IN THE UK ALONE THERE ARE CURRENTLY 24 MILLION INSTAGRAM USERS; WORLDWIDE THERE ARE APPROX. 1 BILLION (READ MORE FUN FACTS ABOUT INSTAGRAM HERE)
That’s A LOT of people and if you have an Interior Design business, or you’re planning on launching one in the near future, you should have created a business Instagram account, like, YESTERDAY. Interiors, alongside fashion, photography, food and countless other creative interests is HUGE on Instagram. This is because Instagram delivers design inspiration on demand, in the form of tidy, crisp images, updated every millisecond to ensure that your cravings for beautiful visuals is satisfied.
It’s a no-brainer: if there are millions of people using Instagram to letch at beautiful interiors, in the hope of gleaming whatever inspiration or design tips they can get their grubby hands on, you should be dangling YOUR polished images and design tips in front of as many users as possible.
Why? I’m glad you asked!
to raise the visibility of your business;
to establish yourself as an expert in your field;
to elevate your personal branding;
to engage with your target audience and to learn more about their pain-points and challenges, which will feed into your overall marketing and content strategy;
to help drive traffic to your website;
to network and undertake mutually beneficial collaborations;
to make use of targeted advertising;
and ultimately to increase sales and grow your business.
But to reap the many rewards of using Instagram, you need to make sure you follow a few simple rules. We’re going to focus on two main areas in this blog post: your profile information/bio and posting images on the ‘grid’.
YOUR INSTAGRAM PROFILE
You must use a BUSINESS INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT because this will give you access to important analytics iro engagement on your posts and your audience etc. (you’ll also need a business account if you’re planning on undertaking targeted advertising). To create a business Instagram account, you must have a Facebook Page. This may seem like a huge nuisance, but if you are serious about your Interior Design business, or your future plans to launch an Interior Design business, then you NEED to prioritise social media marketing and in particular Instagram. If you don’t have a business Instagram account, create one NOW!
Keep your Username very close to what your business name is, if it has already been taken consider adding a few characters for example, the SketchUp Hub’s username is sketchup_hub. It’s VERY important that you include a few lines about your business in the Bio section. Keep it concise and to the point! Don’t ramble!
Your Profile photo should be your company logo and it should be instantly recognisable. When uploading a profile pic aim for 320 x 320 pixels.
The website section of your Instagram Profile should NEVER be blank.
It should ALWAYS reflect your most recent post on the ‘grid’ or your most recent Instagram Story (these are videos or images you can post in a different area of your account that can be viewed for 24 hours, unless you ‘highlight’ them on your Profile – we’ll discuss these in Part 2!). This link is your call to action, and where you direct people to areas on your website that YOU want them to see. It might be a blog post, information about a sale, a new client testimonial, your portfolio…whatever! The point is, there MUST be a link here at all times!
Also ensure that your contact information is provided and up-to-date and that you include your general location. Don’t force followers/potential clients to have to chase and look around for your vital data, no one has time for that!
Instagram: accessed via a SMALL device with BIG marketing potential!
This is where you sell yourself, baby!
The Instagram grid is basically your STAGE, where you post inspiring images that will grab the attention of your target audience. It’s also where you provide VALUE and make CONNECTIONS.
Your ultimate goal is to post images and create captions that encourages your target audience to ENGAGE WITH YOU, thereby gradually building a relationship of TRUST. If you have an Instagram content strategy that is on point, you’ll eventually see impressive engagement (this can be likes and/or comments) and lots of website traffic. This will eventually turn into collaborations, useful networking opportunities and sales.
TOP TIPS WHEN POSTING AN IMAGE ON YOUR GRID
1. High Quality
Make sure all of the images you post on your grid are POLISHED, PROFESSIONAL and REFLECT YOUR BRAND. No gimmicks, no salesy speak, no amateurish slanty pics and no ‘quote’ graphics (they don’t encourage engagement and offer little in the way of value). Images are found on Instagram via browsing the newsfeed or undertaking a search. Images that aren’t immediately inspiring or informative to your audience will go unnoticed. Remember, Instagram is DESIGN focused with a lot of importance placed on creativity and aesthetics. Consider this EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. YOU. POST.
2. Offer Value
All of the images you post including the caption, MUST offer some sort of industry/professional insight or valuable information (for example, design tips on how to incorporate different patterns in the same design scheme) that your target audience will find useful. Like every business, you should have undertaken market research of your target audience to establish their pain-points, challenges and interests. Before you even hit ‘share’ on your first Instagram post you should already have some sort of idea of what your audience (in other words, your ideal client) would like to see in your posts, and if you don’t, you need to start researching your market pronto! After you have published a few months worth of posts you will start to see which posts garner the most attention with your followers/audience. You should ensure that you post MORE of the same! You should also use the analytics of your account to see which day/time your followers are most active and investigate their location/age range to help inform your Instagram marketing activity/content.
Get good at cropping! There’s a very limited amount of real estate to work with because Instagram is predominately viewed on mobile devices. You need to make sure that if you’re uploading an image of an interior, for example, that you optimise this image by choosing PORTRAIT and consequently you’ll probably have to crop this image. DON’T upload the ENTIRE image and allow Instagram to automatically crop it/resize it to fit. Take the time to consider your image composition and which areas to crop so that you increase its overall visual impact. See point 4. below for more information on image size.
Learn how to crop: it all matters on Instagram
4. Optimum Image Size
Image size is EVERYTHING on Instagram. Your goal is to upload the largest image size possible because you need to make as big an IMPACT as possible to get your audience’s attention. If your image has great engagement shortly after it has been posted (likes/comments), Instagram’s algorithm kicks in and will start showing this to more users. YOU WANT THIS TO HAPPEN AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE. But you’ll be competing with a lot of other Interior Design related accounts/content when vying for the attention of your followers and target audience. So make sure that your image is as BRIGHT, CRISP, VIVID and as LARGE as possible to make sure you’re giving it as much opportunity as possible to shine!
Generally speaking there are three image sizes available on Instagram: landscape, square and portrait. We recommend ditching landscape altogether because it is just too small when showcasing design related imagery. Too much detail is lost on such a tiny image size. Just in case you’re interested though, the image size of landscape is roughly 1080 x 566 pixels.
Next up is square, which is displayed on screen at 600 x 600 pixels, however when uploading images, you should choose 1080 x 1080 (same ratio but better quality).
Then we have portrait, which is the optimum image size and should be your preference when uploading images because it uses up all of the space available and will have the biggest impact. The optimum image size for portrait is 1080 x 1350.
When you upload an image that is 1080 x 1350 or near that size and in portrait mode, select the circle symbol with the two diagonal arrows at the bottom left hand corner. This will ensure the image is displayed at its full size. If you are creating imagery to upload, like floor plans/elevations or you need to crop an image that is too wide you may need to use an image editing application like Photoshop to make sure you’re uploading images that are the correct size. Open Photoshop and create a new file, then choose the size 1080 x 1350 and use this as a guide when preparing your visual. If your image is a little smaller than 1080 x 1350 but is still in portrait aspect, don’t worry, Instagram will still post it in portrait mode, it just won’t fill the entire space as much. Go ahead and upload it!
5. Image Settings
The images on your grid need to be bright, crisp and inviting with a good overall composition to make sure they grab attention. Even though it’s useful to adjust the image in Photoshop before publishing to Instagram, the image settings on the Instagram app are actually very useful. We tend to use brightness, contrast and structure the most. Experiment with these settings to understand how they work, and how you can make your images pop.
After you have uploaded your image, you should always have copy (text) to go alongside it, in the world of Instagram this is known as a caption. Show that your images have purpose and think about what you would like to say about your image within the context of your business or the world of Interior Design. You should continually be looking for ways to add value in your posts, and the caption is the perfect way to do that. Don’t write a 500 word essay, keep it concise. If you would like to expand on this post, use your Instagram Stories to do this and direct your readers to go to your Stories (or website) for more information/advice/tips. As mentioned previously there should always be some sort of call to action in your posts too. One of your main goals with Instagram is to direct potential clients to your website. Think about how your Instagram post relates to areas of your website, if that’s a specific blog post, a free download or your updated portfolio, and include a link in your profile and mention this in your post.
These are super duper important because they help make your images more visible when users are searching for specific content on Instagram. Make sure your hashtags are relevant to your industry, your audience and your image. Don’t always use the same (boring) standard hashtags for every post. If your post/image focuses on window treatments then make sure your hashtags include things like #curtains #windowtreatments #floralfabric in addition to the more general hashtags like #interiordesign This is because general hashtags have hundreds of thousands of posts (sometimes millions), and if you don’t have an established presence on Instagram yet, your post will get lost. It’s always useful to think outside the box too when it comes to hashtags. If you give thought to some original hashtags you will increase your chances of having your post made visible to those who will find it valuable. Also, remember to include seasonal hashtags too, for example, if your post is about #christmasdecor or #londondesignweek
It’s also very useful to tag other businesses, Instagram users, Retailers or Suppliers in your posts too (but only if it’s relevant!). If you are posting an image of an interior that includes a beautiful piece of furniture from a well known Retailer, then tag them. They might re-post your image or give your business a shout-out in their Instagram Stories. This is a nice little confidence boost and great for increasing visibility of you and your business.
Keep an eye on posts that garner lots of engagement and post more of the same
Never, EVER ignore comments that are posted under your images by other Instagram users. Authentic engagement is so important when it comes to social media. Don’t forget that you should be making it a priority to engage with your target audience and followers so that they form a relationship with you. This builds trust and credibility. So if someone takes 2 minutes out of their busy day to comment on your post, take 2 minutes out of YOUR busy day to reply. Go that little bit extra by asking questions to try and get a conversation going. You’ll be surprised at how people will engage with you so much more if you show an interest in them. AND there will ALWAYS be lurkers! These people are all potential clients and you should never waste an opportunity to offer value and engage!
9. The Theme Debate
We don’t really agree with the whole ‘theme’ discussion when it comes to Instagram. Lots of blogs will tell you that you should stick to a theme or colour palette when posting images on your grid so that it looks consistent and becomes something you’re associated with, which should also reinforce your branding. Pfft! We think this is quite limiting for an industry like Interior Design, so our advice is to post whatever the heck you like as long as the image is polished, visually captivating, valuable and relevant to your audience. But we do think posting once a day is more than enough for an Instagram grid. You can continue connecting with your audience using Instagram Stories, but try to post one image a day on your grid.
WE HOPE YOU’VE FOUND THIS POST USEFUL! LET US KNOW IF YOU HAVE IMPLEMENTED ANY OF THE RECOMMENDATIONS ABOVE AND IF THEY MADE A DIFFERENCE TO YOUR ENGAGEMENT ON INSTAGRAM. IN PART 2 WE’LL BE DELVING INTO THE WORLD OF INSTAGRAM STORIES.
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