to grow.

Here’s your brief checklist of things you should do before investing money into your Instagram account growth and ads:

Get rid of bots and ghost followers

Bots have never been a nice choice for healthy Instagram growth in general, but they are absolute killers for local business. Your goal is to make your followers buy from you. Bots surely can’t do that.

Another group of followers that won’t do any good are ghost accounts - those that will unlikely interact with your content on Instagram. These include celebrities, shops, brand accounts, empty accounts, users with thousands of followings, etc.

To avoid losing organic reach and engagement, you should get rid of these followers. To detect them, you can use Combin Growth, an Instagram marketing tool whose machine-learning algorithm helps you easily find fake followers of your account.

Make a content plan for Instagram

If your account is empty, nobody will follow you. To attract more followers and keep your current ones engaged, you need to make a solid content plan and schedule your posts and stories ahead of time.

There are different types of content you can post on Instagram, depending on your business. Don’t be afraid to experiment with them, and you’ll finally find those which work better than the others.

Tip: use all new content forms Instagram rolls out. When Instagram rolled out Reels in several countries, the platform pushed those creators who use the tool on the regular basis. So try to leverage everything Instagram suggests: from live streams to Reels and regular posts.

Combin Scheduler will help you plan your posts and stories as well as repost Instagram content of other users.

Be consistent

Make your whole page look conceptually coherent and work on your general Instagram aesthetics.

Don’t forget about the Highlights and put there all necessary information like your address, prices, contact information and reviews.

Make sure your bio clearly tells what your business is and how it can help. You should also add your website to your Instagram bio so that users could quickly check all information they need about you.

When your account is no longer a lean canvas and has its own branding and aesthetics, you can start promoting it. Don’t forget to link your Instagram brand account to the Facebook page and switch your Instagram to a Business account if not yet: it will help you work with ads.

Once you’ve done with the preparations, you can start leveraging the tips to grow a local business on Instagram.

Narrow Your Target Audience

Since we talk about a local business, you should narrow your audience as much as you can. Your buying personas should be based in a certain area - city, neighbourhood or even street.

To meet these criteria, use Combin Growth. With its advanced search functions and interactive map, the application can find you the right audience for your local business.

To find your local customers, install and open Combin Growth on your computer.

Combin allows performing location-based targeting by one and multiple places simultaneously, finding all posts tagged within the location on Instagram.

  1. Launch Combin and open the Search tab.
  2. Type in a place of interest into the Location field. Click the plus icon to add fields for more locations to target.
    Other than typing the place name, you can use Combin interactive map to define the search area radius and target specific establishments located within. Click the map icon next to the Location field and follow the instructions.

3. Select the time period at the Posted form to specify when the tagged posts should have been published.

4. Set the range of Likes and Comments count that the found posts should fit in. This way you can specifically target the hottest content, mildly popular publications or overlooked posts.

5. Enable the Advanced Filters and Analysis functionality to automatically sift irrelevant users out and specify the Language, Gender and audience size (Followers and Followings count) of the accounts that published the tagged posts.

Alternatively, you can use the native Instagram search by location and interact with users who post in this area.

Use Instagram and Facebook Ads

Promoting a business on social media, whether local or global, cannot be made without paid advertising. To leverage paid social efficiently, you need to know who your buyer personas are, create a budget specifically for this marketing campaigns, and test, test, test! Until you try, you don’t know what will work for your business and what won’t.

You can also create unique promo codes for each offer to track your conversions. Be imaginative with ad creatives and messages you want to deliver, use different targeting options and segment your audience for convenience.

Find Local Influencers

Influencers’ words mean a lot on social media and impact the offline world alike. Followers pay attention to their idols’ opinions and advice and try to be like them. Therefore, the vital task of any entrepreneur or marketer is to team up with local influencers.

After analysing their profile, ER and values, you can make a collaboration offer. But before collaborating with them, make sure that their audience is your target audience and it’s active.

How to find an influencer

On search engines, look for influencers using thematic queries and add your area, for instance,  ‘beauty bloggers London’. Google and Bing will show you dozens of articles leading to the personal pages of these influencers.

Combin Growth’s functionality allows you to use three influencer searching strategies. Regardless of the strategy, make sure you pick your target location and set the Follower’s Count parameter from at least 1,000 followers.

Or you can also look for local influencers right on Instagram searching by local hashtags, geotags, city Instagram pages and other local businesses’ accounts.

Post and Tag Local Content

To get followers on Instagram of a local business, you need to be active on the profiles of local influencers and brands, including your competitors. Join the discussions of the issues raised, leave comments, interact with the audience on other users’ profiles - all these are tiny steps to building your clientele.

Another option to draw the attention of your local community is to regularly repost content of users, businesses, or celebrities in your area. Thus, not only the original post owner will be pleased to see their mention on someone else's page, but their followers will also notice it.

This makes your brand look open and transparent, like a friendly neighbour, not just a business that sells.

Follow Local Events

Public events have always been one of the main news sources for creating relevant content. With the local events, this works even better. You should participate or at least be aware of your local agenda: what events, holidays and news have taken and will take place.

You can offer your services at the event, help to organise it, invest in it, even, and network with other people - your potential customers!

At the same time, act carefully. It is better to avoid ambiguous or tragic events or, if they are covered, don’t try to benefit from them.

Narrow Your Hashtags and Geotags

To optimise the “local reach” of your Instagram page, you need to focus on localised hashtags and geotags. For example, instead of the general tags, use #area_service tags - #nailslondon instead of just #nails. In this regard, hashtags and even geotags are like keywords on search engines.

You can narrow your hashtags and geotags by adding your city, street, district or even popular places depending on your business and the size of your area. For example, if you deliver food in New York, the #foodNewYorkCity hashtag means a too large area with a high level of competition: your post will simply disappear in the flow of posts with such tag. In a small town, over-specifying the location can make a post invisible simply because few requests are made for this hashtag.

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