Instagram Adds Maps, Another Reason for Small Business Owners to Pay Attention

instagram maps screenshotDo you use Instagram? The photosharing app has gotten huge in the last year, and now boasts 80,000,000 users. To put it in perspective, that’s almost ten times the entire population of NYC. Plus, it was acquired by Facebook for – no joke – a billion dollars. That gives the service access to the money and resources of one of the top tech companies in the world. Long story short, Instagram isn’t going anywhere, and it’s a force to be reckoned with.

The first big new feature announcement since the acquisition was rolled out yesterday. It’s called photo maps, and it’s essentially geolocation. Your photos are displayed on a map based on where they were taken, with the streamlined and simple design we’ve come to expect from the service. ┬áPreviously the only way to experience Instagram photo was as a timeline, moving backward or forward through the past. The new map feature is much more immersive, and helps conjure that feeling of “being there” even better, which is exactly what we want from our photos in the first place.

We hear a lot these days about how brands should be engaged in storytelling, and Instagram is a great place to start. Small businesses can use the new mapping feature to be engaged with their customers and consumers throughout where they live, not just where they do business. It’s easy to imagine a small business taking photos where they source supplies, with partners in the community, or at drop-off point for deliveries to bring that business to life, so to speak. And what if a small business found a way to encourage folks to tag photos from their location? It’d be a great way to get a business name our to the networks of those users. Think of Instagram’s new map feature as another way for customers to find you – with the built-in trust bonus of a referral from their network.

Have an Instagram marketing idea? Let us know in the comments. And check out these examples of brands using Instagram to help get the word out.