Getting Started With Instagram For Contractors
Instagram is unprecedented in its creative networking ease, so hop on board and make the most of it while the opportunity lasts.
Ah, social media. It seems to be the raging success of our current day, attracting millions of users, and consequently inspiring businesses to “get where the people are” by creating their own accounts. If your desire as a contractor is to reach your target audience online, Instagram is one way to do that very effectively.
What is Instagram?
Instagram was developed in 2010 as a photo sharing platform. At its simplest, it’s a place to display gorgeous pictures in perfectly symmetrical squares. Easy to use, the platform was revolutionary for online photo sharing.
Previously, sharing photos online required special access and/or a membership of some kind. You could upload your photos to a web album, but to share them with friends/family it required a direct invitation or link. Instagram has private account options, where only your ‘followers’ can see your photos, but with a generic Instagram account, your photos are available to the whole world!
While it was initially designed for simple photo sharing, Instagram’s platform has expanded and developed over the years to include its own search engine, geo tags, video sharing, stories, etc. From the very beginning Instagram was widely popular, bringing in a million users almost immediately. Today, Instagram has 800 million monthly users, and 500 million who use the app daily!
How Do I Use Instagram?
There are so many ways to use Instagram. You can use your account to share private and personal photos of your daily life; with Instagram’s worldwide platform, you can use the platform to make a GLOBAL reach; or with location tags and network connections, you can utilize Instagram to target a niche audience such as Homeowners in Your Region.
Keep in mind that Instagram was built first and foremost as a photo sharing platform. If you’re thinking of using Instagram as a place to feature your contracting business and get leads from your specific locality, you will be approaching the platform at a different angle than, say, a global influencer. As a global influencer, you would be focused on building a world-wide customer base and attracting millions of followers. As a contractor looking for a more local reach, you’ll run your Instagram account with a slightly modified targeting approach.
It’s important to develop the fundamentals of your online presence first, such as a business website that you own and control. Establish local SEO, reviews, and a quality reputation, and then use social media to drive back to your home base, your website. While Instagram is a hot platform with the ability to get good leads right now, keep in mind that it could quickly change. Establish your online presence and use Instagram as one part of that strategy!
Who Should I Be On Instagram?
Who do you want to be seen as on Instagram? Think about positioning yourself. Who do you want to be? Maybe you want to be THE go-to contractor in your town.
Let’s say for a second that you specialize in exterior remodeling in Boston. If that’s the case, you want to present yourself as the Exterior Remodeling Expert in Boston. Or maybe you’re a boutique home builder that is extremely high end in a special way. You’ll want to position yourself in the minds of people needing that service in your town.
Decide who you’re reaching out to and develop your strategy and position off that information.
One of the things that successful contractors have done on Instagram, is that they’ve made a conscious decision to be all in. You have to commit to Instagram, because it takes a lot of work to grow your following and a dedicated audience. Not only do you have to post good pictures, but you’ll be busy liking other people’s photos and engaging with other contractors by commenting and sharing. If you really want Instagram to work for you, you must be all in.
How Do I Get Started?
So we’ve talked about mental game, determining who you’re going to target in your hometown and how to position yourself. Now let’s talk a little bit about creating your business profile on Instagram.
Create a Business Profile Account
Unless you plan on sharing personal life on your Instagram, you should create your account with a Business Profile. Choose the business profile option as you set up your account. This lets you share your location as well as providing you with more insights into how your account is doing with its reach.
Make It Public
I’ve seen some contractors on Instagram who keep their accounts private. In other words, if I’m looking at them I can’t see any of their pictures unless I first send them a friend request. This doesn’t make sense. If you’re a contractor and you want your work to be seen, make your account public. This way, anyone can see your photos.
Choose Your Profile Picture
It’s important to have a profile picture that really stands out. You want people to be scrolling through their feed and see that little circle icon with your picture JUMP OUT. You want people to know who are and to develop a positive impression as they continue to come across your account.
What TO DO:
If you are the brand, you can put a professional photo of your face as the profile picture.
If your company is the brand, put a high-quality image of your logo as the profile picture. If need be, get a designer to rearrange the key elements of your logo so they fit nicely in the circular icon.
What NOT to DO:
- Do not use a picture of your business card as your profile picture.
- Do not use a zoomed out, hard to see picture of your shop or van.
- Do not try to fit a rectangle logo into the circular icon.
These little changes truly make a difference in how Instagram users will view your account. Even if you’re new to social media, you want to appear as professional and trustworthy as possible!
Write a Business Description
In the space provided, write a clear, concise description of your company and your services. Make it short, yet comprehensive. Something people can read in a split second. While it may be only a few words long, put in thought as to how it will appear to your target audience. It’s not the place to be clever or humorous which can too easily come off as unprofessional.
Give a Clear Call-to-Action
Include your contact information, your phone number, and email address in the description, so that your potential clients will be able to reach you immediately.
Link to Your Website
Instagram gives you the opportunity in your profile to put a Web site link. Why would you not use it? Take your followers exactly where you want them to go. If that’s your blog, link it in your profile and direct them there. If it’s a specific landing page you have one set up just for people who come from Instagram, link it there and direct them to it. I’ve seen contractors put their YouTube link there, etc.
Another great option; if you’ve posted a new blog post, post a picture on IG related to the blog post, and change the link in your profile to that new blog. In your caption, direct your viewers to the link in your profile, and that will take them right to your home base. This is a great way to keep your website as your online presence’s foundation.
(all photos from A Finer Touch Construction’s excellent Instagram profile)
Post High-Quality Photos
Finally, after creating your profile, post pictures. It’s very important for the photos to be high quality, as that will imply that your work is high quality as well. A high-quality photo of high-quality work will really jump out at a potential client.
If you don’t feel comfortable taking the photos yourself, it’s a worthy investment in your marketing scheme to hire someone to take them for you! Consistency in quality, where every post is perfect in and of itself will go a long way toward developing your professional, trustworthy online reputation.
I hope this post and the tips included is helpful to you as a contractor in today’s technology-based world. Do your best to make your Instagram account work for you, be willing to put in some time, and focus on looking professional! And enjoy it. Instagram is unprecedented in its creative networking ease, so hop on board and enjoy making new connections and friends, both in your industry and outside it!
Here are some excellent examples of contractor Instagram profiles:
Thank you for joining me today. If you have any further questions or comments, please join the conversation in the comments below.