In a previous business building tip post (What your clients don’t know can hurt them – and you!), we actually had the temerity to suggest that lead generation and client acquisition were not the most important piece in your marketing strategy. Instead, we suggested that you focus on keeping current client interested in your design services – for the very simple reason that they are more likely to work with you.A great way to engage with existing clients, beyond face-to-face interaction, is through social media. Two of the most effective social platforms for engagement are Facebook (obviously) and Instagram (perhaps less obviously).Stated simply, Facebook has value because it is by far the most popular social network around; with users willing to engage and share posts on a regular basis. By its very nature, as well as the almost universal appeal to those in your target audience, FB simply cannot be ignored.On another level we have Instagram. With about a billion users worldwide – nearly two-thirds of whom are millennials and over half of whom are women – the image-based platform offers huge potential as a marketing tool. As the platform itself likes to say, Instagram is, “A simple, fun & creative way to capture, edit & share photos, videos & messages with friends & family”.Further, while other social networks allow you to post images and videos, Instagram requires a picture or video in every post – and the picture or video you share will be the main focus of your post.In a visual media like interior design, it almost seems as if Instagram was designed for you to use!How to Use Instagram for Your BusinessAs a marketing tool for your business, Instagram offers massive potential – if you know how to use it to your advantage – and the effective use of the hashtag is a critical element in your Instagram strategy.Beyond this powerful idea for using imagery as the primary tool to engage your audience, a solid Instagram strategy includes the use of hashtags to communicate ideas. Beginning with the basics, and without assuming you already know what they are, here’s what we’re talking about:“A #hashtag (like this) is a type of label or metadata tag used on social network and microblogging services which makes it easier for users to find messages with a specific theme or content.” – WikipediaNow, there are many people out there who hate hashtags, thinking they make real communication impossible while turning the significant into the mundane and trivial. On the contrary, using a hashtag categorizes your social networking posts, leading readers in the direction you wish them to go – toward you and the information you have to share.Here are 4 tips on using hashtags to best effect on Instagram:
- Branding your business – Create at least one brand hashtag to establish brand recognition, and put them in your images and comments for added branding opportunities.
- Discover what works – Research the most appropriate industry-related hashtags. Begin by looking at which hashtags work really well for your competitors, then start including them in your own posts.
- Stay in the pocket – Relevancy is key here; always use relevant keywords that are related to your posts on Instagram. If a keyword phrase does not relate directly to the information you're sharing, you’ll turn people off – and send them running away.
- Being redundant is a good thing – The consistent use of your best hashtags will be critical to building a following on Instagram, enabling visitors to find you easily and quickly.
A basic principle of effective marketing is to go where your audience already hangs out. Again, the audience on Instagram is relatively young and female, and nearly 60% of Instagram users check their accounts daily, so engagement on Instagram is very high.Have you already begun to incorporate Instagram strategies into your Social Media Marketing Strategy? Are you using hashtags to engage your audience on Instagram? How has that begun to work for you?Looking for more business building tips for your design business, new home design trends, designer marketing tips, and product ideas? Get in touch with TD Fall today.