In a world of hashtags and selfie sticks, Instagram has become key to growing your business as an interior designer. There is no better way to showcase your work and gain exposure and client interest than to build a large Instagram following. Why, you may ask? Most designers have an online portfolio (or if you don’t, you should), but it can be difficult to direct online traffic to your site or blog. One simple way to get your name out there and bring people to your site and your work is through Instagram. Additionally, Instagram demonstrates consistent work and constant engagement with the interior design world. You can have the most beautiful interiors, but if no one can find you or people don’t know you’re active in the design community, your presence will begin to fade.
Now, anyone can have an Instagram account (there are dogs and cats that have their own Instagram accounts), but amassing a following is a difficult feat that everybody in the social media world (including us) is still working towards. In this article, the Kuotes is sharing our “Instrategies” that we’ve found helpful as we continue to develop our own following. Let us help you boost your content, increase your following, and grow your business.
Editor’s Note: this article is tailored specifically to the interior design business. Some of the suggestions may not be true or applicable to all trades.
300 Million Active Users
When is the best time to post on Instagram?
It looks simple, but the Kuotes understands the amount of time and effort that goes into posting an Instagram post for interior designers. So, how are you going to ensure people see and like the content you post? (Hint: it’s NOT through exorbitant emoji use 💁💁💁). Exposure has a lot to do with timing. You want to post when lots of people are looking at Instagram but not a lot of others are posting. Think about when you have time to check your Instagram. Most likely, that’s when other people check their Instagram as well: Before and after work during the commute (for those who use public transportation) or most likely, at night before bed. These are the best times to post.
An analysis completed by Instagram and an Instagram management service called Latergram reports that midweek posts tend to do better than weekend or Monday posts. We actually use Latergram to create posts during the work hours and the release them during high traffic periods according to Latergram’s analytics. Want the specifics? Here are the top times to post to Instagram, according to the study:
Vertical or horizontal?
Believe it or not, image orientation drastically influences the response to your posts, especially in interior design. For interiors, vertical images perform better than horizontal images. It makes sense. Think of when you first walk into a room or a space with a high ceiling: the eyes are immediately drawn to look up and down (side note: this is also true of how we look at people, if you’re posting any personal/fashion shots). When to break this rule? If you’re posting a natural landscape or a beautiful nature shot. But for interior design, vertical is vital.
Pro Tip: Want to get a lot of likes? Choose an image with a standout focal point, like a gorgeous chandelier. Symmetrical images also tend to perform strongly on Instagram.
How should I style and edit my photos?
In the office, we admittedly are fans of some of the snarkier Instagrammers out there who poke fun at how many lifestyle brands and bloggers post today:
A photo posted by Skellie 💁 (@omgliterallydead) on Went for a walk in the woods this morning. Couldn’t resist the urge to put plant life in front of my face. #vsco #vscocam #socality #liveauthentic #livefolk #kinfolk #visualcoop #finditliveit #getoutside #letsgosomewhere #neverstopexploring #explore #adventure #lifeofadventure #pnw #pacificnorthwest #thatpnwlife #northwestisbest #thegreatpnw #greatnorthcollective #socalityportland #pdx #communityfirst #oregon #upperleftusa #peoplescreatives #wildernessculture A photo posted by Socality Barbie (@socalitybarbie) on
A photo posted by Skellie 💁 (@omgliterallydead) on
Went for a walk in the woods this morning. Couldn’t resist the urge to put plant life in front of my face. #vsco #vscocam #socality #liveauthentic #livefolk #kinfolk #visualcoop #finditliveit #getoutside #letsgosomewhere #neverstopexploring #explore #adventure #lifeofadventure #pnw #pacificnorthwest #thatpnwlife #northwestisbest #thegreatpnw #greatnorthcollective #socalityportland #pdx #communityfirst #oregon #upperleftusa #peoplescreatives #wildernessculture A photo posted by Socality Barbie (@socalitybarbie) on
Our favorite editing app? VSCO Cam provides more stunning and less obvious filter choices compared to most editors. It also has tools to help you adjust the brightness and clarity. And it’s not only our favorite. It’s beloved by many top design and lifestyle bloggers. Our good friend Chriselle just wrote a great article on photo editing apps for Instagram, with VSCO Cam being her favorite. Apps like Instasize or Squaready are also important for designers. They allow you to border your vertical images so that they fit nicely into the iconic 1×1 Instagram square or the Instagram rectangle requirements. (If you weren’t aware, you CAN post outside of the 1×1 square dimensions on Instagram, but there are still limitations. Just click the box icon on the lower left-hand corner of the screen when uploading your images).
As far as styling is concerned, make it’s your own and make sure it matches your personal aesthetic. But here are a few styling tips we see working:
-bright colors or a pop out piece that catches the eye (like a grand chandelier or a luxurious lamp)
-textured backgrounds (don’t leave a room too bare, include rugs, blankets, pillows, styling props)
How do I create compelling copy?
The best piece of advice we have here is to tell a story. If you’re showcasing your skills as a designer, it makes sense to explain some of the design elements in your work. Don’t just tell us it’s beautiful. Explain to us why it’s beautiful. Additionally, keep it to interior design. Tell a story about the room, not necessarily about your life. On momentous occasions it’s okay to tell us about your life, but if you’re a designer, people care much more about your designs than they do about your cats or your summer vacay (sorry). Unlike Twitter, you have 2200 characters to work with to explain your style, your methods, and your creativity. So use it! Oh, and keep the emojis to a minimum.
How many hashtags should I use?
When it comes to running a business, use as many as you can without appearing silly. It may appear strange to those of us who grew up before platforms like Instagram and Twitter existed, but it is social media normalcy, and it’s the most efficient way of growing your following.
“As ridiculous as hashtags might seem to marketing veterans who remember a time before Twitter and Facebook, the younger generation and potential customers/clients don’t. To them, using hashtags is as natural and common as typing their query into the search box. A hashtag immediately expands the reach of your post beyond just those who follow you, to reach anyone interested in that hashtag phrase or keyword.”
-Steve Cooper, Forbes Magazine
So, hashtag without shame. The standard advice is about 2-11 hashtags per post (Instagram allows up to 30, but your want to hashtag with purpose and not sound like hipster Barbie). The other question then is: Which hashtags do I use? There are actually services that will track hashtag trends and compose strategies for you, such as hashtagify.me (the most in-depth and useful hashtag tool, in our opinion). But a lot of this research can be done yourself. Just enter the Explore section of your Instagram account and you can actually see top trending tag relevant to you interests. Also, if you search for tags, Instagram will give you the search traffic for that particular tag item.
But who wants to do all of that research when the Kuotes has done it for you? Here are some of the top hashtags trending in interior design today:
… but of course, make sure your hashtags are relevant to the photo. One last note: create a hashtag of your own and put it on ALL of your posts. One of the best things that can happen for your business is for your own hashtag to start trending! So go with something catchy that also includes your brand so it’s obvious what the hashtag is for. Our choice for KKH? #sokathykuo
Make sure you have a complete profile. Don’t forget to link to all of your other social media platforms… and especially your website. Also, always remember to tag people and places whenever possible. Instagram is all about becoming part of a community and meeting new people (and hopefully clients) who love what you do. This won’t happen unless you make every effort to stay connected. And like other people’s posts! Everybody loves to be loved.
And if you’re not following already, you can start with us. Let us know your Instagram tips in the comments section below!