Get ready folks, because if you get your Instagram offering right, you may be about to see a swarm of folk begging you to take their money.
That’s because Instagram has updated its Maps offering to include a search feature that users will be able to explore locations around them.
“The dynamic, searchable map allows users to have a more personalized and immersive experience when discovering popular locations and businesses and to see what’s nearby, via tagged posts, stories, and guides shared by the Instagram community. Users can also find relevant locations on the map when searching certain hashtags.”
Thanks to the update, users can move the map around to explore what’s nearby – while the search feature will aid in the discovery of new and exciting places. From a business’s point of view, this is exciting news. However, you need to be on the app, be active and have an updated profile for it to work for you.
Why has it made these changes?
One reason why Instagram has made these changes could be its battle with Google. According to a Google exec, younger users are searching TikTok and Instagram for discovery purposes instead of Google Maps.
“In our studies, something like almost 40% of young people, when they’re looking for a place for lunch, they don’t go to Google Maps or Search. They go to TikTok or Instagram.”
So, by rolling out a searchable Instagram Maps, the platform can undercut Google and encourage more people to spend more time on the platform. By the way, that can only be good for Reels, it’s TikTok competitor.
By beefing up its Maps offering, it also makes it a more popular place for businesses, who are more likely to place greater importance on Instagram marketing, perhaps by spending more time on adverts or by enlisting the services of influencers. Talk about killing two birds with one stone.
Users can browse recent stories, top posts and the guides of tagged locations to learn more, they can filter using different location categories (including cafes, salons and restaurants) to narrow down a search, save locations and revisit them in the future and share places with friends via direct message. Locations can also be found via hashtags.
Places can also be found by hitting the location tag in posts in Stories or in Feed while you can search by city, neighbourhood or place name via the Explore tag. Interestingly, when you find a tagged location, you can browse stories, top posts and guides to get more of a flavour of the place.
For users with public profiles, you can use location tags or stickers in your posts to make that location appear on the map.
A big discovery boost
The benefit to businesses could be huge. As long as you’re Instagram-worthy and people share their visit to your establishment, you could earn yourself a whole lot of organic exposure. We’ve already seen places adopt interesting elements and appealing settings that entice people to share with Instagram – now we could see more businesses encouraging visitors to tag them in posts.
Research by Omnicore indicates that 73% of U.S teens say Instagram is the best way for brands to reach them about new products or promotions and that 58% of users say they’re interested in a brand after seeing it in a Story.
You can see that there are a few very compelling reasons to upgrade your Instagram marketing effort if you run a bricks-and-mortar store.
So there we go. Searchable Instagram maps could be a game changer for your business, but you need to invest in them first. Make your location Insta-worthy. Encourage patrons to post to the platform and make sure your business details are updated so that when people click through, they can learn everything they need to about you.