It might seem like Instagram is only for pictures of people’s breakfast or selfies of models, but in reality, it’s a fast-growing platform and a powerful way to win more work for your trades business. Watch the video below to see how UK-based electrician Grant Speller uses Instagram to find jobs.
Short on time? Jump ahead:
- 1. What is Instagram?
- 2. How to create an Instagram business account
- 3. Build community connections
- 4. Get content-savvy
- 5. Explore all the features
- 6. How to run ads on Instagram
- 7. Connect all your accounts
In the USA - Instagram has over 100 million active users.
In the UK - Instagram has around 30 million active users.
In Australia - Instagram has over 10 million active users.
In New Zealand - Instagram has around 2 million active users.
1. What is Instagram?
The photo-sharing app is fairly simple and is focused on presenting beautiful or interesting videos and imagery. Filters let users boost the look of their images even further. Unlike Facebook, Instagram accounts are viewable by anyone on the platform unless you choose to make your account private. This openness gives people, businesses and brands more chances of being discovered with every piece of content uploaded
The search and discovery nature of the platform is proving valuable for businesses with Instagram users open to interacting with brands. So much so that:
- 90% of Instagram accounts follow at least one business on Instagram.
- 78% say that they see brands on Instagram as popular, 77% as creative, 76% as entertaining and 72% as committed to building community.
- 83% of Instagram users discover new products on the platform, 81% use it to research and 80% say they use it to decide on a product or service.
With millions of people using Instagram every day, it's your opportunity to:
- Promote your trade business
- Generate enquiries
- Win more work
Below we break down everything you need to know about setting up an Instagram business account and tips to make it an important part of your marketing toolkit.
2. How to create an Instagram business account
Instagram have this easy-to-follow guide on how setting up your business account. You can switch your personal Instagram account to a business account too. It’s important to convert to a business account because it’ll unlock all sorts of features – like the Facebook business manager, you’ll get numbers on how you’re doing and be able to run ads, for example.
When setting up your account, make sure you choose good imagery for your profile – your logo is the most obvious choice here. Check that the size and shape of it work well. Remember that Instagram is a visual platform, so looks really matter! Double-check you’ve found a business category that reflects what you do, and then link to your website. Add a brief description of what you do, and your tagline if you have one.
Now it’s time to build your audience.
3. Build community connections
First, start building your community. Reach out to your friends, supporters and past clients. Follow them, then look at the people they follow. The goal is to build a network of the kinds of people who fit your target audience – the people who would most likely hire you.
You can gain attention through paid ads too, but who you follow and who follows you are key pieces of the puzzle! It’s important to be an active member of the community – follow other brands, even your competitors, and give your expertise away. The idea is to positively contribute to the community of tradespeople on Instagram.
4. Get content-savvy
Instagram is all about beautiful shots with engaging content. Share your photos and videos by posting them in your feed and on your Stories. When you post to your feed, your followers will see those images when they scroll, scroll, scroll down their Instagram.
They can also head to your profile to see all the things you’ve posted. This is the place to post things like project before-and-afters, progress shots, walk-throughs of completed jobs and client reviews. Using free or cheap design software, like Canva, is an easy way to make it all look slick. Square or landscape images work best in your feed.
The Instagram Stories section is like Snapchat, you can share short videos or less-edited content, as it will disappear after 24 hours. This is the place where you can really get creative by posting videos of funny stuff happening on-site, or your thoughts on a certain topic. Remember, when capturing photos and videos for stories, keep your phone in portrait orientation (straight up and down).
Use stickers in your Stories. These are digital stickers you can overlay onto images. You can add funny GIFs, polls, quizzes, or invite followers to ask questions.
5. Explore all the features
Instagram has lots of fun ways to get people to engage, so it’s worth knowing how to use them.
- Save your best Stories with the highlights tab - If you’ve answered important questions, given people insight into how you work, or shared a client testimonial, you can categorise them in highlights and keep adding to them.
- Add locations to your photos – This helps you get discovered by people in your local area or community.
- Use hashtags in your feed - Your images will come up in relevant searches. You can use up to 30 hashtags per post.
- You can’t add clickable links in Instagram posts - Many brands are using tools like Link Tree. These free tools let you house all of your important online properties within one link. For instance, your website, Facebook page, enquiries page, or business directory links.
- Consider using IGTV - This feature lets you share much longer videos in your feed. You might like to edit a walk-through of a completed project or share a video about your business, for example.
- Reels - Instagram describes Reels as "short, entertaining videos, where you can express your creativity and bring your brand to life."
6. How to run ads on Instagram
On Instagram, a good ad can spread your net, helping you get in front of potential customers. Because Facebook owns Instagram, you need to run your ads through FB Ads Manager.
As with any ad, think about your objective. Are you just trying to build brand awareness, or are you offering a special deal to increase enquiries and build your database? Ensure you are using the Ads Manager tool to target the right people, in the right place at the right time.
7. Connect all your accounts
Getting your Instagram feed connected to your website is a fast, easy way of getting new, engaging content on your site. It can be good for SEO and can also help draw more people to your account. Similarly, linking Instagram to your Facebook account means you can share photos on both platforms at the same time.
Posting links from one platform to another will help your audience discover you on the platforms they like to engage with the most. Consider adding links to and from the following platforms:
Engage and they will come
Instagram’s is more popular than ever, so it’s still a great time to dive in and get the benefits. Don’t worry if people don't follow you straight away. If you share valuable and engaging content on a consistent basis, they will come. Have fun with it, try different things and see what sticks.
To learn more about how to build a marketing strategy for your trade business, download our marketing toolkit.