Instagram is more than just images; it is a powerful tool that construction professionals can use to build brand awareness.
Who has time for another social media platform? None of us, really, but don’t let that stop you this time. Instagram is one of the easiest social media platforms to get started, and for construction professionals, it can be the perfect place to make an impact with powerful images and examples of your work. Unlike your website or blog, you don’t need to craft a lengthy description or provide exhaustive details. Instagram is short, to the point and all about the image.
Don’t let the overabundance of selfies sway you, Instagram really has a place for business. According to Instagram’s business site, their network has more than 400 million active users every month, with more than 80 million images added each day. There are opportunities for creating ads, as well as the ability to create web profiles that capture recently shared photographs and space for information on your business (bio).
If you are new to social media and just getting your feet wet, definitely check out HBW’s Blog post from August “Social Media: It’s Time for a Check-Up“, which will provide basic guidelines for getting started or tighten your current profile. For those ready to get the latest designs and videos out to the public in an “instant”, here are a few ways to maximize your use of Instagram.
- Do Your Research – Although you may want to hit the ground running, just pause for a moment. Before you create your profile and begin snapping away, take a look at other construction professionals and their accounts. Social networks are communities, and you will want to see what gets the most attention and the latest industry-related conversations. By taking time to view what other industry professionals are sharing, you will have a better idea of the quality and types of images that are garnering interest in construction and design. This is a great way to get inspired and gain an understanding of relevant topics, not to duplicate; to stand out in the crowd, you will need to be unique to your business in both image and brand.
- Establish Goals – Although it’s easy to snap a pic and post it to Instagram, the thought behind the image may take a little more time. Post with a purpose. Your goals in your marketing strategy should apply to Instagram… They should be realistic and measurable. If you are trying to increase traffic to your website, be sure to include appropriate links and a compelling reason to visit/click. If your intent is to increase mentions of your latest branded hashtag, ask your audience to post their own images using the hashtag; make comments visible, and share images that include your hashtag. Don’t just add an image because you can and want to expand your collection; create a conversation that aligns with your goals and engages your audience.
- Be Mobile – Remember that you have a camera and video camera on your phone and that Instagram is mobile. Capture the latest job site, a new design, a popular product you are using, a completed project or a group photo at the company holiday party. With Instagram’s filters and tools, you can easily make an ordinary photo look extraordinary. Professional photos are also important, but don’t be afraid to be real. Your audience is looking to connect with you, not to see a filtered version of an advertisement. Of course, with being real comes some basic guidelines – Don’t get snap happy with everything; keep #2 (goals) in mind, and stay away from controversial pics that could backfire. Also, make use of the sharing capabilities that Instagram offers; some of your more powerful images can be shared on your Facebook and Twitter accounts through the app as well, keeping images consistent and taking the work out of adding it separately to other profiles.
- Be Dynamic – In addition to adding photos, you can share 15-second videos on Instagram. Since they are short videos, they can be used to capture your team at an industry event or tradeshow, a tour of a finished design, or a sneak peek of a work in progress. Allow the audience to get personal (not too personal) with your business; you can provide a behind-the-scenes look at what you do and your team so that the viewer feels connected to your business in a way that goes beyond your finished designs and service list. Be active by responding to comments, liking and commenting on your followers’ photos and sparking discussions about your products and services. Change it up, and remember to keep it positive.
- Use Hastags – Don’t rely on the image alone. Develop unique and catchy hashtags that reflect your brand and will drive your audience to your image. Less is more in that you will be more effective in sticking with less (one or two) hashtags that become signature to your brand rather than a new hashtag for every post. Create a hashtag that does double-duty by embodying your brand and encouraging followers to share photos that fit that image. A strong hashtag and reason to use it provides increased exposure to potential clients, and can be useful in creating a “buzz”. Don’t limit yourself to your company’s branded hashtag; join larger conversations such as “#ThrowbackThursday”, “#MondayMotivation” or “#NoFilter” to increase visibility in search results. To learn more about developing hashtags, check out the HBW Blog post: “Contractors Ask: How Should I Use #Hashtags?”.
Instagram, just like any social media platform, is only as good as you make it work for your business. Once you get started, stay active and consistent. More than just showcasing your work, Instagram gives your potential clients a way to connect to your business and learn a little more about the team behind the product and service. Keep your goals in mind, and monitor your progress. Although you won’t see “instant” results, you will find that over time, Instagram can be a useful tool in your marketing strategy and for building brand awareness.
For more tips on marketing your business, check out the latest HBW White Paper Report to gain access to information for successfully marketing your business through HBW construction building and swimming pool permit data. HBW White Papers guide your sales force on how to navigate HBW permit lead reports and use them to achieve a competitive advantage.