You may know Instagram®, but do you know the best way to use it to promote your work? Here are 10 tips for Instagram business success.
Instagram is the incredibly popular image sharing application, used to share photos and videos worldwide to over 700 million active users every month. It’s also a platform embraced by 8 million businesses and their fans, with 80% of Instagram users following a business account. A long-term relationship with Instagram can work for your business, if you use the platform effectively.
Instagram supports full size images in square or landscape orientation and you can include multiple photos in a single post. Photos are categorised by adding your location and hashtags are now organised according to popularity with a ‘top posts’ section. Paid advertising is also booming on Instagram with 1 million advertisers a month utilising ad formats such as photos, videos clips and ads within Stories, a montage of content over a 24 hour timeline.
Instagram's business capabilities are broader than ever. Tools to simplify content and ad management were introduced. Businesses can link their Instagram account to Facebook and see a summary of data such as the location, gender and age of followers over hours or days. This data can be used to identify when you should post to maximise exposure to the people you want to attract to your business or to understand the kinds of posts that are most well received.
Be warned, haphazardly posting will not guarantee instant social media success. So, here are 10 tips to successfully promote your construction business on Instagram.
1. Strive for quality content
With 300 million posts a day, high quality imagery is an absolute must to mix with the in-crowd of top posts on Instagram. Eye-catching posts that provoke users to like and comment will help land your business on the Explore page, which automatically promotes accounts based on individual user activity.
Professional photography is ideal but not always practical, so familiarising yourself with your phone’s camera can make all the difference. Look to camera features like tap to focus and spend a few moments to set up the photo by taking advantage of elevated heights and vantage points on work sites.
Step up a notch by keeping some composition rules in mind. Apply the rule of thirds by imagining what you want to capture is split into three rows containing three boxes. Position what you want to photograph within the middle row or where the corners of the boxes meet. Make use of blue sky days with plenty of natural light and as a general rule keep the sun behind you.
Don’t go overboard adding different filters to your photos because uniformity is key. Simply use the Instagram edit feature to adjust the degree of brightness, shadows or highlights and apply a consistent colour setting to give your images a uniform hue throughout your feed.
2. Posting: Add a caption, location and hashtags
Stick to a plan to make posting stress free and achieve maximum exposure. Here is a suggested approach to best manage the process.
Captions: Reserve your caption for a professional description of the post. Keep it simple and don’t make it sound like an advertisement.
Location: Instagram will use your GPS to suggest nearby locations or you can search for a specific address. This can establish an online presence, particularly for new building sites. If you are working in high traffic areas, users browsing photos tagged in that location will see your post and know your construction business is active in the area.
Hashtags: Hashtags are labels you can add to your post. They should be relevant to best categorise your content. Adding hashtags does not have to be guesswork. A few moments spent searching through commonly used tags to see what is popular in the construction industry will be well worth it. A great starting point is to save a maximum of thirty hashtags, split into broad and niche categories for ease of copying and pasting.
A popular technique is to post a group of hashtags into a comment in order to keep your caption clean. But remember, broad hashtags with over a million posts such as #construction or #architecture will get your post exposure, but it will be lost within minutes as new posts under the hashtag are added. For this reason, make sure you utilise a variety of hashtags, including niche topics for a greater chance of keeping your post visible and potentially being added to the “top posts” section. Don’t forget to include the area you are working in such as #sydneyharbour or any nearby landmarks for added exposure.
3. Take advantage of video
Timelapses, sped-up videos recording changes over the course of a project, are a great way to promote work on a construction site with an emphasis on progress. Short timelapses of fast moving events like moving machinery or construction workers on site, can easily be filmed using the Hyperlapse app on a smartphone. To capture slow changes like the construction of a wall, opt for a camera on a tripod, and use video editing software to cut it down to a maximum of 60 seconds. Send the video to your device via a cloud service for upload to Instagram.
Think outside the box and capture moments from building sites that offer a unique bird’s eye view from a drone. Also, videos showing precision or symmetry are notorious for going viral, like this video of the often unappreciated task of laying a road amassing millions of views.
4. Include multiple photos in one post
Maintaining a variety of content on your feed is crucial, no one likes to see a row of photos that look really similar. On the other hand, it is also beneficial to post a detailed portfolio of the one project or a series of images showing the progression of a build. This is where the new multiple photo carousel comes in, indicated by dots under a post, with up to 10 photos uploaded enabling users to scroll through a detailed account of your work.
5. Be fun, passionate and creative: Inspire potential customers
Post content that is fun and shareable, prompting users to tag their friends in your posts. This will drive genuinely interested viewers to your account and will help make them feel they are making a personal choice to follow your account. Keep the 80/20 social media promotion rule in mind, ensuring 80% of your content is informative, inspiring and entertaining, putting 20% aside for a more direct approach to promoting your company.
Capture unique shots from building sites, like using Boomerang to post a crane manoeuvring a skip bin 20 stories high. Futuristic drawings of plans in the design phase are useful to get attention and start a conversation. Take advantage of trends, posting emotive imagery of architecture and interior design, emphasising that your business can make it possible. Track your insights to understand what is generating the most comments and take note of how many people are being tagged to gauge what content is in demand.
Above all, don’t just post flawless shots of completed projects. People are often unaware of the intricacies involved in construction, so go behind the scenes and explain the process to give your work a human and relatable element. This reinforces your expertise, skill and knowledge.
6. Use influencers to expand your exposure
Collaborate with other businesses that already have an established Instagram presence. Collaborations, sharing each other’s posts or getting a shout-out recommending people follow your account, doesn’t always have to be a paid deal. Current partners or industry contacts you regularly work with can help.
7. Take the plunge with advertising
Become one of the one million active monthly advertisers on Instagram to amplify your social presence. The placement of ads on Instagram requires a Facebook account to access the ad creation tools. You have the choice of ads being placed as either photos or videos throughout users’ Home Feeds or included during relevant Instagram Stories.
Ads can be targeted and seen by users based on their interests, demographics and location to best match your business. Further remove the guesswork by tracking the progress of your campaign through detailed metrics, broken down into performance, demographics and placement where you can monitor crucial details such as engagement and cost per result.
8. Tell Stories
Stories, a montage of photos and video clips added together over a continuous 24-hour timeline, has over 200 million people using the feature every day. Stories is easily accessed by tapping on an accounts profile photo if it is circled by an orange and purple ring. Clips are added to Stories throughout a 24 hour period so users get a raw glimpse into the day-to-day operations of your business. Don’t forget to add a location sticker or type a hashtag as text over the actual content. This will make your story visible at the top of hashtag lists or on the explore page as part of
9. Plan, Plan, Plan
No matter how high quality your content is, failure to stick to a posting schedule will hinder your growth. Think about the flow of your feed, alternating your posts between showcasing the big picture vision of your company, past and future projects, entertaining video content and the human element of the individuals behind your company. Each month, take some time to map out any industry events, newsworthy issues or seasonal trends to target and time your posts accordingly. If all else fails, refer back to your analytics and adapt your posting schedule to best target your audience at high traffic times.
10. Optimise your Bio
Perhaps the simplest task but the most important is filling out your name and contact details so your account is visible and search friendly. Ensure your Instagram username is simple without convoluted symbols and write your official business name again in the profile name section. Remember, using the word ‘contractors’ in the name section rather than ‘construction contractors’ may limit visibility because this field is searchable. Restrict the bio section to a clear description of what your business. Make sure you are using a business account so you can access the call to action buttons, making it simple for people to click on your contact details.
With 400 million daily active users and the ability to measure success, Instagram is a valuable platform to promote a business like building and construction where the work you do has powerful visual impact. Implement these tips and your business will be covering bases necessary to gain a valuable following and stanand-hashtag-stories-on-explore/
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