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Instagram is a powerful place to connect with your audience, sell your products and grow your brand.
But a unique challenge that local businesses face when starting out on Instagram isn’t necessarily how to get followers, but how to get local followers on Instagram.
Because if you have a local business, building a following that is located all over the world won’t necessarily help your biz.
You might think that joining a local Instagram pod might be the key to growing a local following but it’s not, and today, I’m going to talk about free strategies that you can use to grow a local following on Instagram!
Why Do You Want Local Followers on Instagram?
New business owners can sometimes be infatuated with the idea of a huge following.
After all, we tend to equate a huge following with huge success, therefore, the more followers you have, the more successful your business must be…right…?
Luckily, this just isn’t the case. And a higher follower count does not equal more success or higher profits.
As a local business, your goal on Instagram shouldn’t be to gain as many followers as possible.
Let’s say you are located in Toronto, Canada.
And your following begins to grow with followers mostly from the United Kingdom.
The majority of those followers are unlikely to turn into customers, so it’s in your best interest to target local followers from where your business is located!
1 targeted follower is always better than 100 untargeted followers who will never turn into a customer.
How to Get Local Follows on Instagram
There are several things you will want to do to find local followers for your Instagram account.
1. Use Geotags
Geotagging both your Instagram posts and stories is a great way to reach local followers!
You can geotag:
- your city
- the neighborhood your business is located in
- your business
- popular landmarks near your business
To add a geotag to a new post, click on “Add Location” and search up the location you want to tag.
You can also add geotags to existing posts. To do so, locate a post that you’d like to add a location.
Click on the three “…” in the upper-righthand corner to open the photo editor.
A popup menu will appear with several different options. Click on “Edit” and then click on “Add Location…”
Once you’ve added your location in, you can save it so that your older posts are now attached to a location!
2. Use Local Hashtags
Using hashtags for business on Instagram is a great way to grow your account! But if you are a local business, you’ll want to make use of local hashtags.
If you live in a bigger city, there’s a good chance that you have access to hundreds of local hashtags that can help you attract local followers.
To find local hashtags, go into the search page and type in your city. When you do this, make sure you click into “Tags” along the top.
Doing this will help you begin to find popular local hashtags! You can find more hashtags by clicking on one of the hashtags in the list and viewing the related hashtags along the top.
Finding hashtags this way can be time-consuming every time you want to post.
The next way to find hashtags is to use a hashtag finder! I love this method because I know that I’m finding the most optimized hashtags for my content.
The best hashtag finder on the market currently is the one created by Tailwind.
Tailwind’s hashtag finder helps you identify which hashtags will be the easiest for your content to be found within (which is MAJORLY helpful for small businesses who can’t compete with giant Instagram accounts).
Hashtags that have over 1 million posts are much too competitive for most people. Your content will get drowned out almost immediately and your reach will be severely limited.
Tailwind’s hashtag finder sorts hashtags by their level of competitiveness (Niche, Good, Best, Competitive) so you can quickly and easily find the best hashtags that will get your content seen!
Sign up for a free account with Tailwind to see just how effective their hashtag finder is!
3. Team Up With Local Influencers
89% of marketers say that influencer marketing is just as or more effective than other marketing channels.
There are a couple of different ways to find local influencers in your area.
Look For Past Campaigns
You probably aren’t the first business to use influencer marketing in your city (which is a good thing, because it will help you cut down on the time it takes to find influencers)!
Look towards your competitors and other small businesses in your city to see if they have been tagged in any Instagram campaigns.
To quickly do this, head over to a local business account on Instagram and head into the photos they have been tagged in.
Influencers almost always tag the business they are promoting in their photos!
You can direct message or email Instagram influencers and ask for their media kit to determine if their rates will fit in with your marketing budget!
Search for Influencer Hashtags
You can also use Instagram as a search engine to find influencers in your area.
For example, if you are from Calgary, you can search for the hashtag #calgaryblogger to find a plethora of content created by local bloggers!
This way is more time-consuming than the above method, and you will have to sift through a lot of content to find potential influencers.
Use an Influencer Agency
Influencer agencies connect local influencers with businesses to help their campaigns.
I’ve compiled a list of the best influencer marketing platforms that you should check out that can help manage your campaign and connect you with local influencers.
4. Do a Local Giveaway
Local giveaways are a great way to get local followers on Instagram! When your giveaway is local, you won’t be attracting people from other cities.
Giveaways for things such as Amazon gift cards are too broad and will attract people that aren’t your ideal audience (and don’t live in your city), so try to stick with products and services that have to be redeemed within your area.
You can even partner with other local businesses and pool together your prices for the ultimate Instagram loop giveaway. You’ll all walk away with more followers and can put together a sweet package for the winner.
5. Partner With Other Local Businesses
Partnerships are powerful! Partnering with other local businesses who serve your audience (but who you aren’t in direct competition with) will benefit both parties and can help you reach a new audience.
You can combine a partnership with a giveaway and offer a bundle of local prizes with several local businesses to increase your reach exponentially!
6. Run Local Ads
Running ads on search engines and social media can be an effective way to reach your audience and grow a local following.
Facebook ads, for example, allow you to hyper-target your audience based on their location. You can target people who live in a specific location, people who were recently in a specific location, people who traveled through a location or everyone.
The location you choose for your ads can also be very specific (within a certain mile radius, if you prefer).
As you can see, Facebook and Instagram ads can be very helpful to target locals.
Search ads, on the other hand, can be used to target local search terms related to your business.
7. Add Your Location to Your Profile
Just like we geotagged our photos, you should also do the same to your Instagram profile if you’d like to attract local followers!
First, your Instagram account must be a business account and hooked up to a Facebook business page. Instagram has up-to-date instructions that can be found here on how to add an address/location to your Instagram account.
Now that you know how to get local followers on Instagram, it’s time to set a plan in motion to grow your Instagram account locally!
This article may include affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Dana Nicole is an award-winning freelance writer for MarTech/SaaS who was rated one of the best SaaS writers by Software World. She specializes in writing engaging content that ranks high in search engines and has been featured in publications like Social Media Examiner, ConvertKit, and Hotjar. Dana holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and has over 15 years of experience working in marketing for national brands.