A Contractor’s Guide to Instagram
Reading time: 8 minutes 15 seconds
Instagram has quickly established itself as one of the most popular social media platforms, with around 1 billion monthly users. The latest stats show that 80% of all Instagram accounts follow a business, making Instagram a great platform for contractors to connect with a wider audience and showcase their projects. Instagram is easy to use once you know how; in this guide we’ve put together a comprehensive overview along with some insider tips from our social media expert to help you get started.
Step 1: Setting up your Instagram account
Creating an account: The good news is that it’s really easy to get started on Instagram, plus it’s available on both IOS and Android and free to download. Just “Sign Up” and follow the simple steps to create an account. This can either be done through providing an email and password or by linking your account to your Facebook profile.
Top Tip: Instagram is owned by Facebook, so if you already have a Facebook Business account you can link these profiles. This means that you can respond to comments and messages through the Facebook Business webpage and easily post content from your Instagram account on your Facebook page.
Username: When setting up your account you will need to decide on a username. A name that represents you or relates to your services will help your account to reach the right people. Keeping it simple works best and stops things becoming overcomplicated.
Business Settings: Once you’ve created your account, go to the settings and click “Switch to Business Profile”. This will enable you to track activity on your account and gain valuable insights into who’s viewing and interacting with your posts. It also enables a call and email button at the top of your profile, which allows people to get in contact with you directly by clicking one button.
Profile Picture: Add a profile picture that best represents you and your service. This could be a relevant graphic or a good quality headshot. This will be the first thing that your followers see so make sure that it creates the right impression.
Bio: Next, you’ll need to write a bio. There’s only space for 150 characters so keep it concise. This will provide your followers with insight into who you are and what you do, so it’s worth taking the time to make sure it’s right. You can also add links into your bio directing people to your website or blog if you have one. It is worth frequently updating your bio to make sure that it best represents what you currently do.
Top Tip: You can incorporate hashtags into your bio, which can be another way of helping people to find your account. Individuals can follow hashtags in the same way that they can follow accounts on Instagram.
Link all your social media accounts: It is possible to link your Instagram account with your accounts on other social media platforms. As a busy contractor, this facility reduces the time you have to spend updating a number of different accounts. By linking all your accounts together you can send your posts from Instagram easily, making the most of other platforms.
Step 2: Things to consider before posting
It’s worth spending some time considering a few key areas before you begin posting. This will help you to target the right followers and maximise your success with posting.
Do your research - Looking at other accounts will help you to understand what works well and what doesn’t. Using popular hashtags will also allow you to explore trends and topics. Researching influencers within your sector will help to increase your awareness of what is trending and what is popular with followers. You’ll be able to use this information to ensure that your posts are tailored to suit your audience.
What is the focus of your account – Before posting, it’s important to consider the focus of your profile. Having a clear vision and strategy will help to direct your visual style. As you build your own community, you’ll be able to update followers on your journey, showcasing your latest developments.
Who to follow - Instagram allows you to easily interact with other accounts and you’ll need to follow accounts so that users will follow you back. You can follow industry bodies to keep updated on the latest news and businesses that fall within your target client base. By interacting with other accounts and commenting on posts you’ll be able to start developing your own network of followers.
Step 3: Editing Your Images
Contractors can often be pressed for time but editing your photos on Instagram is quick and easy to do. Once you’ve taken a photo, click ‘edit’ and a number of different filters will be available to you. We’ve picked out 5 of the most popular filters to help you get started:
1. Clarendon – great for brightening/highlighting your photos and making those colours pop.
Top Tip: After using Instagram for a while, you’ll use certain filters more often. You can speed up your editing by reordering and hiding filters in the editing window. Scroll to the end of the filter list and click “Manage”. From there, you’ll be able to reorder filters by dragging them up or down, or delete them by removing the tick from them.
Step 4: Writing a Caption
Once you’ve edited your post, you’ll need to come up with an attention grabbing caption. It’s important to remember that only the first 125 characters will be shown before someone will have to click to “see more.” Keeping your posts brief will help to combat this. Hashtags are an important feature of Instagram and can help you reach a new audience who may be interested in your services. By using a maximum of 5 hashtags in your captions, you can target specific profiles without looking as if you are trying to spam. Use a consistent tone throughout your posts. While light-hearted posts work well on Instagram, this might not always fit in with your posting style.
Including a call to action will direct people to your website or blog. While you can’t click directly on a link in your caption, you can link it in your bio. It’s important that any call to action uses strong action words, such as “get in touch” or “view my portfolio here”
Step 5: Posting
You want to showcase your work in the best way possible - here are 4 tips to help you get it right:
- Post consistently – you don’t have to post every day, but consistent and reliable posting works well. It is better to make sure that you’re posting quality photos and videos that will interest your followers, rather than worrying about the quantity of images.
- Tag your location – this will allow you to target your local market and promote your work in this area.
- Vary the type of post that you upload – while photos are a great way of showcasing your skills, videos are also useful. If possible, use both to allow you to engage with people in different ways.
- Keep your posts authentic – people want to see the real side of your work. Think of a project as a story that you’re telling and take the follower on a journey with you.
Over 400 million people use Instagram Stories every day making them an important feature of the app. They allow users to instantly update their followers on what’s currently happening and can be posted as either videos or photos. Once uploaded onto Stories, a post only remains on Instagram for 24 hours before it disappears. This creates a buzz around the latest stories as they pop up for a limited time only. While Story uploads disappear after 24 hours, it’s possible to add them to a highlight feature on your profile. This is particularly useful if you are working on a longer project and would like to chart the progress as it happens before documenting the entire project in one place. You can have a number of different highlighted features, updating and deleting them as you require. Unfold is a popular app that allows you to illustrate your story with different layouts. It provides you with a more professional finish and ensures that the end result looks consistent throughout your all uploads.
There is a series of apps that Instagram has brought out to help you edit your posts:
Layout: Allows you to incorporate a number of different images into one master image, neatly offering you a number of different display options.
Boomerang: gives you the option to create to create fun videos that loop back and forth.
Hyperlapse: for creating time-lapse videos that stimulate interest and engage your audience Keeping your followers on your Instagram profile for longer increases the chances of your pictures being shared with a larger audience.
By following these top tips you can create an Instagram profile that raises your contractor profile and adds an extra dimension to your online presence. This can help you to stand out from the competition and shows you’re at the forefront of the social media curve.
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