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Tough-love Business Coach. Marketing Magician. Inner Imposter Buster. Cocktail Connoisseur. And Queen Of Unpopular Opinions.
Instagram is a powerful and free (unless you decide to advertise) tool to grow your interior design practice. Whether you want more clients, to connect with editors of design publications you’d like to be featured in, to find new vendors, to become an influencer, or to collaborate with colleagues, it’s all possible and here are some Instagram tips to get you there.
I know it’s not something you’d considered, but when you climbed up on Instagram, you may not have been thinking strategically, and you didn’t have these key Instagram tips to apply. If you haven’t been selectively curating your feed, you could have a serious hodge podge on your hands. Instead of an irresistible feed of your awesome projects, favorite design finds, you at key industry events, mood boards, and more, you may have a less cohesive look and feel that won’t capture potential clients and new followers.
Remember that most people, including potential clients, before following you, will actually scroll your feed to see if they truly want to keep you in their feed. This is the perfect time to clean it up.
Your bio is that tiny piece of text that can capture or repel a future client, new best friend, or juicy publication opportunity. You don’t have a lot of words, but enough to make it captivating and irresistible. Plenty of designers blow this entirely and miss a chance to connect.
You can make this one inviting sentence and include keywords (not hashtags) that tell us who you are ~ interior designer, stager, mom, hiker, speaker, blogger ~ you get the idea.
Or you can do a vertical bio with a list of keywords and emojis to match. Did you know that emojis have keyword power? It’s true so they can be of equal benefit.
Whoa, that’s a lot of stories! I get it, and they are what will keep you top of the feed. In fact, Instagram tips from top influencers say that if you must miss a post, miss a feed post, not a story.
There’s also a super simple way to do this, set a timer on your phone that reminds you to do a story in the morning, midday, and in the evening. More is better, but at last 3x a day will keep you visible at the top of the feed.
And if you’re one of those instagrammers who isn’t looking at stories, you’re in the minority. There are many who check out stories first and foremost and far less so the feed.
While you can scroll endlessly looking for something fresh and fun to post, it’s much faster if you keep your images organized in categories. It will also save you boatloads of time.
You’ve got a 9-grid on Instagram so come up with 9 themes for your images to make it easy to organize and give your feed a balanced and beautiful look.
Your categories may include: kitchens, baths, living rooms, bedrooms, home office, kids rooms, dining rooms, foyer, front door, landscaping, pets at home, you in a meeting with your client, mood boards, blueprints, fabric selections, drapery sketch, drapery pic, accessory vignettes, you at industry events, design inspiration (could be nature shots), travel, you choose.
Your Instagram feed needs to reflect not just your work but your interior designer lifestyle (and yes, that is a hashtag on Instagram.) Your stories are more the behind the scenes and personal bits.
Your highlights are those round images, sometimes with covers on them, that sit at the top of your feed when you look at your Instagram profile, not the whole feed. They are created by pulling from your archived stories.
When you take the steps in instagram tips above (#4) you’ll have 9 categories for your stories if you use the same categories as your feed. You’ll also want to have a Meet Me or About, personally I’ve always found “meet” to be much friendlier than “about.” And you may want to have a highlight for family and another for friends. It’s up to you.
While you can wing your posts, and many interior designers do, that’s not going to deliver the well curated, strategically planned feed that will capture the attention of editors and juicy new projects from clients. It also keeps you stuck in a cycle of random action and that means random results. Take the time to plan it.
There are several easy tools out there, my personal favorite is Tailwind. It let’s me work off my laptop instead of my phone and I’m way faster on a full keyboard with a large monitor! Another tool that’s popular is Planoly, you need to find what works for you.
This is less about scheduling than it is about taking the time to truly curate the images you want in your feed, in the order that you want them. And, thinking carefully about captions so that you include all the details including tagging vendors whose products you’re showing, so they can in turn share your post in their feed or stories.
Hashtags are the fuel that gets you found on instagram. You can have the most fabulous posts, but without the right hashtags, no one is going to see them. Rule number one is never use the same hashtags back to back in posts. If you use the same hashtags over and over, or the same block of hashtags in posts consecutively, the algorithm that runs Instagram will penalize your posts and not show them to as many followers. That sucks!
Create a minimum of 9-blocks of hashtags, each to coordinate with your themes or categories. And you’ll customize each when you post with vendor hashtags and more, but you’ll have the blocks created and ready to go so it’s simpler and you aren’t defaulting to the same old tags every time.
In order to save your blocks of hashtags, you can use Evernote, One Note, or Tailwind. Make it easy! To get the best hashtags, you need to do some research and that takes some time. Time invested strategically will deliver in clients and opportunities.
Instagram makes it easy, if you pop a hashtag in the search box (this works by phone and laptop) it will give you not just that hashtag but all related hashtags. You want a mix of high search and lower search hashtags, not all of one or all of the other. If you go only with the high search, you’ll disappear amongst the noise, balance it. I like to choose hashtags with a few thousand or a few hundred thousand vs a few million (it’s just too many.)
As to how many hashtags to use, you have up to 30, I recommend a minimum of 11 and up to 22. Also either share them in the first comment after your post with caption, or use a string of vertical periods and spaces to create a gap between your caption and hashtags. It looks cluttered when you jam them up against your caption. Keep your feed curated, clean, and aesthetically pleasing, you’re a designer!
Investing your time with the Instagram tips here will enhance your visibility, increase your credibility, and ultimately drive your profitability. And if you want to snag your very own personal Design Business Diagnostic to discover the hidden profit potential in your interior design business, do that HERE.