One of the best things about Instagram is the ability it gives you to reach people all around the globe. When your brand shares a video or photo on Instagram, it could potentially be seen by people in New York to Australia, and everywhere in between. While that amount of reach is great, what if you want to get more granular and specific with who you target? Well, that’s when Instagram geotags come into play.

Whether you’re a local business trying to reach nearby customers, or a global brand that wants to target audiences in specific regions, geotags will come in handy. Plus, after the Instagram algorithm shifted the way content is displayed to users, your brand needs to find new and innovative ways to achieve as much reach as possible. And not only that, you want to make sure you’re reaching the right people.

In this article, we’re going to break down everything you need to know about Instagram geotags and show you how to use them to engage with your target audience:

What is an Instagram Geotag?

An Instagram is the specific location, down to the latitude and longitude, of where you’ve stored your Instagram content. Geolocations are gathered from the physical location of your mobile device, which allows users to store or tag their content to those coordinates. Keep in mind, this only applies if you tell Instagram to publicize your location.

quicken loans geotag example

This public sharing of content puts a physical location to content, which brands can ultimately take advantage of to engage with users. Brands with brick and mortar locations can see all the various content tagged to their location.

As we’ll talk about later, there are several creative ways your brand can use geotags.

Instagram Geotag Features

There’s a few Instagram geotag features we should cover before getting into how to use it to engage with your audience. Changes continue to make location-based content easier to find, tag and update.

Here are a few Instagram geotag filters to be aware of with any campaign:

  • Create the Location: Is there no geotag for your store location? Create one through Facebook’s “Create the Location” setting in your Facebook account. Simply go to create a new post on Facebook, click “Check In” and enter your brand’s name. From here, you set up information about your brand and once submitted, you can search Instagram to see your result. Use the same named location as much as possible to build content around the location so others will be encouraged to share as well.
facebook location example
  • Stickers in Stories: Instagram Stories allows users to use digital stickers on photos or videos that are based on a geotag. By selecting the “Location” sticker, you can set it to the geolocations already around you. Remember, you have to create a location first in Facebook if your geotag doesn’t show up on Instagram.
instagram sticker example
  • Hashtag Locations: Another great way to locate content set to a specific tag is through hashtags. We know that using popular hashtags on Instagram gives your content more visibility. But you can also use hashtag locations like #Chicago or #TheLoop to get your content suggested when people are near your area. Hashtag locations can also be added to Instagram Stories, making it easy to tag locations through a hashtag sticker.
instagram stories stickers example

Ways to Engage Users Through Instagram Geotag

Now that you have a better idea of how an Instagram geotag works, the real question is how can you use it to further engage your audience?

First, consider this. People search for businesses, locations and trends all the time on Instagram. In fact, almost a fourth of social media influencers claim Instagram is the best network for creating influencer strategies. This is due to the network’s visual nature, but also because of the ease of use. Instagram makes it simple to engage, like and most importantly, discover new content.

It’s then up to users to follow and have their favorite content appear in their feed. Here are a few ways to use Instagram geotagging to better engage your users and get more people following your content:

Locate Your Customers & See Who’s Geotagging You

First thing’s first, try to find where your customers are talking about you the most on Instagram. You can do a super quick search to see when and where customers mention your brand.

instagram search locations example

To get started, do a simple search of your brand name, branded hashtags, physical store locations and anything else closely related to your brand on Instagram. This will give you a good idea of how big of a reach your brand has on the social network.

Find Local Influencers

Let’s say you’re a new boutique clothing shop in Chicago near Millennium Park, and you want to get the word out about an upcoming event you’re hosting. You can use Instagram geotags to find people in your area that are influential. Here’s how.

First, open up Instagram and head to the search tab. Make sure the Places tab is selected. Then enter your location.

instagram location search

Your search results will display the latest posts geotagged with that specific location. Recent posts with the most engagement will show up under the “Top Posts” section.

instagram location search results

From here, you can simply go through all of the posts and see which users would be a good match for your brand. Then DM them to see if they’re interested in working together. Remember, an “influencer” doesn’t always mean celebrity. If a person has a few thousand followers, but they’re engaged and local, it could be worth reaching out just to let them know about your event and invite them to come by.

You can even sweeten the deal by offering some type of exclusive discount for them and anyone they bring with them.

Comment on Posts at Your Stores

If you have physical store locations, it’s smart to be on top of these geotags as much as possible. These areas have a plethora of content your brand can use to further engage users. For example, you can see the physical geotag location for Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits in Chicago.

bang bang pie instagram location

The feed is full of Instagram content from people dining in and hanging out on the restaurant’s patio. You’ll notice with any location, there’s Top Posts and Most Recent in the search. Both are self explanatory, but it’s important to know some of the top posts could be influencers or users with massive followers.

These are the users you want to engage. They likely have larger audiences and more visibility to their own audience. We’re not saying to go full-stalker mode–instead, find ways to engage with users sharing love.

Again, brands like Warby Parker receive a lot of social love and brand mentions about its products. With so many people tagging them, it’s always a great idea to comment, like or ask questions users. Humanizing your brand is important for many people on social. So engage and provide feedback when you can to give people unique experiences with your brand!

Encourage Sharing Content to Your Location or Hashtag

Are you lacking the engagement you want for your geotags? Some users might be hesitant to share content to your location–especially if there’s little to no content already there. The best thing to do in this situation is promote your geotag and encourage users to share.

However, for brands without a physical location, it’s still easy to encourage users to share. Instead, have people use your branded hashtag to build content around that keyword. This helps brands keep tabs on how much people engage with your hashtag.

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Use Geotagging for an Instagram Contest

You can even run photo contests to get users to engage more with your location. Simply lay out the rules and just make sure they tag your specific location correctly. This is a great way to get users to post more content geotagged with your brand’s location.

For example, Tito’s own Vodka for Dog People encourages users to tag their pets with #vodkafordogpeople to get their pets featured on the site. While there’s no direct contest, the company is able to promote its passion (besides vodka) of reducing the count of homeless pets.

The same can work for Instagram geotags–it’s simply up to your brand to find the outlet and the right content to promote.

Start Tagging Your Content

To get users engaged with your specific Instagram location, start geotagging your own content as well. If Instagram is a big part of your overall social media marketing strategy, you have to get involved with every aspect of your Instagram account.