Think local, build a local Instagram following.
Thinking local when it comes to your Instagram content may come more naturally to some than others. But in an industry that is emphasising the importance of data and demographics, in particular the location of your followers, there has never been a better time for influencers to build a following that will help win them more collaborations with great brands.
How can you tell if you have a local following?
First up, if you haven’t already, switch over to an Instagram business account pronto. If you still have worries about changing your account over to a business account read this article which debunks the myths.
By local, in this article, we are referring to followers from the same country that you are living in.
Once you’ve got your Instagram business account set up, you can go into Insights tab and select Audience to see the top locations your audience is based in (by cities and countries).
How much of your audience needs to be located in the country that a brand is marketing to?
Brands are generally asking to work with influencers whose largest follower audience reside in the country they want to market to. For a lot of people this sits around a minimum of 20%.
Even if a brand doesn’t ask you to share your demographics with them, many are using technology which gives a strong indication about where your followers are from.
They understand that Instagram, by its very nature, encourages worldwide connections. They don’t expect 100% of your followers to be from the same country or city as you – that would be very unrealistic.
As the influencer marketing industry becomes more nuanced, however, brands want to increase the chances that the sponsored posts of the influencers they partner with are reaching the most relevant people.
What to do if you don’t have a majority local following?
Perhaps you’re moving countries and need to work on attracting a new followership in that country. Or perhaps your Instagram account attracts more of an overseas following and you’re missing out on collaborations with brands who want to target Instagram users in a specific country.
First up. Don’t panic! You don’t need to start again. Instagram is designed to help broaden your Insta community and connect you with likeminded people all over the world. Your followers will naturally change over time as your account develops.
So don’t worry, you can keep your old followers and remain loyal to the core of what you are but also make connections with new local followers. This will help make you even more valuable to brands.
7 top tips on building a local following
1) Use your Instagram bio to mark your location
Include a mention of your country and/or city location in your Instagram bio. You can even use a country flag emoji to make it instantly recognisable to followers and brands considering partnering with you.
2) Follow and interact with locals
We don’t need to tell you that Instagram is all about community. If you want to grow a local following, you need to immerse yourself in the local Insta-community. Follow like-minded Instagrammers – both influencers and normal users – and get to know them. Like their posts and write meaningful, thoughtful comments. Start a dialogue and always respond to comments.
For more on building an Instagram community, check out this article.
3) Dedicate an Instagram highlights category to your location
If you’ve visited a local café, shopping mall, theme park or iconic tourist trap, create some Instagram Stories about this local content and save them to a Highlight dedicated to the name of your country and/or city. This will mean that potential new followers can relate to a shared experience of their city/country or perhaps look to you for recommendations of places to eat, shop, see.
5) Geo-tag your location
If you’re Instagramming your brunch at a local café or posing in your new outfit at an Instagrammable location – geo-tag that bad boy. Geo-tagging consistently in your posts and stories will help to get you on the radar of locals.
6) Go to an Insta meet up
Sometimes there’s nothing like a good old fashioned face-to-face. If you get chance to meet influencers who live in the local area you can each share their accounts with your followers and vice versa. Find out if there are any local communities of influencers, bloggers or photographers and connect with them.
And if there’s not a meet up, arrange one! Whether it’s a coffee catch up with someone new or a party with a whole bunch of influencers. As Regina Brett says, “No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.” Connecting with other influencers in person can be truly fantastic for growing support networks, swapping ideas and skill-sharing.
7) Speak the lingo
If the country you’re in speaks a different language, why not take the opportunity to learn it? Instagram could even provide you with some good writing and translation practice! Whether you include a translated version of your caption to please both audiences or try including some hashtags in the native language.
To conclude, building a local following doesn’t mean you need to become the go-to local tourist information guide (unless you want to of course!)
As always – bear in mind your why. Why you use Instagram, what you love about it, what you want to achieve with it. You don’t need to impose unnatural limitations on yourself about what kind of content you post or the community you have.
However, when partnering with brands ensure that the largest segment of your audience is from the country that they are targeting. They’ll see better results and you’ll see more exciting opportunities opening up for you.