Instagram seems to be testing a feature that allows local businesses to better showcase themselves on the platform.
Twitter user Raj Nijjer recently shared a tweet of what appears to be in-app local business profile pages.
At first glance, these appear very similar to the local knowledge panels Google My Business displays for local businesses.
They include the company address, business category, hours of operation, pricing (similar to Google’s setup of this feature, with more dollar signs indicating a more expensive place), website, and phone number.
Of course, at the top are the company’s Instagram-specific attributes like a link to the company profile, as well as three images. It’s unclear if the page pulls the three most recent posts from the business’s Instagram page or if the account managers can choose their own.
You’ll also see that the pages have a “claim” button on the top right. This allows business owners to claim a particular location so they can customize their profile, similar to Yelp or Foursquare.
This suggests that pages may be automatically be created based on locations users tag, but this is unclear.
It’s also not yet known if there are additional features the business can add once a page is claimed - but some possibilities are a menu option, common questions, and answers, or add reviews.
Why Can’t I See This Feature?
If you’re not able to view this page, you’re not alone.
Many Twitter users replied to Nijjer’s tweet with the same issues.
The lack of visibility surrounding these pages is likely due to Instagram beta testing this tool, and this Twitter user was lucky enough to have caught it.
Nijjer told Search Engine Journal he had found the feature by searching a company’s location and clicking a large “view information” button that appears on the page.
Based on this, we can further assume that this will be a location-based feature, not necessarily a company-wide one. This will help differentiate businesses that have several different locations in a similar area.
It’s not yet known when Instagram plans to roll out this feature to all users, these screenshots are evidence at least some users are seeing it.
What This Means for Marketers
For one, if you’re a local business, keep an eye out for this feature so you can claim your business and start optimizing it.
This change also speaks to Instagram solidifying its place as so much more than a lifestyle platform.
This page provides detailed information about the business that allows consumers to learn more about them without having to leave the platform.
For example, if you’re looking for a restaurant, you can browse photos from the business’ profile page along with tagged photos, and then view the company profile to learn more, and even call and make a reservation directly on Instagram.
This can also apply to B2B companies as well. Say, if you’re evaluating a co-working space and want to see more about where it’s located, and view contact information. It can also be great for recruitment purposes - Instagram is great for displaying culture, and having that contact information directly on the platform can help bring the applicant full circle to learn more about your company.
Over the past year, Instagram has been adding many features that allow companies to better close the loop in the buying cycle through Instagram directly.
They added the shopping feature to cater to eCommerce platforms in early 2018, and it looks like they’re now expanding to appeal to local businesses.
This change brings an important lesson all marketers - Instagram is a force to be reckoned with. The company is not settling for just being a photo platform and with its ever-growing, diverse user base, and Facebook at its helm, there’s no stopping where it can go next.