The New Instagram Feature That Could Help Local Business Exposure

It was revealed recently that Instagram is experimenting with a new tool which, due to its focus on your location, could offer a great opportunity for local businesses and creators. 


App researcher Alessandro Paluzzi recently shared this image on X, which shows a new feed, appearing in the stories tab of Instagram. The thought is that this tab would offer users a highlight reel of local content from users, businesses and creators in their local community. 


This is not a new idea by any means, and much like they have with lots of other features in recent years, Instagram have certainly taken inspiration from Tik Tok. A local feed is a key element of the Chinese version of Tik Tok, called ‘Douyin’, and Tik Tok here has begun to use a similar concept.


So how can it help local businesses?


While we can’t be sure exactly how content will be prioritised, we do know that it will be based on locality. With local businesses and creators being able to reach audiences based on geographical targeting, it could help both organic and paid reach on the platform.


Organic reach is relatively self explanatory, while paid reach could really lend itself to particular businesses, such as food and hospitality, especially if the ‘Nearby’ function is added to the display options in ads. For example, one of the greatest exponents of this approach in China on Douyin has been food delivery and takeaway food.


Another way this could really benefit local creators and brands is to promote new openings and events. Having another organic space (other than the search page) to reach beyond a followership could be harnessed to good effect.


Once active, it wouldn’t be surprising to see an extension of this feature moving over to Facebook stories, given the connected nature of the two Meta platforms in the last couple of years. However, nothing has yet been announced.


Tips on Using Instagram to promote your local business

For many, Facebook certainly paved the way for local businesses to reach their audience, and, in many cases, make it the hub of their digital operations, alongside or over a traditional website. 


In 2023, it’s fair to say that Instagram has stepped into this role to great effect for a number of reasons. The first is that it’s more visually appealing. Businesses such as hair & beauty, hospitality, events and food & drink have been particularly successful in harnessing the many features of Instagram, from the humble image carousel to reels, lives and the many widgets available in stories. 


Another benefit is the ease to which you can share customer’s experiences with your followers via the stories share functionality. This is very helpful, simple and won’t frustrate followers as much as resharing content on Facebook, by clogging up their newsfeed. 


Over time, the search functionality has improved, which means harnessing hashtags are really helpful and important for local businesses. While it is helpful to link into big conceptual hashtags like #coffeeshops or #takeaway, it is more helpful to local businesses by using localised hashtags, engaging the town or region in which you’re based.


Making sure your bio information is clear, helpful and includes a link to your website is also key, and is something which many users engage with before much of your profile’s content, so it’s worth taking time over. 


Finally, simple but very effective is to ensure you geotag each of your posts. It can be easy to fly through the process of posting, especially when you’re really keen to share a great image or video with your audience, but it’s key to spend a minute in the final posting settings, adding things like the geotag, to help your local audience find you.

Would you like a hand in improving your social media output? Perhaps we could help? Get in touch with Pixel8 today, and one of our expert team will be on hand to chat through your queries!