In early March, Instagram quietly started testing in-app Local Business Profile Pages. However, marketers can’t rush to the visual platform to claim their local pages because Instagram has yet to officially release this update to all users. In this blog, we are going to reveal what the Local Pages are, why this update matters to marketers, and tips to prepare for when Instagram does officially roll out the release.
What are Instagram Local Business Pages?
These local business pages are listings that closely resemble Google’s Local Knowledge Panels, and offer multi-location marketers yet another opportunity to seize the power of localized social marketing. Much of the information displayed on the Instagram Local Business Pages matches that on a Google My Business profile, which presents basic business information, including:
- Business category or type
- Hours of operation
- Price range
- Phone number
The pages also link to the business’s account and display the three most recent posts shared by the account. Additionally, there is a “Claim” button on the top right of the page that enables users to claim and edit an Instagram business profile page if they have access to that business’s Facebook page.
Why does this update matter to multi-location marketers?
There are 500+ million daily active users on Instagram and 80 percent of them follow a business. Also, according to our latest State of the Market report, the number of Instagram profiles managed on SOCi increased by 50 percent since the last report.
Local business profile pages will empower multi-location brands and businesses to reach their local consumers and display more relevant and timely content, which enables users to learn more about a multi-location business as they search on Instagram.
By rolling out local business pages, Instagram is seeking to solidify their platform as more than a lifestyle destination. The local pages provide detailed information about the business that allow consumers to learn more about them without having to leave the platform – similarly to Google’s intention of building out the Google Knowledge Panel; so users can learn all about a business on the search engine, without ever leaving.
For example, users looking for a ‘restaurants near them’ can browse Instagram for photos from the local business’ profile page and tagged photos, then view the company profile to learn more, and even call to make a reservation – all without leaving Instagram.
How do marketers prepare for the rollout?
Instagram’s upcoming feature supporting local business profile pages will be a step forward for marketers utilizing the platform. It will open the doors for businesses to claim and optimize local business pages and get relevant and timely content in front of their local consumers as they search on Instagram.
However, before Instagram’s local pages go live, there are some things multi-location marketers can do to prepare.
- Claim all your Facebook Local Pages and connect them to your main brand Page account.
- Post localized content on the Local Pages.
- Respond to any reviews that may be posted on your page.
- Optimize the imagery on your pages to include high-quality photos of your business and products.
If your Facebook Local Pages are up to date, your Instagram pages should be accurate as soon as they become available.
Incorporate Instagram Stories into Content Strategy
Instagram local profile pages, at this point in the early release, don’t allow business owners to showcase a lot of content that draws visitors in, and encourages them to visit a location. Currently, the local page will display the three most recent posts shared by the account. Therefore, incorporating a regular Instagram Story cadence will provide businesses with yet another way to get in front of potential customers. Consider the browsing habits of Instagram users – one third of the most viewed Instagram Stories are from businesses, so users are likely to check a story, rather than scroll through posts or click on a profile page. Additionally, according to Instagram’s data, over 500 million user accounts watch an Instagram Story every day.
Clicking on a profile page interrupts the casual browsing of users on Instagram, since it requires the user to backtrack to the page they were previously browsing. Instagram Stories don’t cause browsing interruptions – when the story is over, they are immediately taken to the next user’s story or they remain on the same page and see the same content they were viewing.
While Instagram has yet to announce the release date for local business pages, it’s imperative for multi-location marketers to be aware that the update is coming, and to properly prepare their local presence on other platforms to be ready when the rollout is official. With Instagram seeking to optimize their platform to local businesses, marketers need to take note – Instagram is evolving to become more than a photo sharing platform, and with backing from Facebook, the sky is the limit. We foresee future Instagram updates that will make the platform even more competitive in the world of localized social marketing. Stay tuned, as we continue to monitor the platform for the official release of Instagram local profile pages.
Use SOCi to harness the capabilities of social platforms to maximize localized social marketing for multi-location businesses.