June 8, 2018
Melissa ‐ Marketing Coordinator
Instagram is full of examples of successful companies showcasing their newest gadgets, sports leggings and bikinis on not only their own accounts, but also the influencers they are collaborating with. When providing a service to your customers however, you will probably face the same struggle as I did when starting to work for the IT consultancy I work for. There is no sexy product to show, let alone an influencer with millions of followers you could approach to showcase your product. So, what do you do on Instagram when you offer a service, instead of a product? Here are 9 tips for a successful Instagram strategy for service providers.
1. IS INSTAGRAM THE RIGHT PLATFORM FOR YOU?
To begin with, ask yourself the question if Instagram is the right platform for you. The days where we had a “social media strategy” are long gone. Nowadays, we know that you need a different strategy for Facebook than you need for Instagram. You may ask, why? Well, every social media platform has a very different target audience.
The largest represented age group on Instagram is between 18 and 29 years old. Do you have a persona that fits this age range? Then Instagram is certainly for you! Also think about the interests of your audience. Are they generally known for using the Internet? Are your competitors also on Instagram? If you answer yes to all of these questions, then you are definitely not out-of-place on Instagram!
2. DETERMINE YOUR GOAL FOR INSTAGRAM
What is it that you are aiming for? Do you want to sell your service? To whom? Or do you want to build a strong employer brand? It is much easier to determine an Instagram strategy when you know what you are aiming for.
At the company I work for, WORTH, we build websites, portals, and web applications for large institutions such as the government and universities. Not the sexiest projects, right?
Thus, we have decided to use Instagram to build our brand by sharing our employee culture. We have an office in the Netherlands and in the UK, we get to work from home at least once a week, we have a lot of cool internal events, and for a tech company we work with quite a lot of women. So, pretty cool company to work for, which is easily shared via Instagram.
3. PLAN YOUR INSTAGRAM CONTENT
Once you know Instagram is the right place to be for you, and you have determined your goal, you can think about the content you want to post.
For the WORTH account, we have decided to post three times a week on Instagram. Not coincidentally, this is the amount of posts you see in a row on an Instagram profile. Every Monday, we post an inspirational quote. All of these thus line up on the right side of our profile on the end of every week. Make it easy for yourself and plan your content ahead of time. At the moment I am making a bi-weekly planning, but you can also plan one month ahead, or even more.
4. MAKE USE OF TEMPLATES
No need to reinvent the wheel for every single social media post. Instead, make a template that you can reuse. For WORTH, we have designed a space background which we use to post a motivational quote every Monday, our #MotivationalMonday. All we need to do is look for a quote and quickly add the text into the template in Photoshop. As easy as that!
5. USE THE RIGHT HASHTAGS
Whether using hashtags works or not is something social media experts cannot seem to agree on.
Fact is that pictures by themselves are not searchable, and you will need to add hashtags for people to find them. This does mean that your hashtags have to be relevant and accurate.
By relevant, I mean that the hashtags you pick should be either trending or unique. A trending hashtag can be for instance an event or a national holiday. These will generate relatively more traffic, because a lot of people will be searching for them. They tend to be used often. A unique hashtag is not as popular as the trending hashtag, but could attract the right people. Maybe not many people are looking for #digitaltransformation, but if they are, they are likely to be interested in WORTH’s service.
When saying accurate, I mean that your tags should describe what is on your picture. Using #beach when posting a picture of your logo is not accurate, and people looking for pictures of a beach will not click on your picture of the logo. Unless your logo involves a beach somehow, of course.
6. ENGAGE WITH YOUR FOLLOWERS
Don’t just drop your content for the sake of posting but try to engage with your followers.
You can easily do this by asking a question in your caption and reacting to the comments you get. Nowadays you can simply ‘like’ a comment, but it is even better to react.
Also don’t forget to take a look at the pictures you are tagged in every now and then, and engage with them by either liking or commenting on the picture. Finally, check your Direct Messages (DMs) every once in a while. You wouldn’t want to miss out on a social selling opportunity!
7. LOOK FOR A TOOL THAT POSTS FOR YOU
You might have heard of Hootsuite, a tool often used to manage several social media accounts that will post for you automatically. However, as of right now it doesn’t allow you to post to Instagram directly. The only tool I have found that does allow you to schedule a post and posts it to Instagram for you, is Preppr. It is fairly cheap, so I would recommend to check it out.
8. DO YOU KNOW WHAT INSTAGRAM STORIES ARE?
If you don’t, it is time you do. Instagram Stories are pictures or videos you share for 24 hours. When you see a colorful circle around someone’s profile picture on Instagram, it means that they have uploaded at least one story for you to look at. You also see them at the top of your Instagram feed.
Stories are an excellent way to share fun happenings at your organization. Because the picture will be online for only 24 hours and will not appear on your actual Instagram feed, it doesn’t have to be picture-perfect.
At WORTH, we tend to post Stories when we go to an event, work from home, have lunch outside on a sunny day, and also of our notorious Fun Food Friday, when we order food for the office.
9. INVOLVE YOUR EMPLOYEES WITH SOCIAL MEDIA
Last but not least, it is important to involve your whole team. At WORTH, the social media is run by the Creative Services team. But the core of the business are the developers. The trick to a successful social media strategy is to not only involve the marketing and social media savvy team members, but also the techies, the finance department and the CEO.
When everyone is involved, they are also more willing to share valuable content with you, engage with your posts, and encourage their family and friends to connect with you on Instagram.
These are my tips for any service provider, B2B, B2C and most of all H2H, to rock your Instagram page. Don’t forget it takes time and patience to build your page and grow an audience. And keep in mind that you don’t need 10k followers, it could prove to be more useful to have 500 followers that are really interested in what you have to offer.
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