A step by step guide to a local business instagram marketing plan

Instagram Local Business Tips

Instagram offers a great marketing opportunity to businesses. In case you’ve been living under a rock, Instagram is a social network that lets users take pictures and videos, apply filters to them, and share them with their followers. It has grown exponentially and continues to grow. Let’s look at some stats before we give you an essential set of Instagram local business tips to help you convert eyes to customers:


  • 200 million active users
  • 70% of which logged in daily


  • 400 million active users
  • 60% of which logged in daily


  • 500 million active users
  • 300 million of which log in daily.


This means your current and potential customers are on Instagram. It also means that if you are not using the platform, you are missing out on some pretty good opportunities.

You may think you waited too long, but you haven’t. If you are willing to put in the work and you have the right strategy and tools, you can catch up in no time and convert eyes on Instagram into customers. Let’s give you the arsenal you need to get your local business started on Instagram.


How to format your local business Instagram profile

Choose a Username 

This is how people will find you. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to find you again. This means that you should not use any weird characters or words. When choosing your handle, keep it simple and constant with the rest of your branding. Let’s use Epicerie Boulud, a French restaurant/shop in New York as an example, they do things right!

If your business was “Epicerie Boulud”, your ideal Instagram handle should be @EpicerieBoulud. If that was already taken, you could try something like @EpicerieBouludNY (add the location marker). If that is taken, you can try @EpicerieBouludUWS (hyper-local – with the neighborhood as the marker). Stay away from numbers, caps, or weird letters, that will make it harder for people to remember your handle.

Measure ROI with branded hashtags

Personalized-Branded #hashtags 

Create a hashtag for your business. The easiest one to go with would be your username #EpicerieBoulud. Use this hashtag on all pictures posted to Instagram. This will help you later on when sharing your Instagram content to other social media channels. Encourage clients to use this hashtag on your profile (this would be an improvement to the EB account) or by pushing contests and discounts. As you see in the example above, your branded hashtag can be used by your marketing team, press, and consumers. it can help you convert your customers into a marketing army. That’s some pretty powerful stuff.

Use keywords and local info in your Instagram profile

Optimize Your Listing

There are certain things your listing should always have. These include:

a. Your business name (Epicerie Boulud)

b. What your business does with keywords (@DanielBoulud‘s eat-in/take-out market and catering)

c. Your location (?Upper West Side?Plaza Food Hall?WTC Oculus)

d. Call to action (this one is missing here – a call to action to share with a branded hashtag would be perfect here)

e. URL (www.epicerieboulud.com)

Epicerie Boulud has an almost perfect Instagram page profile. All they are missing is a call to action to the public. They could add a tag us on your #EpicerieBoulud pics for a chance at free coffee.
How to get customers to come to your local business with Instagram

Reply to Comments

You wouldn’t ignore someone who complimented your products or services at your local business. Same goes for Instagram. That’s one thing EB is not doing right compared to our second example, Burger & Lobster. Burger & Lobster engages almost every single person who leaves a comment on their profile. This is a smart way to build a relationship and get customers to come back and spread the word.

Use local hashtags to attract a local audience

Use Local Hashtags

You’re already using your custom hashtag. As a local business you need to use other hashtags that will attract the eyes of those who can convert to customers, that means using local hashtags. If you were a local business in NY, you’d want to use hashtags related to the city, neighborhood and nearby landmarks. This way, when people search Instagram for them, you have a chance of being discovered by locals and tourists.

Posting Frequency

Post often, not too many businesses are taking advantage of this platform. Post at least 1 time a day.  If you’re too busy and can’t post daily, it is better to skip a day than put out bad content. But try not to skip more than 1 day. The Instagram algorithm can be brutal and if you don’t post daily, your reach can suffer.

Cross promote your Instagram on other social networks


Remember we told you to create a personalized hashtag? This is where it comes in handy. Although you can instantly share your Instagram photos to Facebook and Twitter, you don’t want to. If someone is a fan of your local business on multiple social networks, you’ll just bore them that way. However, you can cross-promote networks to let people know that you’re active elsewhere and that you have different offerings.


Amplify User Generated Content

A simpler way to say this is “repost content from people who post about your local business”. It’s that simple. Remember that branded hashtag? Simply click on that branded hashtag to find people who posted about your biz. They’re creating content daily, sharing it to their audience…so why not share it with yours. But don’t just go and share without first asking for permission. You want to do this because you’re using someone else’s content AND because when you ask for permission you are building a relationship with this loyal customer. It’s a win in so many ways…and, if you use the Socialdraft dashboard, you can do this with ease!

(Shameless plug – if you don’t have a Socialdraft account, take a test drive – it won’t cost you anything to try us out).

Be a part of the conversation 

Go beyond waiting for people to comment on your images to engage them. Do hashtag searches for your city, neighborhood…then engage those creating content around your area. Chances are they’re nearby and you’re making it easier for them to discover you. Don’t be shy here. Do the work for them.


Use A Social Media Scheduler Like Socialdraft

Socialdraft is an all-in-one social media tool geared for local businesses. With Socialdraft, you can manage your local business’ entire social media presence. Here are a few things you can do with Socialdraft”

  • Schedule posts to Facebook pages, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn
  • Give access to your team members or marketing company and set permissions on them. This keeps your social media accounts safe and lets you delegate.
  • Schedule recurring posts for promotions, reviews, sales and holidays.
  • Find out which influencers you need to engage.
  • Know whenever your business is mentioned on the web or on social.
  • Share the great mentions to social with a few clicks.
  • Repost from Instagram to all other social networks.
  • Pull reports so you can analyze your performance.
  • And tons more.

If you’re curious about Socialdraft, sign up for our risk-free trial. If you have questions, just ask by clicking on support.