In the digital age, it is hard to come across anyone without a social media account. That is why businesses recognize it as a powerful marketing tool. While many organizations outsource their social media marketing to professionals, due to the ease of usage, plenty of others do their own social media marketing. This article focuses on Instagram and the several ways you can make the application your marketing bestie.
Instagram is a photo and video-sharing social media network giant that burst into the digital sphere in 2010. Also known as Insta or IG for short, Instagram has 1 billion active users as of 2021. It was bought by Facebook in 2019 and shares similar features such as “stories”, “live”, “direct messaging” and “reactions”.
With a robust and user-friendly interface, and the number of users increasing every day, and more importantly, the ability to view analytics and insights for each post, the social media platform has proved to be a highly powerful marketing tool for interior designers.
There are many ways to make Instagram work for your design business, including with paid promotional or sponsored posts, but there are also organic hacks, explained below, which do not require any monetary investment but require a lot of commitment, consistency, and creativity on your side.
Tips and Tricks to Boost Your Insta Game
While many designers feel that posting on social media platforms like Instagram haven’t got them any new clients, many others claim that almost 80% of their clients come from Instagram. The difference lies in how you engage the application to work for you. Below are some tips and tricks and easy-to-navigate ideas to increase engagement, gain more followers, and get more clients via Instagram.
1. Maintain Consistent Profiles Across Platforms
Ensure that you have a great profile picture of yourself and see that it is consistent across all social media platforms. You do not want to confuse your clients with multiple names, logos, colors, and business details. Keep your branding unified.
2. Have Only One IG Account for Your Business
This is simple yet very important. Do not make multiple accounts for your business. Have just one account and maintain a nice balance of personal and professional. Customers like to see the personality behind the designs, so don’t be afraid to share a nice picture of yourself, either at work or with your family, on your Instagram feed.
3. Invite With a Live Link
Invite clients, family, and friends to follow your page via email or text message. But make sure you insert a live link to your page in the message. This means that recipients can just click on the link, and it should take them to your Instagram page, which displays the “Follow” button. Don’t expect all your clients or friends to open Instagram, manually search for your profile and then hit ‘Follow’. Very few would have the patience for that. Instead, reduce the risk of distractions by sending them the live link.
4. Followers Versus Following
Ideally, your followers to follow ratio should be leaning more towards your ‘followers’ than your ‘following’, or they should at least be equal. In other words, you should have more people following you than the number of people you are following. Having more ‘followers’ than ‘following’ builds an idea of trust and credibility about your business for the visitors to your page. For this reason, you might want to unfollow accounts that no longer interest you.
5. Show Your Face in Your Profile Picture
Customers react positively towards pictures of faces rather than of a logo or a building. Clients like to see the personality of the designer they are choosing, and it helps make a personal connection. This way, your clients can already picture a face on the voice at the other end of the phone on your initial discovery calls. So make sure you have a bright, smiling, inviting picture of yourself in your profile picture.
6. Who to Follow on Instagram?
Follow accounts that give you joy, value, and inspiration while scrolling through your posts. They could be friends and family, restaurants, salons. Also, follow other designers and colleagues that inspire you. Follow your clients, even if they are private accounts. Follow your vendors and favorite retailers. Follow magazine editors, both print and digital, where you would love to get your work featured. And, don’t forget to follow influential people and companies in your area. You can follow up to 7,500 people on Instagram, whereas there is no upper limit on the number of people who can follow you.
7. Build Engagement
Reach out to your community through Instagram as frequently as possible to build engagement for the algorithm to count your account as active. Likes, comments, and direct messages count as engagement. It is important that you comment on posts and stories as much as possible. Let yourself be seen. And, everyone appreciates the attention given to them.
This builds engagement on your posts, which will make Instagram show your posts to more of your followers. If someone comments on your post, respond to it as quickly as possible and with at least three words or more in the comment. If you like someone else’s post, for example, something a magazine editor posted, then comment on that post. Comment without expecting anything in return. What this does is, it familiarizes them with your name and your business, and the next time the editor considers a special publication, your business could pop into their minds first!
8. Master the Hashtag Game
A hashtag is a user-generated component that can be used to search for specific topics. Users can add up to 30 hashtags for each post. Adding a relevant hashtag to your posts allows users to find you when they search for something design-related. Also, use localized hashtags. For example, if you’re a designer based in Miami, include hashtags such as #miamiinteriordesigner, #miamiinteriordesign, #miamidesigner, and #miami to catch the eyeballs of people in Miami. Consider trying the 10/10/10 strategy where you use 10 high volume hashtags that best match your account (such as #interiordesigner and #miami), 10 hashtags that have medium volume that go a bit more specific (such as #miamiinteriordesigner), and then 10 hashtags with low volume that speak to your image/post (such as #redsofa).
9. Be Consistent
The reason why someone follows you is that they are interested in what you do and expect you to keep them interested. Therefore, be consistent with your posting. Set a specific goal for your Instagram management about how many posts you must post in a week and adhere to it. The more you post, the more interested you keep your followers, and the more engagement it builds.
10. Quality Over Quantity
While it is important to post consistently, keep in mind that maintaining the quality of your posts is very important. Anyone scrolling through your posts must be made to feel like they want to see more and more of your posts. Therefore, post high-quality, bright, and creative pictures to your feed. If you think a photo isn’t of the best quality, upload it to your stories so that it is visible to your followers but vanishes after 24 hours. Use tools like Canva.com to create readymade posts for your Instagram stories or feed because the quality of your posts will reflect the quality of your business.
11. Watch Your Analytics
The analytics tab on your Instagram profile is your built-in media activity detective. So keep a close eye on it.
The analytics will provide you with key insights on which posts are performing better than others, who your key audience is, where they are located, what time of the day and week they are most active, and what their age group is. This kind of market survey will help you decide what types of posts you can promote so that your business can get more eyeballs.
12. Set Up Your Business Profile
If you are still on a “creator” account, switch to a “business” account. This gives you more control and insights over your audience. Your profile should have all the information that the client is looking for. So make sure to include your business email, phone number, website, and a call to action button. The ‘call to action’ button can lead your audience directly to your website.
13. Plan Your Social Media Calendar
While there are many digital platforms such as Tailwind, Hootsuite, Planoly, and Planet to help create a social media calendar, you can easily make one yourself with the help of a drawing pad or spreadsheet. Spend an afternoon and plan out carefully what you would like to post each day, how you want to caption them, and what hashtags you want to use for each post. This makes the activity less stressful and more enjoyable, and it makes for easy posting during those busy weekdays.
14. Spruce Up Your Bio
Your bio page is your resume in a nutshell. Keep it crisp and catchy by letting visitors know why they should follow your business. You should also include a clickable link in your bio that takes your visitors to your website which will give them a more detailed tour of your business. This could be your blog, gallery, or even a landing page for an upcoming workshop you’re curating. As an alternative, use Linkin.bio by Later and each post will click through to different pages.
15. Organize Your Highlights
The highlights section appears on your profile just below your bio. When you share stories on your profile, they disappear after 24 hours. One way to show your visitors your design talents is to organize your stories as highlights. You can make highlights about specific spaces such as bathrooms or kitchens and then add your stories to those highlights. This way, when a visitor clicks on the bathrooms highlight button, it will show them all the stories you have shared about bathroom designs. Another way to effectively use highlights is to have a Reviews highlight. When someone posts a review about your work, screenshot it, share it as a story and add it to your highlights. This way, all your reviews are organized under one tab and can be viewed by your audience.
If you have a physical location of your business, then make sure you tag the location. This makes your posts visible to anyone who clicks on the location. Encourage all your team members to add the geotag to the pictures they post of your projects. And, while we are on the topic of geography, make sure to sprinkle in your target town/area in your bio description and posts. If people don’t see your location, they’ll assume you aren’t close to them.
17. Create Catchy Captions
Create eye-catching captions for your post. Sometimes a catchy one-liner should do the job, but other times, a story about the post creates more interesting engagement with your audience. This is also a great place for you to show off your expertise to your audience. Keep in mind that each and every post should be driven towards creating value for your business, although this does not mean that each post should be self-promotional. Build the narrative of who you are, what your business is about, in each post, and the sales will come.
Summing it up
There are so many ways to utilize Instagram to make your business visible to your target audience. Try and maintain an organic growth of your followers through regular engagement on the platform. If such regular activities isn’t your cup of tea, grab your junior designer and see if they are up for the task. If not, you might want to turn to other forms of marketing that can be more easily outsourced such as blog writing, SEO, and Google advertising. Instagram is not for everyone.
Do you have an Instagram marketing hack that has helped boost your engagement? Let us know in the comments below.