Why Instagram isn’t just another social media platform, but rather a treasure trove just waiting to be “tapped.”

Admit it: You could stay on Instagram all day scrolling through the awesome action shots of GoPro, the beautiful landscapes featured in National Geographic, and the behind-the-scenes look into the worlds of fashion, beauty, and clothing design.

Luckily for business owners, standing out online has never been easier than with an Instagram account. Why? Because Instagram is a visually-pleasing photo-sharing platform that puts a premium on pretty photos. With the platform recently reaching 500 million users, this is good news for your brewery or restaurant, or even for your bicycle or automotive repair shop.

“To market what you do well, you need to tell people what you do over and over again in different creative ways,” says Darrell Stern, CEO of Stern Inbound Marketing. “Instagram is a perfect way for us to do this because we can make your business look visually appealing while reaching both local and global audiences.”

But Instagram is way more than just pretty photos. Here, we’ve compiled some tips to use Instagram to drive local traffic to your business.

  1. Decide on an Instagram theme

Your theme should be established to connect with your audience as much as possible, so start by figuring out who your core demographic is and what they are interested in and what type of content they engage with most.

But remember that your ultimate goal isn’t just an Instagram double-tap. While increasing the number of hearts on your photos is a goal you should also work toward, you want to use Instagram as a place to start the conversation that will eventually encourage the viewer to purchase your product in real life.

Regardless of audience, your photos should be shot and edited to look professional and enticing. When viewed as a comprehensive grid on your Instagram profile, your photos should tell a story of your business, with each photo representing a part of your identity.

2. Hashtags on Instagram are your #BFF


Hashtags offer an easy way to insert your company or business into a larger conversation. They also present a way for you to differentiate yourself from the competition by having a clever, unique phrase which, when people click on it, will lead them to a whole other compilation of your posts that will be discoverable forever.

For example, we use the hashtag #GetStern on Instagram to promote our latest blog posts and landing pages that we make for our website. If you click on that hashtag, you’ll see all the posts we’ve made that encourage our clients to #GetStern with their inbound marketing campaigns.

3. Geo-tag your Instagram posts


Instagram’s geo-tagging tool is one of the least used, yet surprisingly effective, tools that the platform has to offer. Statistically, Instagram posts with a geo-tag get 79 percent more engagement (and only five percent of all posts utilize it.)

Similar to Facebook’s “Check-In” feature, a geo-tag appears above the image and shows followers where you’re physically located. You can be as specific as a street address, or take advantage of adding your tag to that of a larger city or region.

You can use geo-tags to check into your area, sharing your location and inviting followers who are nearby to stop into your business.

4. Business promotions and contests on Instagram


Instagrammers are shoppers. Just look at this 2015 Instagram study from Iconosquare, which found that 70 percent of users search for brands on Instagram, while 62 percent will look up and follow a brand simply because they already like it. This presents an opportunity for you as a business owner to increase the followers you have based on brand loyalty as well as growing new ones who haven’t had the opportunity to buy your products or eat at your restaurant yet.

One way to do encourage new followers to frequent your business is by sponsoring a contest, giveaway, or a special limited-edition product. These posts create a sense of urgency for the viewer to either buy your product or make a reservation with you quickly, without overwhelming the viewer with the sense that you’re trying to sell them something.


At Stern, we believe that marketing is theater  — and that Instagram is the perfect stage. Contact us today at 303-353-4354 to schedule a call with our CEO and find out how we can use Instagram to drive local traffic to your business.

You may also download our Stern Instagram Whitepaper here:

[gravityform id=”3″ title=”false” description=”false”]