How to Advertise on Instagram Locally

May 16, 2016

Instagram is one of the pillars of any digital marketing strategy with over 400 million monthly active users and 80 million images created per day. Instagram has incomparable engagement rates when compared to other social profiles and offers businesses a wealth of interaction with consumers if they they know how to use the platform correctly. This post delves into how to advertise on Instagram locally drawing from examples of how to advertise on Instagram  successfully.

The Instagram Advertising Basics:

First things first, let's go over the types of advertisements you can use on Instagram. You can choose from image ads, video ads and carousel ads, and the good news is that, according to Nielsen, ad recall from Instagram can be 2.8 times higher that other online advertisements.

  • Image Ads - Image ads are a great tool to use for brand awareness and to attract traffic to your page. Typically it will have a sponsored tag on it and can be targeted at as many people as possible or a select audience.
  • Video ads - Videos can be up to 30 seconds long and can also include hyperlapse videos which crams as much into a video as possible.
  • Carousel ads - these ads are similar to the Facebook carousel ads in that they combine a series of images that users can swipe through. Typically a carousel ad will include a 'call to action' button to send users directly to your website.

The key to selecting and using each of the above ad formats is to understand how each of them is used by Instagram users and how your ad can natively slip into the newsfeed amongst other images. This comes with some 101 best practices:

  • Don't go for the sell: Instagram is about building an awareness, an interest, a following and pushing salesy images on users will not work. You will lose the interest of your targeted audience in an instant. Try to build your brand in these images. For example, if you are a hiking boot company, post images of some of the best spots for hiking in the world. Your boot can be in the image somewhere, but it shouldn't always be the focal point of your image. Tell the story of your overall brand here and most importantly, make great content.
  • Use hashtags, but wisely: Popular hashtags that relate to your brand can be powerful in reaching that top-of-funnel audience that does not know you exist yet. However you want to first, use relevant hashtags and second, post your hashtags in the comments of your image, not in the post itself. Why? Because then you won't annoy users by long scrolls of hashtags. Once a couple of users comment on your image, the hashtags will be buried in the comments and you will have improved the overall experience for your user.
  • Use local keywords: if you are a local business in Dubai or the surrounding area, use localised keywords to help geo your posts to your area. This can be via your caption or your hashtags. Research local popular keywords that could be relevant to your business like #mydubai or #dubailife and A/B test how popular your posts are when you use certain hashtags.

Influencer Marketing

Depending on your budget, it may be impactful to leverage an influencer marketing strategy for your company's instagram page. Influencer marketing involves a person who currently has many followers and good engagement rates on Instagram. Companies work with these people to raise awareness of their brand. Ideally, the influencer and the brand will have similar interests in terms of product, design and taste.

There are several ways you can use influencers with your Instagram account:

  • Takeover - an influencer can 'takeover' your account for a controlled amount of time (1-3 days) and can post to your business wall images associated (but not directly selling) your brand.
  • Tagging - another option is for influencers to tag a brand in their current account for a series of discussed posts. This potentially drives their followers to your brand Instagram account.

The best way to negotiate with an influencer is to put together a partnership agreement where both parties agree to a number of posts. Then be sure to measure the success of the campaign against specific KPIs.

How do you control your Instagram ads? Are you advertising at all on the platform? Let us know over on  Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Written by
Alexander Rauser
Alexander Rauser


Alexander Rauser is the author of Boardroom Guide to Digital Accountability and Digital Strategy: A Guide to Digital Business Transformation, and creator of the DSX Program, a digital strategy and transformation program for Enterprises.

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