Of all of the social media outlets available for interior designers to promote their businesses, Instagram has a special place in my heart.
I love how it prioritizes aesthetics and encourages users to tell visual stories. And on Instagram, it seems easier to escape the divisive diatribes and overshares that tend to plague other outlets.
I love Instagram the most because you can get a clear sense of what someone is all about — their interests, personality, process, and style — just by taking a quick look at their little squares. Instagram makes it easy to cultivate a living lookbook. That’s right. Your very own look book. Let me break that down for you even further – your very own media. There’s no need to wait to be featured in a magazine when you have media at your fingertips right here, right now. Let that sink in.
For a long time, I’ve been speaking to how important it is to share your process along with your reveals as a way to visually articulate your expertise. This year I layered in yet another element, and that’s to sprinkle in photos for you in your feed. You in your zone, You with your team. You with your dog. You appreciating a passion outside of your work ( for example, clean eating, gardening, fitness, or whatever else you’re passionate about!). You doing you. I came on hard about this as a reminder that “relationship” is at the crux of our service business and people do business with people they like – it’s actually a trio of Like, Know & Trust. That means these little squares we call Instagram is your opportunity to start the conversation and build – likability and trust by allowing your audience to get to know you.
Instagram’s popularity only continues to grow, and in my experience, homeowners often look to Instagram for decor ideas for their own homes. That means it’s a tool that’s only growing in importance for interior designers.
Here’s how to make the most out of the tool to boost the visibility of your interior design business.
Share Better Photos
Let’s start with the most obvious way to improve your feed: Better photos.
Most of the interior designers I work with already have a great eye for photography and perspective. They know how to take a good photo. That said, unless we’re professional photographers, almost all of us have some room to improve.
First, it’s worth mentioning ideal photo shape and resolution.
I recommend always shooting in full-size. Instagram allows an 8×10 aspect ratio, and these sized photos take up even more space on the screen and can get more attention. I also suggest shooting in as high of a resolution as possible. Even though the size will be reduced when you post it, size limits may change in the future. Plus, a higher resolution can make the image useable in other places, such as in print if you ever need it.
Once you have the technical details down, you can make an effort to improve any of the following in your photos:
- Lighting – This is probably the biggest factor in how good a photo looks. Shoot in natural light as much as possible.
- Composition – Try using the “rule of thirds” to make sure the photo feels balanced.
- Alignment – When you’re shooting interiors, in particular, it can help to use a grid tool to make sure walls and floors are perfectly aligned.
- Perspective – Sometimes shooting from up high or even down low can make a big improvement to your photos.
Beyond all of the technical improvements that can be made to your photography, one easy way to improve your feed is to simply take them more often, which allows you to be more selective about which ones you choose to post. Quality favors quantity every time.
Cultivating a collection of Instagram-worthy images isn’t exactly easy. If you struggle to get enough photos to post consistently, follow some of the tips in my post Establishing a Continuous Marketing Cycle for Your Business.
Mix it Up
Besides the photos themselves, the next best way to improve your Instagram feed is to get a clear sense of how the collection of photos looks together as a whole.
Your potential followers will want to get a sense of who you are and what you’re about before they hit the follow button. In other cases, clients may seek out your Instagram profile to get a clearer sense of your work before they book a meeting.
In these cases, they’ll be looking at the entire collection of photos on your profile. If too many of your photos are similar, the collection will look off-balance. The best interior design firm Instagram accounts have a nice mix of:
- Detail shots
- Portfolio shots
- Photos of yourself, and you do you
- Professionally designed inspirational quotes
You can use an app or software tool to see how your feed will look in a grid layout ahead of time. I use Planoly, but there are plenty of options available. Given the right tools, designers usually thrive with this kind of visual work. Creating your Instagram feed should feel similar to creating a mood board for your clients. It should be cultivated with just as much care and attention to detail.
Leverage the Power of Video
The main goal of your Instagram feed should be to build a rapport with your prospective clients – and with insta-stories, IGTV it’s a brilliant way to level up your opportunity for connection.
You want to be working with clients who consciously chose to work with you. (For more on identifying these ideal clients, check out my post Do These Things and Your Clients Won’t Give Competitors a Second Look.) These are the clients who want to develop a relationship with you personally and support someone they believe in. So, give potential clients a sense of your personality by using videos.
Instagram videos don’t have to be long or involved. Simply hearing your voice and seeing you live tends to give followers a clearer sense of who you are. Also, I would guess you can far better articulate something in conversation vs. writing it down. Speaking via insta-stories or IGTV makes your audience feel connected to you before they ever reach out for that Meet & Greet. As this helpful Recode article on Instagram stories explains, they’re supposed to be “spontaneous, realistic and fun — a simple slice of real life, or a daily video journal.” Plus, insta-stories or IDTV is a powerful way to convey the sense of passion you feel for your work more directly and clearly.
For an example of how I use stories, head over to Interior Design Master Class on Instagram and click on my “Fridays” story. I use these videos to connect with followers, and I hope that my values, my message, and my communication style comes through clearly.
Stay Authentic (And Consistent)
Even if an image is really beautiful and helps balance the rest of the photos in your collection, it isn’t Instagram-worthy unless you personally and unabashedly love it.
After all, as fun as social media use can be, its main purpose is to build a rapport with your potential clients who love your work – serving as a tool to usher a new conversation for you and them.
And you won’t get more of those clients by posting a variety of different style types, no matter how beautiful each image is on its own. You also don’t get more of those clients by saturating your feed with other peoples’ work.
Curating a distinctive aesthetic takes time, but it’s worth it. Before you post any photo, you might ask yourself whether you’d consider opting for a similar look in your own home.Your potential followers are bombarded with images and media throughout the day. If you want to be noticed, you have to stand out. Click To Tweet
Cultivating a high impact feed is yet another way that shines the spotlight on the experience you’re holding yourself accountable to delivering. Never forget it’s your responsibility to make it easy for people to want to like, know and trust you.
A cohesive feel to your feed is always visually pleasing. Photos with a similar tonal value is a sure fire way to achieve this. That doesn’t mean that you can’t try new things or that your style can’t evolve. But you can branch out over time in a way that doesn’t seem jarring or discordant from your other photos.
If you have any questions or want to consult with me on this topic one-on-one, please reach out and contact me directly. I specialize in helping interior designers of all experience levels reach their full business potential.
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