Social media platforms revolutionized the way small and local businesses market themselves to their target audience.
Instagram, in particular, is one of the most popular social media platforms for businesses to promote their brand and engage with customers.
But should your local business use Instagram as a marketing tool? Before jumping into the app, it’s important to evaluate the pros, cons, and potential ROI.
In this article, we’ll dive deeper into using Instagram as a marketing tool for local businesses and whether it’s worth your time and effort.
Pros of Using Instagram for Local Businesses
Instagram offers many potential benefits for small and local businesses. A few of the top pros include:
Reach Your Local Audience
Instagram allows you to reach a larger audience without the same expense and effort as traditional marketing. People often turn to the platform to research products and businesses, so marketing on Instagram can help you get in front of local customers. Using hashtags, local tags, and the explore page, businesses can easily reach new audiences and increase their visibility.
Build Brand Awareness
By creating a consistent visual identity on Instagram, businesses can increase brand awareness. A well-curated Instagram feed helps businesses differentiate themselves from their competitors and stand out in their local market.
Direct Communication with Customers
Businesses use Instagram to communicate with their customers. Comments, direct messages, and Instagram stories are all useful features for interacting with customers. Direct communication helps local businesses build relationships with their customers. Local businesses can also use this communication to improve customer service and collect important feedback. Customer relationships are vital for local businesses, and Instagram offers another way to boost these relationships.
Instagram is a cost-effective marketing tool for small businesses since it’s free to use. High-quality smartphones also make it easier than ever for small businesses to create engaging content. Using Instagram’s features, like Instagram stories and reels, they can promote their products and services.
Cons of Using Instagram for Local Businesses
As helpful as Instagram can be for local businesses, there are also some potential disadvantages to consider.
While Instagram is a cost-effective marketing tool, it can be time-consuming. Even with smartphones and in-app features, creating high-quality content and engaging with their audience regularly takes time. Local business owners may find it challenging to balance their daily operations and social media management.
Keeping Up with Algorithm Changes
To remain visible on Instagram, you must navigate its algorithm. Instagram’s algorithm changes frequently, which makes it hard for many local businesses to keep up. The result is that many local businesses find it hard to keep their views and engagement consistent. Many find that they need to invest in paid Instagram advertising to get their content in front of their desired audience, which is an added cost.
Dependence on Visual Content
Instagram is a visual platform. Businesses that do not have visually appealing products or services may find it challenging to succeed on the platform. For example, a business that sells insurance may struggle to create visually appealing content. Even if you do have a good visual component, consistently creating aesthetically pleasing content is still a challenge.
Transforming Social into Sales
Building an audience of ideal customers on social media is helpful for local businesses. However, followers don’t always translate to sales. Instagram is not a stand-alone strategy that will grow local businesses. Incorporating it into an overarching marketing strategy can be a difficult, as this takes even more time and expertise.
How Does Instagram Impact Customers and Local Business Owners?
Instagram benefits both customers and small business owners. Customers use it to discover new businesses, learn about products and services, and engage with their favorite brands. Customers can seek out new local businesses or interact with the ones they already use. It’s a more convenient way to ask questions, share experiences, and research relevant local businesses than search engines.
Ultimately, Instagram can help local businesses create a sense of community that fuels long-term business stability. By responding to comments and direct messages, small businesses show their customers that they value their feedback. Small businesses can also use it to collaborate with other local businesses and influencers to increase their reach and credibility.
ROI To Expect from Instagram
While Instagram can be a valuable marketing tool for small businesses, local businesses must evaluate the return on investment (ROI) of using the platform. Assessing the ROI of social media strategies can be tricky at times, especially because it will take some time for efforts to pay off in any way.
Additionally, the ROI is not always in the form of a direct sale. Other ways it can benefit your local business include:
- Drive traffic to your website or landing page
- Foster long-term relationships and brand loyalty with local customers
- Nurture leads who convert later on
- Keep your brand at the forefront of your customer’s minds
- Re-engage existing customers for repeat business
- Strengthen your brand perception
Even so, the 2023 Social Media Trends Report found that Instagram offered the highest ROI (25%) of social media channels. Marketers cited the power of engagement on Instagram, which is an incredibly important facet for local businesses.
The Verdict: Is Instagram Worth it for Local Businesses?
Is Instagram worth the time and effort for local businesses? The truth is that it’s only worth it if you consistently create relevant content and interact with your audience. Growing your digital presence is only part of the overall marketing strategy for local businesses.
You must have a sound overarching marketing plan and a clear way to connect online interactions with in-person visits. Instagram can and should be part of this plan, but you won’t see results unless you use this tool correctly.
Matcha Design is the go-to marketing and design team for local Tulsa businesses. We are here to help with your Tulsa social media marketing needs. We offer professional design services, alongside copywriting, video production, and more to help you nail your Instagram marketing strategy. Contact Matcha Design to find out more about how we can help your local business with Instagram social media marketing.