Social networking service Instagram has just globally rolled out a new searchable, immersive maps feature
Instagram Maps is Back
Meta-owned social networking service Instagram has just globally rolled out a new searchable, immersive maps feature.
Building upon the previous iteration of the experience, where you could only see locations via posts, users can now explore and filter locations – searching for specific categories including restaurants, cafes, salons etc., or exploring popular areas.
The new Instagram maps feature has significant potential for local businesses, as we’ll explore in this article…
How Does it Work?
To get to the map, you can either click ‘See Location’ on a post, or search for a location via the ‘Discover’ tab, then scroll along to ‘Places’. You are able to explore the dynamic map and filter results by the business category of interest to you. Business information that is shown to users includes:
- Number of Instagram posts the business has
- Opening hours
- An idea of pricing the business offers
- Business category
Within the feature, the “front page” of the business ‘profile’ is made up of a profile picture and three top posts. Clicking the business displays a list of posts from users.
See our video below for a demonstration of the Maps feature in action!
A New Playground for UGC: The Benefits of Instagram Maps for Businesses
With 90% of Instagram’s users following at least one business, streamlining the connection between brand and user should increase both usage habits and business demand.
The content within a business’ profile on Maps is made up purely from UGC (User-Generated Content). It provides a new sub-platform for large online figures, budding influencers and everyday creators alike, to gain the attention of geo-locational areas. As users compete for a top spot on the feature, businesses are getting free promotion, in a space where users are engaged and want to consume information.
Here are some key stats that prove UGC is a powerful weapon for business:
93% of marketers agree that content created by consumers performs better than branded content, making the business more authentic and memorable. – Hootsuite
79% of customers believe that UGC influences their purchasing decision. – Stackla
Just look at Go Pro. Much of their Instagram content is shared media – videos their users have captured; however, their feed is coherent and captivating, and poses as the perfect example of why businesses should utilise UGC.
What Can Local Businesses do to Benefit?
Firstly, local businesses must take advantage of this feature. As long as they have a professional business account and have given their location to Instagram upon set-up, they will automatically be shown in the Maps section.
A business’ position on Instagram Maps is fully dependent on location, meaning that higher spots can’t be purchased. This is brilliant for local businesses who may not have the ad spend of larger companies. The goal is to have more people posting about your business, aiming to convert current and new patrons into becoming more engaged users.
On your Instagram (and on a sign in-store), you should display a unique hashtag that users can use to be featured on your page. Regularly share your users’ content, be it images, informative posts or rave reviews.
To make up a business’ profile, the 2nd, 3rd and 4th most popular posts from users become the three display pictures, with the most popular post becoming the profile picture. Utilising the most-liked UG photos rather than business’ logo/owned content displays a refreshing authenticity for the Maps function as a business discovery channel.
Still Influencer-Focused, Still Ahead of the Curve
Aside from being a benefit to businesses, Maps also gives both small and large creators another platform and opportunity to be seen by a larger audience. The authenticity of organic reach dictating location list position means that content is king again, which is brilliant for smaller creators.
Maps comes just a year after Snapchat introduced ‘My Places’ – a similar feature to Instagram’s initial iteration of Maps. To respond, Instagram released a beta of Maps (with the new features we know) in Japan, then Australia and New Zealand in September 2021, before rolling it out globally in July 2022.
Do you require assistance with your Instagram business profile and other social media accounts? Get in touch with our team of digital marketing experts today to find out how we can help build your brand and stay one step ahead of the competition.