A stunning and well-curated Instagram feed can be a game changer for design companies of all sizes and niches. However, this article isn’t a “how to get 1000 followers in your first month on Instagram”. This article is a guide to gaining real, authentic followers that actually engage with your content on a consistent basis.
It doesn’t matter how many followers you have, you should not be impressed until you see real engagement. If you have 12K followers and only average 100 likes and 2 comments per post, there’s something wrong there. Having 3K followers, 250 likes and 25 comments per post is WAY more impressive.
But how do we achieve high levels of follower engagement, increase our stream of new followers, and generate leads that turn to conversions down the line? We have you covered. Here are the 10 fundamental Instagram tips that every design company needs to know:
#1 Have a consistent, well-curated feed.
You are a designer, it’s crucial that your Instagram is reflective of that!
There are two key points to note here:
Make sure your photos have the same “preset” or “filter” throughout your feed and
Have a variety of different photos, but remember to stick to your theme.
These can be as simple as: a couch with plants on a side table, wall decor, a cute bookshelf display, a showroom highlight, a new product collection, a remodel of your clients kitchen, a group photo of your team, etc. You get the point.
Some additional tips for improving your Insta layout:
For a visually pleasing feed, you can download Adobe Lightroom for $20 a month and purchase a bright and airy preset off Etsy for less than $10.
#2 Engage with your audience.
Be real, and be present! Don’t act like you’re so famous that you can’t respond to your audience’s comments. Odds are, you have at least 30 minutes a day to dedicate to engaging with others on Instagram.
Respond promptly, ask open-ended questions, compliment their page - show you’re interested in them and have taken the time to look at their content too! If you gain a new follower, and they regularly post high-quality content, follow them back and interact with their posts.
#3 Be authentic.
Show your audience you are a real person. Invite them to check out the behind-the-scenes of your company. Highlight your clients. Share a photo of some cool architecture you saw on the way to the studio. Publish a photo of your team getting lunch. Share a challenge you’ve recently endured. Show the authentic side of your brand, not just the pretty!
#4 Share your story.
This is probably the most important part of a good Instagram post. Be a storyteller! Don’t just publish a piece of content with a basic caption and no context.
By sharing just a snapshot of your day, a funny thing someone said to you, or a recent memory, you are showing your audience you have something to say that’s worthy of reading.
Not only does this increase engagement (by providing something people can relate to or might find interesting), but it builds brand trust with your audience.
Remember what I said about being authentic? There’s a reason reality TV is so popular - people love watching and reading about other people’s lives. Even the most mundane part of your day may pique someone's interest because it’s new to them.
#5 Publish stories.
We call this “micro content”, because it’s only live for 24 hours and then it disappears.
This is a great way to post photos of your day-to-day activities, remind followers of a new post, ask questions with a poll, and engage with your audience on a more personal level.
There are many creative things you can do with stories, and they are an impressively effective way to get your audience engaging with your brand!
#6 Share user generated content.
Get your audience involved! Ask your customers to post photos on their Instagram with their new furniture/decor items in their house or the completed remodel your company designed for their master bathroom.
Create a custom hashtag that is unique to your company and ask them to tag their posts to be featured on your page. Not only are you building authority with their followers, but you’re sharing content without the overhead of investing much time creating it.
Just make sure if you repost their photo to run it through your preset to match your feed, and always give the customer credit for the post. Also, when followers see you posting user-generated content, this builds trust with them because they see other people using your product.
#7 Follow other industry accounts.
Get inspired, build a community, and keep tabs on your competition! Just because you share the same market doesn’t mean you can’t be friendly.
Follow your local interior designers, furniture companies, and home staging pals. Engage with their posts, and you might notice them starting to engage with your content too!
#8 Use appropriate hashtags.
Do your research here. And never use cliche “dying for attention” hashtags like “like4like” or “postoftheday.” Cringe. Get creative, local, and niched. Some great hashtags I have found are #creatorscircle #womenindesign #createandcultivate - these are just a few of many I have found, do your research and find hashtags that work for your brand.
*Also* - steer clear of using more than 7-11 hashtags per post. Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post, but honestly, too many create unnecessary clutter and look a little over the top. I’ve also heard the algorithm penalizes posts that use more than around 15 hashtags, but don’t quote me on it!
Hashtags are great for connecting with new people in your audience. Use hashtags on all your posts, but also engage with others who are using the same hashtags as well. Simply click on the hashtag, and like/comment on 15-20 posts you find interesting. And that brings me to my next point...
#9 Be genuine when liking/commenting on users posts.
Don’t just comment for the sake of commenting. Only leave your thoughts on a users post when you actually find something interesting or if you legitimately like the post. It’s crazy how many accounts use bots to post generic comments for them, and every authentic Instagrammer is very much over it.
Whenever I see a comment like “Awesome pic!” or “Great photo,” I cringe. Just stop. Read the caption, actually look at the photo, and comment something genuine. If someone posts a photo of the interior of a room, comment about how much you like the color scheme being used, or say something about the materials used on the furniture. Whatever it is, be original and be yourself!
#10 Respond to comments on your posts.
I’ve mentioned this tip before, but this ones a biggie. When someone is engaging with your content, respond back! Not only does this improve your relationship with this user, but the insta algorithm will give your content boost, meaning your post will show up on even more feeds. Who doesn’t love some bonus points!?
Like I said, don’t worry about the number of followers you have. If you don’t see engagement, the “number” of followers you have doesn’t matter one bit. If you follow the tips, you’ll soon be on your way to high engagement rates in no time! Continue down the path of measuring engagement with vanity metrics (followers/likes), well, let’s just say you’re in for a rude awakening.
I hope these tips helped! If you found this article useful, please share it with your friends or follow us on Instagram and let me know! We love hearing from readers, let’s get to know one another!