How To Make Instagram Work For Your Contracting Business
Social media has come a long way since Myspace and LiveJournal - and so has the home performance industry. Keeping up with the changes in solar panels, AC units and insulation is one thing, but keeping up with social media trends is a whole other issue.
We get a lot of questions about various social media sites and if it would be beneficial for a home performance company to be active on them--the most frequently mentioned is Instagram.
“Should my company be on Instagram?”
To this question I usually ask a question back:
“What are you looking to achieve from being on Instagram?”
The purpose of putting a home performance company on Instagram is fairly narrow. It will not produce tons of direct leads (which is what most people are looking for) but, if actively managed, it can get your brand in front of people and show off a more human side of your company. Obviously, these are positive marketing objectives, but it does take time to consistently post images and write captions, and if you are not getting direct leads from that time, it is worth questioning what you’re looking to achieve.
Some realistic goals for Instagram are:
Drive traffic to your website
Increase brand awareness
Increase customer satisfaction
Attract new hires
Identify and establish relationships with influencers
Setting proper expectations, goals and tracking might be important to us at Energy Circle, but if you are looking for ideas on how to set up and post effectively on Instagram, we can dive right in.
Setting Up An Instagram Profile
Username & Bio
For discoverability, your username on Instagram should match the username of your other branded social media profiles, so check on your existing Facebook, Twitter and even Google My Business to find your username. Use your bio to include a link to your website, a short blurb about what this Instagram profile is providing and then a short explanation what your business is about. Any branded hashtags that you would like to use on a consistent basis can live here as well.
Your profile photo should be your company’s logo. The main purpose of this is brand recognition, and if your profile picture is not your logo, you are doing your business a disservice. The profile photo will be a circle in the app and the recommended size is 180x180 pixels.
As a final step to setting up your profile, you’ll want to follow a bunch of users. Find influencers in your industry, customers, and other people relevant to your brand and follow them. Instagram will suggest that you follow the Kings and Queens of IG, but following Beyoncé, Ronaldo and Lebron are what personal accounts are for.
You can find relevant people through industry hashtags like #greenbuilding, #HPC17, and #sprayfoam. People have posted every hashtag imaginable on Instagram, so finding people who do similar work is easy.
When and How Often To Post
You’ll want to maintain a regular posting schedule, but don’t bombard your followers with too many posts. I would say 3 times a week is a fairly aggressive schedule, but if you are looking to see results then it is a commitment you’ll want to make. The smartest way to figure out what works best for your business is by testing posts at different intervals and times and then tracking the results. Research shows that just after noon on Monday through Friday is the best time to post on Instagram, but your audience is different from the general population and it is worth scheduling posts at night, in the morning and even on weekends to see when people react the most.
All this writing is boring, let’s see some pictures
Solar panels are obviously attractive. If you are a solar company all you need to do it take pictures of your product and post. This post tells people to check the link in the bio, uses local hashtags, shows the logo and uses a good picture.
This is a cool picture and a pretty clean spray foam job. It doesn’t do a great job explaining to a homeowner what we are looking at, and the logo is nowhere to be found, not even in the profile picture. A good try, but this could use some strategy.
Nice shot of an AC tech - maybe could've had him look at the camera or show off his shirt with the company logo. The caption is clearly intended to attract more leads and this is the first use of an emoji we have seen. While emojis are usually left out of professional conversations, they are so ingrained in the Instagram world that I feel it is okay in this situation.
Not everything has to be serious! This is a great post with a great offer. It is relevant for Star Wars Day (May 4th) and uses highly searched hashtags.
This post doesn’t say much and does not put the logo anywhere. The average homeowner might not know what this post is and the caption of #coated does not give many further clues. You have to respect the hustle of getting something on Instagram, but this one could have used a bit more planning.
Should I Start An Instagram Account For My Contracting Company?
The simple answer is yes, but only if you have the time and a plan. Maybe you got an intern or a new office employee who has the time to schedule posts and take pictures. If you are lucky enough to have that resource, then, by all means, get started. However, if you are searching for some quick lead generation, then Instagram might not be your answer, and you should contact us to discuss other ways to increase your lead volume.
At the end of the day, Instagram is a fun app and should be used as such — not as a hard sales tool. If you are interested in taking the plunge, set the proper goals and start snapping some pictures!