When you hear “algorithm” you might first think Google or Facebook, but the Instagram algorithm should be on your radar. On Instagram, over 800 million people are fighting for attention. As the network grows, it’s inevitable that the algorithm on it will get stronger and stronger. Instagram’s already developing a funnel that chokes out all irrelevant content and champions the best of the best.
Think Facebook. The social network made algorithms infamous when it instituted one of the strongest ever in 2009. Nowadays, the Facebook algorithm is humming along and the spotlight has turned to Instagram (a Facebook company).
The Instagram Algorithm
Today, Instagram’s making algorithmic changes that are having an obvious effect on the way users interact with content.
Marketers often view these changes as negative. They see engagement rates slide, and they protest the updates that the network institutes.
However, what we often forget is that algorithms offer great benefits to marketers. They’re predictable, and that means that getting around them is definitely possible.
Three Ways to Get Local with the Instagram Algorithm
One of the biggest “ins” to appearing on top of the Instagram feed is optimizing content so that it appears to algorithms as locally based.
1. Instagram Location Tags
If you’re planning to use Instagram as a vital part of your digital marketing strategy in 2018, there’s one statistic you definitely need to know:
Posts that contain a location tag get 79% more engagement.
Why? There’s one obvious reason. The location tag works sort of like a hashtag. It allows your post to get out in front of another audience that might not have seen it otherwise.
However, there’s an underlying reason that’s making an even bigger difference.
The Instagram algorithm is using location to determine relevance.
How did I come to that theory? Well, it’s actually pretty simple deductive reasoning. Instagram has made it clear that their algorithm is attempting to figure out the genuine relationships that exist between users.
While they may preference person-to-person relationships, it’s logical to assume that Instagram also determines what a personalized business-to-consumer experience looks like.
Wouldn’t it make sense, then, that Instagram is using location to determine what’s relevant to users? If you’re from Chicago and follow two coffee shops – one from down the street and one from Los Angeles, it’s only logical to assume that you’d prefer to see day-to-day updates from the local place.
But beyond location tags, is there any other way to appeal to a local audience?
Absolutely! Hashtags can play an extremely significant role.
2. Utilizing Local Hashtags
Twitter may have popularized the hashtag, but Instagram effectively re-invented it. On Instagram, hashtags offer much more longevity and a much greater opportunity to be discovered.
To bring your local optimization efforts to the next level on Instagram, start mixing in a couple of localized hashtags.
That being said, don’t bother with using a bunch of the basic hashtags that simply contain the name of your city or state. You might add in a couple of these, but the hashtags that will really make a significant difference in your strategy are the ones that local influencers are making use of.
Look into almost any niche, and you’ll find that there are series of localized hashtags customized just for users interested in something specific.
For instance, foodies in Minneapolis have an entire set of hashtags that are both niche and locality specific. This allows them to connect with a tight knit community. If you were a restaurant in this city, you’d want to be in amongst the crowd who’s most interested in what you’re doing.
As an added bonus, convincing influencers that you’re genuinely interested in the same category will encourage them to interact with your brand for no additional charge.
3. Local Stories
On Instagram, one feature that’s slipping by under the radar is local stories. By going to a location tag like “Los Angeles, CA” or “Joe’s Pizza Place” you can find all sorts of contributions to one story.
In some cases, making it on to this local story can have great implications for your brand awareness efforts. Try targeting your stories towards what it is that you do. Otherwise, you risk bringing irrelevant traffic over to your profile.
That being said, Instagram stories that are location-tagged should not be overtly promotional. No one’s going to stumble across your story via a location tag and fall for sales tactics.
Use the Instagram Algorithm to Provide a Local Win for Businesses and Customers!
Looking to start dominating in your local region? Posts with a location tag get almost 80% more engagement!
Starting using a unique combination of these three localized techniques and start providing value to the people in your community. Over time, you’re sure to find that hard work pays off on Instagram. Make sure to track your Instagram metrics, so you’ll know your ROI.
Are you ready to make the Instagram Algorithm your local ally? Share your perspective in the comments below!