how-to-use-Instagram-for-a-service-based-businessDo you want to know about how to use Instagram for a service-based business?

Instagram is, to quote Anchorman’s Ron Burgundy, “kind of  a big deal”. And its popularity in Australia is very much on the rise.

As of January 2017, Instagram had 600m individual accounts, with 300m users logging on every day. These 300m users generate 4.2m “likes” and share 95m photos and videos each day.

I always recommend that when promoting your business on social media it’s better to concentrate on one or two platforms rather than spread yourself too thin and try and promote across all of them. However, Instagram is a pretty safe bet when it comes to showcasing your business.

Instagram is an extremely visual platform, and it might seem at first that only those businesses who have products to showcase will benefit, because of course, it’s easy share pictures of your products (although there’s definitely an art to that, too!) And yes, it’s great for product-based businesses.

However, it’s also fantastic for service-based businesses. I could go on about this all day as there are so many ways to use the platform, but let me share some of the main reasons that a service-based business can benefit from Instagram…

 

YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE CAN GET TO KNOW YOU BETTER

You don’t have to share every single part of your private life à la the Kardashians, but people really love to see the human side of a business – in other words, photos of your day-to-day life. Showing a glimpse of the person behind your business builds trust and makes the user feel like they have more of a connection with you than if they were just seeing a picture of something generic. Humans are naturally curious!

Some of my post popular posts are ones where I show what I’m up to behind the scenes of my business; whether it’s writing a blog post on a Friday night (very rock n’ roll!) or having a social media planning session for my clients.

If you’re not comfortable with posting photos, or at least don’t want to do that all the time, another idea is to share quotes which inspire you or make you laugh. Again, it’s giving potential clients a sneak peak into your world and showing them what makes you tick.

I highly recommend Canva as a tool to create your own quotes and branded imagery – very easy to use and the free version will be more than enough for many business.

not-salmon-quote

 

USING INSTAGRAM IS A GREAT WAY TO REINFORCE YOUR BRANDING

Marketing is about increasing brand awareness. If people are aware of what your business offers, they will (hopefully!) think of you when they require services offered by your business.

My branding centres around a bright yellow teapot. It’s pretty distinctive, and I use the yellow often through my Instagram feed. Something that has worked for me for example is doing a #teapottuesday post each Tuesday, featuring a yellow teapot.  Will sharing photos of yellow teapots win me business? Not directly, no – but people DO remember and recognise my yellow teapot logo!

Using your brand’s colour palette is a really useful way to indirectly put your business in front of people. An example of a service-based business doing this well is Emily Spicer Stuart, who incorporates the bright colours of her biz logo into many of her post images. LOVE IT!

Emily_Spicer_Stuart

Again, using Canva is a great tool for doing this by creating images, messages and quotes to incorporate your branding.

YOU CAN POSITION YOURSELF AS A SOURCE OF AUTHORITY IN YOUR FIELD

By sharing your knowledge and expertise in your specialist area, you can become a trusted source of information and increase trust with your target audience.

You could do this by sharing tips for success, providing client testimonials, and showing pictures of your service in action e.g. if you are a website designer you could show your latest project; or if you are a life coach you could post a picture of people taking part in a workshop you are running.

 

YOU CAN REACH A WHOLE NEW POTENTIAL AUDIENCE (AND MEET YOUR “COMPETITION”

By engaging with other people’s Instagram accounts you can build a reputation through liking, sharing and commenting on posts. This allows you to create relationships with new people and build a whole new potential audience. You can offer advice where suitable, or just engage with other Instagram users.  

A great way to reach this wider audience is by using relevant hashtags both in your own posts and to search for other related accounts. My posts often include hashtags like #smallbusinesscopywriting and #smallbusinesssocialmedia. I can then search for accounts which have used the same hashtag and see not only people who are working on/looking for small business copywriting, but also see what other businesses in my field are up to and what’s working for them. I love talking to people in my industry and sharing tips and tricks – it’s not always about cut-throat competition! You can learn a lot from each other, too.

Finally, you could run a giveaway/competition as a way of increasing brand awareness, promoting your services or getting people to check out your website. I could for example offer a free 30 minute marketing consultation via Skype by asking people to comment on my post telling me their biggest marketing concerns. A really great post which goes into much more detail can be found here.

As I said earlier, I could talk about Instagram all day, but hopefully this blog post has helped you see the benefits of Instagram for a service-based business.  I’ll leave you with some final tips…

 

MY QUICK-FIRE TIPS:
  1. Post consistently. You don’t have to post three times a day; once can be enough. But don’t go weeks without posting anything.
  2. An Instagram business account will show you in the analytics section the times at which your followers are using the app. Use this information to post at times where there is a high volume of users. Many of my posts are published between 6-9pm because that’s when my target audience is most likely to be on Instagram.
  3. As already mentioned, tools like Canva and Word Swag make creating your own images easy. I particularly recommend Canva but Word Swag is useful if you want to put something together quickly on your phone.

 

Social media not your cup of tea? Consider hiring a pro! Give me a shout to see how I can help you and your business.

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