It’s the early 2000s (when hashtags were an unused symbol on your keyboard gathering dust). You’re going out for food and drinks; chances are you’re choosing somewhere you’ve been recommended by a friend.

Fast-forward to 2021 and Instagram search is a key part of the consumer journey when it comes to decision making, from holiday destinations to takeaways.

According to Hootsuite, 81 per cent of users’ research products and services on the platform, just like Google, hence the rise in the phrase ‘Instagram SEO’. So what does this mean for your brand and how can you get found?

We’re not saying abandon Google and ignore your ratings but to add Instagram search into your mix when it comes to checking reviews and levels of enjoyment. Google often becomes the secondary search for consumers once they’ve discovered you on Instagram.

In the moment

Ensure there are plenty of pictures from genuine, non-ad accounts that showcase your environment. How many times have you walked into a hotel room and said: “This looks different to how it appeared on their website”?

Instagram search offers an authentic ‘in the moment’ view from real people as opposed to staged shots which might appear on your website.

Spider web

Like a spider’s web, users can find you through their own investigation of an area and their consumer journey often looks like this.

Firstly, they search for the location e.g. Abersoch and see a user has tagged themselves in at your restaurant. Do the photos reflect what you want people to see?  Consider how your food and drink looks, or the interior design.


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A post shared by Discover Llyn (@discover_llyn)


It’s also a good way of keeping an eye on what is being said about your business, whether good or bad! Engage with all to show off your personality and build relationships.

Your previous customers can be a powerful selling-tool: it’s becoming more common for Instagrammers to contact users and ask for honest reviews of where they have checked in.





Pictures paint a thousand words

Instagram is visual led so it has an advantage over other review and pictures help sell your products and services.

Is the presentation of your dishes up to scratch? Are people taking interesting snaps on your tour? Does the hotel décor need to change? If you’re surrounded by stunning views, are you capitalising on them?

Your channel

Don’t neglect your own channel. Ensure you are adding your business location to your own photos and make sure they showcase what you’ve got to offer.


Make a section of your establishment the envy and must-have snap for Instagrammers.

For example, The Florist in Liverpool takes advantage of a huge wall of flowers which winers and diners love to pose in front of.


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A post shared by The Florist (@thefloristuk)

These aesthetically pleasing photos rake in the likes and comments on Instagram and ultimately encourage people through the door to recreate the snap. It also helps clearly separate its brand from competitors.


Encourage people to say where they are. Posts with a location receive 79 per cent more engagement which in turn means they fair well with Instagram’s algorithm and are more likely to be seen. Offer a discount or free drink for each person who adds your location to their photo.



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A post shared by Flintshire Eats🍴 (@flintshireeats)

Using the previous example, there are accounts such as AbersochLife linked to the seaside-town. If your organisation is based in Flintshire, are you featured on FlintshireEats? Collaborating with other relevant profiles increases your chances of being found via search and gain more exposure.

Tagging vs added location

Remember that whilst you can remove your business’ tag from a photo, you cannot remove a location, which is the key contributor to search. This means it’s harder to be dissociated with the content – including if it’s negative.