For the past month, I've been putting some energy into social media. Social media is such a great tool and I've seen it make businesses - through followers, connections, and brands. It is not something that comes natural to me, in fact it feels very unnatural and revealing, but I am working on it. No matter where on the scale of social media comfort you are, the following tips are sure to help you get more eyes on your business.
I know this because the person I asked to give me her tips on growing your Instagram following amassed over 10,000 followers in about a year. In fact, I'm pretty sure most of them came in the last six months. Her name is Meg Hosler from Meggie H Interiors. Meg told me that with little to no money to spend on marketing and advertising Instagram has become invaluable to getting her name out there. She said, "The Instagram community within design and architecture is very supportive and interactive. I have met a number of my Instafriends in person and have made some great friends. It has also been the number one way my clients find me. Instagram is also how I was discovered by The Glam Pad blog which has been invaluable to launching my career." Below are Meg's tips on how to grow your followers:
Get a separate business account:
First, do not use your personal Instagram account for business. Start a second account just for business. This account should be open to the public for viewing and you are not required to follow all of your real friends. As much as I love my friends' photos, I do not have time to scroll through all their pet, kid and vacation pictures when I am focusing on business. Follow your friends on your personal account.
Use a logo:
When you begin, use your logo rather than a photo of yourself. People are more likely to click on your logo if you like their post than a photo. You look like a business and therefore you most likely will have posts they want to see. Hence, this helps you get followers.
Follow, Like, Comment:
Follow your favorite bloggers, decorators, antique dealers, sources, and architects. Like their pictures and COMMENT! Most will reply back and they will be more likely to look at your page and they may follow you back.
Post everyday! (Editor's note: Instagram rewards consistency & activity)
Content is king:
The majority of your posts should be your home, your work, and other designers' work. Stay away from personal photos, memes, and absolutely no political posts. Too many of those and people will stop following you. (Editor's note: Good photos of yourself are beneficial, but too many personal dog/kid/food photos can be a turn-off.)
Be discerning who you let in your feed:
You do not have to follow every person who follows you. Again, this goes to pictures in your feed, that are cute, but not what you want to spend your time focusing on.
Comment & be kind:
Comment and thank people when they comment on your pictures! Potential clients will notice that you do this and it matters! People want to work with personable, kind, gracious people. If someone private messages you, message them back. It is usually for info on a paint color or fabric.
Credit & Tag:
Anytime you post someone's work, give them credit with an @ symbol then their name and a hashtag then their name. They will see this, appreciate it, often comment on your post and follow you. If they love your work, they may post one of your pictures. Getting reposted by someone with thousands of followers is one of the top ways you will get more followers. (Editor's note: Be sure to read about copyright infringement before using someone else's photo)
Say hello in person:
Any shop you follow, when you are in their city for any reason make a point to stop in and introduce yourself. ESPECIALLY if they follow you! These connections are invaluable!
Make sure you have a link to your website!!!!!
Know your ideal client:
Taking The Golden Blueprint taught me how to design my website to attract my CAM (Client Awesome Model - or ideal client). Instagram has been an extension of that and on a much more public level. Potential clients not only see my work, they also see what I like and this lets them know if we will be on the same page. As a result, although I have not had a lot of clients, the clients I have had and have are an absolute joy to work with!
I have noticed the more followers you have the more you will gain. That sounds awkward, let me try to explain, but there was this old shampoo commercial where the woman says "I told two friends, then they told two friends, then they told two friends, and so and so on", well that is basically what happens. More exposure. I went from 5,000 to 10,000 much quicker than 1 to 5,000.
Hashtagging! Use at lease 10 hashtags, I know seems super obnoxious, but it is how you get on general lists for make people who are not following you take notice.
Here are some additional tips I've picked up to add to Meg's:
Best time to post:
In the upper left corner of your profile, you can click on a bar graph that will show you your Instagram analytics. This is where you can see what hours your followers are most using the app and then use a scheduler like Later or SmarterQueue to send the post at the best time. This will get your image in front of the most amount of your followers.
Your photos should be good. And they should all have something in common visually. You want someone to look at your profile and see a beautiful consistent aesthetic. Think about using your brand colors or brand style. (Meg writes exactly what you can expect in her photos, right there in her profile: "Classic interiors with an element of fun." This way her look stays consistent.)
Call to Action:
As with all social media, including a call to action will help engagement. Double tap if you love donuts. Tag a friend who needs a pick-me-up. Let me know where you're headed on vacation this summer. These are all calls to action and effective in getting people to engage with your posts.
Not sure what to post to Instagram? Check out 30 ideas from SarahXO.
Share your best Instagram tips in the comments below!
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