On September 14, Instagram announced it was introducing a new feature – Map Search – to its Aussie and NZ markets. The social media platform has plans to expand this out to users in other parts of the world, but for now, it’s the Trans-Tasman that gets to play with Instagram’s latest update.
In a statement on the news, Instagram shared that the introduction of Map Search is the latest in its features seeking to support small businesses; following the launch of the “Support Small Business” sticker. But what is it and how can you best put it to use? Let’s take a look.
What is Instagram Map Search?
Instagram described the feature as “a new tool to discover and support small businesses”, particularly those in your immediate area during the lockdown experience so many Aussies are living through right now.
If your daily walks have you curious about where you can grab a quality takeaway coffee or order your next meal, Map Search has been designed to help with that.
In essence, the feature has introduced an interactive map to Instagram – one that’s populated with popular tagged locations close to where you currently are. It’s kind of similar to Google Maps Explore, but hinged on popular Instagram activity.
On the update, Kenneth Rodrigueza, Founder and Director of Donut Papi in Redfern shared that:
“The majority of our customers are on Instagram, so when we decided to change our whole operation from face-to-face to online-only during lockdown, Instagram allowed us to communicate with our customers in an efficient and visual way. Stories in particular provides quick updates for customers whenever there are specials, changes, and announcements.
“We’re excited about the launch of Map Search. Instagram is such a big platform that despite being a Redfern local of more than three years, we have some neighbours that are only just discovering us now. Map Search could also be a helpful tool to someone who just moved into a new neighbourhood for discovering cafes and restaurants around them.”
How do you use it?
- When you next open the Instagram app, you’ll see a new map icon in Explore (top-right, next to the search bar). Click that icon and you’ll be brought across to Map Search.
- From here, you can simply explore the venues listed under Popular Nearby (clickable categories like Restaurants, Cafes, Sights and Parks are listed here).
- Alternatively, you can use the in-feature search button to look for specific hashtags that are relevant to your needs, like #takeaway, to see what popular options show up nearby.
Sure, some of us are a little limited in what we can do with this tool right now (thanks, COVID-19) but it is a sweet little feature that may help you stumble on a small business you would have otherwise never known about.
Talk about feeling like a tourist in your own area.