Instagram is a relatively new social media tool, but it’s really picked up in popularity over the past few years. A big driver behind Instagram’s popularity is mobile phones and the ability for people to easily take, and share, photos and videos through the site. It’s a very visual social media channel and that makes it particularly useful for interior designers like Liz Toombs, president of PDR Interiors in Kentucky.
PDR’s Instagram page is a perfect place to showcase their work.
Instagram: A Decorator’s Social Media Dream
“Instagram is a decorator’s social media dream,” says Toombs. “Daily posts allow you to connect with your target market through gorgeous photos.” Using the social media platform, Toombs and her staff share project after shots, videos of job site walk-throughs and even glimpses of the processes behind the scenes. Those behind-the-scenes sneak peeks are a great way to personalize both the company and its people; Instagram is the perfect venue to do just that.
Instagram, says Toombs, “allows people to get to know you and your brand on a deeper level.” And the reach is wide—even small firms can become visible on a regional, national, even global level.
But, while interior designers may be great at what they do, sometimes it pays to seek assistance in areas that may be beyond their core competencies. PDR Interiors hired a social media consultant—Glory’s Vessel—to help them ramp up their social media efforts. Toombs explains: “With algorithms constantly changing, it is hard for the average person to keep up with what works best. Our consultant has helped us sharpen our skills and we have already noticed the benefits from this change.” PDR is seeing more engagement from followers and, says Toombs, “we get many compliments about our accounts from clients and other contacts when we see them in person.”
How PDR Interiors is Using Instagram
PDR is using Instagram strategically to help achieve its goals. A couple of the platform’s functions are particularly useful.
Instagram Stories allow users to post photos or videos that will “disappear” after 24 hours. This content won’t appear on the profile grid or main feed. Stories show up prominently in a bar at the top of the Instagram feed. Toombs and her staff have used this feature in a few different ways:
- To ask questions of followers in an effort to get them to engage in conversation. “For example, we may ask what their burning design questions are and then use their answers to tailor upcoming posts where we share decorating tips,” Toombs says.
- To share before-and-after videos of a client’s space on install day. This, says Toombs, “allows people to see a quick peek at the area before any professional photos are taken and shared.” Video, she says, is even better. “It leads the viewer through the room instead of showing it only from one static angle.” Importantly, these visuals are tagged so they show up in the feeds of anyone following the story in the local area helping to get content in front of fresh eyes.
Based on the advice of their social media consultant, PDR has focused their posts on five areas that best fit their business objectives: tips/tricks, fun, mission, testimonials from clients, and traveling (many of their projects take them out of state).
“We pay attention to what people react to positively and try to give them more posts like that,” says Toombs. “We want our followers to feel like they know us well because people do business with those they know, like, and trust.”
According to Simply Measured, an Instagram post with at least one hashtag gets 12.6 percent more engagement than posts without hashtags.
“We use hashtags and geo tags in each post, and many of our stories, so they show up on users’ search feeds,” says Toombs. This allows PDR to achieve more visibility, especially among people in the area. The use of hashtags can be challenging, though. “It’s an ever-changing game as to which tags work the best and are most searched, so you have to keep up with what changes are taking place,” says Toombs.
While not something that everyone in the design field is doing, Toombs says that Instagram takeovers are a good way to set yourself apart on Instagram. Instagram takeovers involve taking over someone else’s account temporarily to share content with their audience. Takeovers are pre-planned and arranged with those you wish to align with in some way—influencers, for instance, whose popularity can help boost your brand. This Buffer article offers “6 Simple Steps” for hosting a takeover.
“We recently did an Insta account takeover with our fabric vendor in North Carolina,” Toombs says. “We toured their facility and got an advanced viewing of a new line they are launching. My team took photos and videos throughout the day and then posted them on the vendor’s account while posting other videos and photos on our account.” Leading up to the takeover, Toombs says, PDR promoted what they would be doing so their followers would start following the vendor’s account. “It was a really fun collaboration for us,” Toombs says.
PDR is planning to do more takeovers in the future but Toombs is also wary of overusing the strategy and burning people out. By being selective about takeovers, there is an element of surprise which makes the takeover event feel more special.
Toombs says that she has mixed feelings about giveaways. While giveaways can help to boost the number of followers on an account, once the giveaway is over, there’s no guarantee that they will stick. “I love the idea of offering a great gift to a random follower and creating a fun buzz about your brand during the contest, but what a letdown if you lose all of that momentum once the contest ends,” she says.
Overall, Toombs and many other designers have found Instagram to be an exceptional way to get in front of key audiences to visually share news and information about their services and their products. If you’re not already using this popular social media channel, maybe it’s time to check it out.
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