Using Instagram for Your Service Business

Michael M.
September 6, 2018
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Instagram: Beautiful nature photos, your friend's dog, and... oh wait, what's that? A super clean before-and-after picture of a freshly cleaned carpet? Or how about that super satisfying pressure washing video showing a sidewalk being cleaned? Your service business, whether it fits into either of those two industries or not, is a potential goldmine of quick content. If you have a smartphone, in just a few seconds you can record a quick video of your work-in-progress job and post it directly to your Instagram Story (more on this later). What about when you finish a job? If you have a customer who is willing, record a quick testimonial with your phone and post it with a quote. The possibilities are wide open for a service business, but the key is to create content that is engaging.

First things first: Make sure your company's Instagram page is a business page. Do this by going into your settings on the Instagram app, then selecting "Switch to Business Profile". Boom! There you go. This will allow you to categorize your business, include your contact info and website, and run promotions.

Using Instagram's "Story" Feature

Instagram Stories have become the go-to documentation method for its users. When this feature was first introduced, it seemed to be just a rip-off of SnapChat's Story feature. However, very quickly users realized that now they were able to quickly communicate something to their followers on Instagram, essentially giving them dual functionality within the app. Now, Stories are a huge part of how businesses, celebrities, and the everyday person quickly connect with their followers.

For a service business, it's a little more complicated since in most cases you probably don't already have a large following (or any, if you're new to Instagram). As was already mentioned, the key really is to create content that is engaging. This means that it's either visually appealing, relevant to your followers, shares an experience, or any combination of these. With specific regard to Stories, try to create content that is immediately engaging to the viewer, and keep it short. For example, a quick photo or video explaining a promotion you're running, or a one or two sentence customer testimonial, could work very well on your Story. Anything that's "interesting" looking is worth posting. Anything that is funny or comedic in any way is worth posting. Regularly posting on your story and keeping your followers engaged is the first step, and with repetition comes better content.

One fun thing to mess around with is the camera settings on your phone. You can do slow-mo, time lapse, panorama, and on some phones even take professional-looking portraits with a depth effect. USE THESE. A before-and-after photo of a job on your Instagram Story is fine, but what about a time-lapse showing (for example) the carpet in one room being cleaned from start to finish? That kind of content is more visually appealing and makes great content for your Story. Set your phone on a shelf or a chair, press record on the time lapse, and once you're done with the job you have a cool video that can even be used for a lot more than just an Instagram Story.

One last thing about Stories to keep in mind: They only last for 24 hours, unless you add them to a highlight folder. Stories are perfect for time-sensitive announcements and things that aren't really important in the long run, but for more serious posts that you want to be seen by more people, consider using a regular post.

Regular Posting on Instagram

Now for your regular page posts, this is where the content needs to be more thought out. You can use the same type of content as on your story, but the format is different and these posts tend to be seen and interacted with way more. Also, the video length can be up to 60 seconds for a regular post, which allows you to post longer clips. For starting out, we recommend a few different types of posts: Before and after photos and videos, "meet the team" style posts featuring your employees (and yourself, of course!), and testimonial photos or videos. Depending on the type of service business you have, local-oriented posts can also be utilized to show your connection to the community. This would include, for example, any youth sports teams you sponsor, volunteer work that you or your crew does, and participation in any sort of local charitable events.

The overall goal with your Instagram posts is to document what your business does and who you are as a company. If someone scrolls through your posts and just sees photo after photo of cleaned carpets, they won't be engaged and won't care as much. But if they see those cleaned carpets, along with short introduction posts about each of your technicians, photos of your crew participating in a local event together, and occasional testimonials from others in your community, suddenly they'll be a lot more engaged and be able to make a fair judgment about who you are as a business. This will increase the likelihood that they will want you to do a job for them, and gives you the ability to stay connected with past customers! One way to think of Instagram is as a sales tool that combines new leads and repeat customers. You're going to be reaching both types of people, so make sure your content actually appeals to both!

Advertising on Instagram

Instagram advertising is generally done through Facebook, which is by far the best approach. Linking your Facebook and Instagram accounts allows you to run ads on both platforms very easily, or choose different versions of ads for each platform. However, if you want to run ads just through Instagram, that can also be done through the app itself. When you select any of your posts, beneath the picture or video you will see a bar that says "View Insights" on the left, and then a button that says "Promote" on the right. Clicking that "Promote" button will start the process of boosting your post.

First, you want to select where to send people. Generally, this would be your website or a page where they can learn more about your services and easily contact you. Next, you select your target audience, which can be either an automatically-generated list from Instagram, or you can select specific people and locations to target. This is very useful if you want to run a certain promotion in a specific area or want to gather leads by targeting new individuals. The last step is to set your budget and duration of the campaign. Our suggestion is to start small (around $5 per day) and see what kind of results you get. That's it! Instagram makes it very quick and easy to advertise on their platform, so don't hesitate to use it to grow your business.

That's it for today! We hope this overview of how to use Instagram for your service business has been helpful and informative. If you have any specific questions about how to use Instagram, or needs tips/advice, feel free to email and we will get back to you. Like always, we're more than happy to help with whatever you need!

Until next time!

(follow us on Instagram here!)

Michael M.
September 6, 2018
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