If done correctly, Instagram can bring you loyal fans, all sorts of great compliments (hello, designer ego!), and best of all, clients! This is not 101-level "How to post a photo" advice - you can dig into these tips and immediately improve the way you Insta-For-Biz. (If you need 101 stuff, just leave a comment with your issue and we'll find you a resource, but for now play along and just get into this goodness with us, will ya? Thanks!)
Here we go -
Instagram for Interior Designers Tip #1: Set it up right.
If you have any intention of using your instagram for business, make sure your username matches your biz name and other branding. Mine is @hellomisha, Alycia's is @alyciawicker. If people want to look for us, we're easy to find. If your business is Santa Maria Design Co. and your insta handle is @hotnorcalmama, that's a big fat mismatch and no one's going to think you're a good professional to follow.
In your profile, add "interior designer" to the end of your name field. People can find you if they search that key term and we all want people to find us, right?
For God's sake, do NOT leave the URL field blank. Instead, use it to drive people where you want them to go - your email list, your latest project or even just your blog is better than a blank space.
The bio area is your tiny space to tell us what you're really about. Are you into all things modern? Does flooring make your heart sing? Are you powered by espresso and the color aqua? Tell us about it - people love knowing about other people. (Obviously keep it professional. Don't mention your love for vodka and Red Bull - that's your little secret.)
Instagram for Interior Designers Tip #2: We don't want to see your feet. Or your cat. Or your makeupless selfie.
We love your face and we love cats - really we do. But when nine out of ten posts have nothing to do with interior design, we get disappointed and don't know why we followed you in the first place. So go ahead and make a second account - yes, you'll have to log in and out every time to switch, but that's just part of being in business online, so don't fuss about it. If you feel it's important to include elements of your life (like your kid's soccer game, or you having cocktails with friends), go ahead and do it sparingly - maybe one out of every ten or fifteen posts. Anything more than that is just confusing and it dilutes your message.
Instagram for Interior Designers Tip #3: Incorporate business into all of your posts.
This sounds like a major "duh!" but so many people get it wrong. I'm not saying you can only post photos of fabrics and paint. If you are bored of creating design post after design post, go ahead and post a photo of something that inspires you and TELL US WHY IT DOES. The sunny yellow of your new wedge sandals inspired you to throw more citrus into a client's palette? Tell us about it. You just realized the raspberries you're having for breakfast match your favorite shade of Benjamin Moore paint? Mention it! You've got 2200 characters to work with - use them to tell us a story!
Instagram for Interior Designers Tip #4: Create compelling content.
Designer friends, you majorly luck out here. You're already working with beautiful materials and settings, and you have a knack for knowing what will catch a viewer's eye. Can you imagine how much harder this would be if you were a plumber?
Make sure your photos are clear, well composed and lit and then add a relevant caption (see point #2 - tell us a story!) that will keep your viewer coming back for more. Ideally, your follower will see the photo, read the story, look at the photo again and, of course, double tap or comment on it!
Instagram for Interior Designers Tip #5: Hashtag without shame.
#TooManyHashtags - #IsThereSuchAThing? The answer is yes, kind of. Instagram allows you to have 30 hashtags but I will tell you right now - 30 hashtags will have people unfollowing super fast. My research indicates that 7-10 hashtags generate engagement without turning people off. Feel free to use your own (hang on a sec and we'll talk about that more) and more general hashtags like #interiordesign, #carreramarble, #AnnSacks, #jadegreen and so on - just make sure they're relevant. Nothing grinds my gears more than seeing a photo of a bird with the hashtag #greensmoothie or whatever just because the poster was not paying attention or worse - hashtag stuffing.
Instagram for Interior Designers Tip #6: Hashtag Strategy - GET ONE.
You've spent a long time on your brand, right? You know who your ideal client is, what words appeal to her or him, and what's popular in your field. Use that information to develop a set of hashtags just for your brand (for example, Iron and Magnolia LOVES it when you add #designercrew!) so that fans can search with them and see what else you've posted and what others in the community have to share. Instagram user A Beautiful Mess (https://instagram.com/abeautifulmessofficial/) does a GREAT job of this - their hashtag #ABMlifeissweet has over 7000 posts - mostly user generated. They simply tell fans "use this hashtag for a chance to get featured!" This does three things - one, it gives folks a chance to find A Beautiful Mess, and two, it creates content for them to share without lifting a finger. The best thing of all? It helps their viewers feel a sense of community with the brand and with other ABM fans - and viewers who feel like their in with the in crowd tend to remain loyal.
Instagram for Interior Designers Tip #7 Tag people and places and things!
An easy way for new followers to find you is with location tags. Are you at your favorite rug store? Share a photo of the rug you're picking and add the location tag. (NOTE - if you're wary of crazy stalkers, post the photo from the parking lot on your way out of there.)
If you've got a client who'd just LOVEEEEE the new settee you're looking at (and you know they're cool with this) you can share a photo of the piece and comment that you're looking at it for @Mrs.XYZ's gorgeous new bedroom. If you've got a designer friend, you can tag them as well - "Hey, @MonicaSoAndSo - every time I see this color I think of you - we should call it #MonicaGreen! You can even tag them in the comments and in the photo itself if you're feeling like an overachiever.
As for brands, I'd definitely tag the brands in your photos if you're passionate about them. West Elm is a good example - if you tag them and/or use their hashtag #mywestelm, they just might feature you on their feed, thereby snagging you more engaged, design-minded followers.
You've got a lot to think about now, designer friend! Fix up that profile, figure out your hashtag strategy and start posting beautiful, relevant content.
If you have any questions, just shoot me an email (or leave a comment!) and we'll get it figured out for you.
See you on IG and happy posting!
Alycia Wicker is an interior design business coach specializing in online marketing strategies.Her clients land more of their own dream clients and make more cash, period. Celebrity gossip whore. Elvis-obsessed.