Instagram’s location maps are now searchable, making it easier to discover places and businesses in your geographic area.
This update to Instagram maps makes it possible to find popular establishments near you and filter businesses by categories.
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg shares an example of the new maps experience, which you can see below:
Previously, the map experience on Instagram was limited to discovering posts tagged with nearby locations.
Now you can discover the official Instagram accounts of points of interest throughout the map.
Finding businesses on the Instagram map is as simple as searching for the name of a city and dragging the map around.
When you find a location you’re interested in, you can save it for future reference or follow the Instagram account to keep it top of mind.
This update gives businesses an incentive to establish and maintain an active presence on Instagram.
Locations are not pre-populated or user-submitted, like on Google Maps. As a business, the only way to get found on the Instagram map is to have a professional account filled in with your contact information.
Instagram Searchable Maps Vs. Google Business Profiles
In practice, the new Instagram Maps experience is similar to discovering Google Business Profiles on Google Maps.
The Instagram experience is more engaging in some ways, as you can see all kinds of visual content published by the business and interact with them directly.
You can even see content shared by other customers, provided they add the appropriate location tag. The only thing lacking from the experience is customer reviews.
Making Instagram maps searchable is a significant update for businesses. This comes when younger web users increasingly turn to Google alternatives for their search needs.
Even Google acknowledges the shift in search behavior. Google Senior Vice President Prabhakar Raghavan stated at a conference earlier this month:
“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.”
Social networks like Instagram and TikTok are fast becoming search engines in their own right, making the business case for social media usage even stronger.
If you suddenly see an influx of new customers entering your establishment, they may be finding you on the Instagram map.
Featured Image: Worawee Meepian/Shutterstock