A GUIDE ON HOW TO UNLOCK THE POWER OF VISUAL SOCIAL:
As of August, last year, there were 500 million active users on Instagram every month. Furthermore, there are approximately 300 million active Instagrammers each day. It is one of the most popular social networks to date, and it’s not planning to stop any time soon.
The visual social media network was launched back in October 2010, and it was bought by Facebook in April 2012. At the time, there were only 30 million users. One year later, Instagram introduced its advertising feature for a few selected brands.
But the potential was of such titanic proportions, that the platform eventually launched advertising for all in September 2015. And that’s when social media marketing gained a new and extremely valuable tool. So, if you’re an interior design brand and you’re not fully exploiting this social network, you are seriously missing out.
With over 95 million posts per day, Instagram for Business has become an essential element of social media marketing. It is, however, critical to develop Instagram for your design business the right way, which is why we decided to collect some valuable information to get you started, from a number of trusted resources, including Hubspot and BrandWatch.
ESTABLISH YOUR OBJECTIVES:
The first step with any social media network is to determine what you want to do with it. Goals can differ from one company to another, but for interior design brands these focus around showcasing your products and bespoke services, assisting with lead generation and definitely raising the brand awareness level to a new high.
Companies often use Instagram as a brand awareness tool and it works wonders, especially when done right. You can even start small and focus on gaining followers, and decide what strategy you’ll adopt later on. We often advise our clients to try being as specific as possible from the very beginning. The better you know what you want to achieve with a social network, the clearer the path and the better the results.
DETERMINE YOUR METRICS:
Instagram had very limited native analytics, but once the Business platform was introduced with its built-in Insights tool, using data to draw conclusions on performance was made possible. Now, you can actually see who your followers are and which posts resonates best with your audience. You can further expand on this and add a third-party application like Iconosquare, to dig even deeper into your analytics.
Putting together an effective social media strategy for Instagram is much easier when you have the data to back your decisions. You can even keep a running tally of followers gained every day/week and more. It’s important to determine these metrics before you get started, in order to increase your chances for success and also your ability to repeat what’s working and cut out what isn’t.
It can be very hard to determine a palpable value from social networks – however, that doesn’t mean there isn’t one. A lot of people ask us: “What’s the ROI on this? What’s the ROI on that?”
Unlike an e-book or a webinar that could generate copious amounts of new leads and customers, Instagram is beneficial to the heart of a company. It humanises and gives life to your brand – and in this day and age, it’s an essential feature as the demographic changes and your audience develops a taste for personal touches.
Where Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are used for business networking, sharing and promoting content, Instagram is where a design brand can also show its human side, along with its products. You want your brand’s culture to be warm, inviting and sophisticated at the same time, and Instagram is the kind of platform that can round up the right audience for this.
Most importantly, humanising your brand through Instagram is also part of the last stage of the buyer’s journey: delight. After you’ve attracted leads, gained customers, and increased your audience, giving them a community to be a part of is literally priceless.
DETERMINE BRAND GUIDELINES
Stay close to your visual style guide, if you have one (colours, fonts etc.), and make sure that your Instagram posts adhere to it. Use high-quality images of your designs – we often recommend either using great angles of singular products (i.e. pieces of furniture or lighting) or of interior compositions that feature your product in a particular setting. Users are more responsive to visual examples of what they could do with your gorgeous sofa, for example.
Be very careful with what images you use, even when you take photos with your smartphone camera. Make sure the light is right and always ask yourself: “Would I really like this if I saw it on Instagram?”
TEST, REPEAT, OPTIMISE
Now that you know what your objectives are and how you’ll be measuring your success, you can start putting together a posting schedule. Consistency is key in this endeavour. Find out what the best posting times are for Instagram and use them.
Keep an eye on the calendar and prepare a weekly posting schedule. It will give you the clarity and structure you need to achieve your goals. Most importantly, make sure you know who your audience is on Instagram.
Don’t stop testing and trying out different times and posting frequencies. What works for most may not work for your brand after all, but you won’t find out until you try it. Once you find the right formula by testing some posts and have collected data on engagement, optimise your posting schedule based on test results.
ANATOMY OF THE PERFECT PROFILE AND POST
Your business username is the heart of your Instagram social profile, and it is also what users will use to find you. Have a look at the image below for some pointers.
Don’t forget to turn on your location settings when you post on Instagram, it’s very helpful if you want people to visit your design showroom or store. Follow the advice below and you will never go wrong with Instagram.
NINE TYPES OF POSTS TO TRY OUT ON INSTAGRAM
You obviously know by now how famous food has become since Instagram was launched. You have a design brand that aims to inspire people, so don’t be afraid to post the occasional fine dining shot, particularly if the plate design is truly remarkable. We all love food – especially beautiful food – as much as we love the comfort that your design supplies.
Product-centric images are essential to your Instagram and they should form the backbone of your schedule, every week. Using the right images will move people from double-tapping to like straight to tapping the website link in your bio, bringing them closer to a potential purchase.
You can even try out some customer-centric posts. Ideally focus on user-generated content, such as your customers enjoying their new purchases – nothing spells happiness better.
Show off your team as well – it’s part of the “humanising your business” concept we explained earlier. Employee-centric images add soul to your brand, and showcasing the creative people behind your designs is always beneficial.
Event photos are always and excellent idea. Snap images from your stand at Maison & Objet or Salone del Mobile, showcase your products as they sit “centre stage” at important trade shows. Not only it validates your design brand, but it also draws interest to your business travels – a design brand that gets around is a design brand we all love.
Inspirational/motivational photos always work. You can generate quick and stylish images with platforms like Canva, using your own products and designs.
Videos and Boomerangs are all the rage on Instagram these days, and they generate tremendous amounts of engagement. Boomerang is an app by Instagram that you can use for creating short, gif-like videos.
Giveaways and contests are always a fabulous idea – not only do they increase your exposure and following, but they also bring attractive spikes in engagement. A brand that interacts with and rewards its audience is never a bad idea.
Guest takeovers can also work, especially if you’re working with a particular designer on a project or collection. Guest posts have been consistently successful as they allow you to tap into a new audience and retain new followers.
Come back next week for the second part of our Instagram guide for interior design brands, where we unlock the power of Instagram Stories, hashtags, following growth via contests, Business Tools and more.
Coshamie is a London-based boutique digital marketing agency that works exclusively with interior design and contemporary art brands, with a focus on great strategies – individually designed to grow brands and fit budgets. Our #EspressoBlog mirrors our commitment to, knowledge of and passion towards design and art. To find out more, have a look at our services or one of our case studies.