How to Use Custom Locations on Instagram and Why You Should

Update August 15, 2015: Since this post was written, Instagram has phased out this feature. Not to worry though! We have you covered and we think you'll like this post...

What to Do Now That Custom Instagram Geotags Are Gone

Yesterday we shared a #socialstudiotip on using custom Instagram locations...

I was thrilled to see our audience giving this one all the "double taps". Seriously it makes my heart soar when I see proof that we have provided a sense of value to our fans. So much so that this post actually boasted an engagement rate of 4.9% (the platform average is 4.3% - Union Metrics). Yay .6% increase! If you're thinking this is way over my head, she's kind of a geek!, you're right about one thing! I am a geek, but engagement rates don't have to be confusing! You SHOULD be focusing on these numbers verses your likes.

If you want to measure your posts engagement rate, follow this simple calculation...

Post engagement (likes, comments and clicks on trackable links [only if you were promoting a link]) + Post Reach (your total followers) ÷ = _______ x 100 = post engagement rate

Now, back to my excitement!

One of our followers, James, asked if we could provide tips for setting custom locations on an Android. My Apple-loving heart was rocked at first. Wait, not everyone uses iOS?? What?! Then I snapped back to reality and realized just because we happen to be iPhone-biased, doesn't mean that we should exclude anyone on the benefits of using custom location, no matter their smartphone preference!

Using locations on Instagram

When you use a location, custom or geotag, this gives your post an added visual element which says to your audience, "Hey! Look here! Don't you dare scroll past me!". According to Simply Measured's 2015 State of Social Marketing Report, posts that feature a location see a 50% higher engagement rate. Furthermore, when you use custom locations (sometimes referred to as mock-geotags), you're able to add extra bits of information to your post. Those extra bits, when used correctly, whether they are a headline, info related to your post, or a call-to-action, can add even MORE value to your audience. Think about your post as a whole! The image, caption, location and tagged accounts all work symbiotically to form your unique brand message.

The other great thing about adding custom locations is that you can utilize emjois to draw your viewers attention straight to your post! They serve as a relatable element which can showcase your personality and humanize your message. Win, win!

So, if I've sold you on this technique, now's the time to give it a try! Here's how it's done...

Custom locations on iOS

  • Once your photo is ready to go, select "Name This Location"
  • In the search bar, type in whatever you want your custom location to be
  • Tap on the location arrow in the upper left corner
  • Create "whatever your custom location is"
  • Done!

Extra tip: If you're anything like me, you're posting mostly from your home address. To keep from your custom location from showing up as a geotag (a clickable location which shows your audience where you are in the world), turn your location access off.

To turn location access off on Instagram: Settings > Privacy > Location Services > Instagram > Never

Custom locations on Android

  • Once your photo is ready to go, select "Name This Location"
  • In the search bar, type in whatever you want your custom location to be
  • Add "whatever your custom location is"
  • Done!

Sadly you do not have the opportunity to turn off location access when using and Android. So, keep in mind, your custom location will be a geotag and people WILL be able to see where you are in the world. So, if you're trying to post from your home, be careful!

Test It!

Now that we understand why and how you can add custom locations to your Instagram posts, it's time to test it and see if it's actually benefited us. I wanted to see if Simply Measured's stat was applicable to us so I ran our engagement rate for a past post that we did not use a custom location. See below...

In this post we saw an engagement rate of 4.8%. So for this comparison, we only saw a .1% increase when we did use a location. BUT it's still an increase! Take the above stat and test it to see if this method works for YOU! You might see an entirely different result.

Once you do test it out, let me know! Did you see an increase in your engagement rate?