Getting started with Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter
Before we get into using Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for your building design business, I want to share with you something that I heard this past week. It was an ah-ha moment for me. Maybe it will help you, too.
Last week I got an email from someone that said:
“your seo posts were helpful but social media isnt my thing. what else can i do for my business?”
I started to type an email reply that there are tons of other things you can do. I’ll write more about them in the future. Then I noticed that an internet marketing conference, Inbound 2016, was about to have a talk by Gary Vaynerchuk. I wanted to see what’s up with that on Twitter. Of course, I forgot to finish the email.
I didn’t follow the rest of #Inbound16, but I wanted to catch what Gary V said because he’s an entrepreneur I respect and follow pretty closely.
Coincidentally, he said something relevant to that email I received:
“I spend my life reading excuses for not using social media. Nobody cares. The market doesn’t care.” – Gary Vaynerchuk, Inbound 2016
That last sentence is so important.
The market doesn’t care.
You can have every excuse in the world to not do social media, but you’re hurting your business by not leveraging it.
But, we already talked about the importance of social media last week.
This week, we’re going to get into some actionable steps we can take with a few of the top social media platforms: Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
First, start with Instagram.
You’re blessed in that your work is very visual, and visual things do far better on social media than just text. Images are quick and easy and you have lots of them, from sketches of designs to renders to photographs of completely built designs.
Share your designs on Instagram!
When working on a branded Instagram, like this, you want to make sure you keep the posts consistent. A new follower should be able to see immediately what your business is all about. If there are pictures of a house you designed, and then your lunch, and then your family, and then the sunrise on the beach of your last vacation…they’re going to be confused. Keep that stuff to your personal profile.
Your brand profile should be all about what your business is about.
Post what you do, and show your best work. People love to see that, and it builds up a sort of quick glance portfolio. Someone can quickly decide if they like your work.
That could then make them a potential client, or perhaps when someone they know is looking to have a home designed, your follower will recommend you.
You should also be sure to fill out your profile with an image, a brief description, and a link to your website. If you don’t have a website, get on that.
Include a caption with some brief information about the post. You could talk about the style, or what the clients requested and how you delivered. You have up to 2200 characters in the post caption, but you don’t want to write up a whole big book, either. Brevity is a strength on Instagram.
When posting your caption, make sure to include tags in your Instagram posts.
There’s a little trick to hide them tactfully, and we’ll do it in a separate comment underneath your caption.
You can have up to 30 tags in one post, so come up with as many (under 30) that you can that appropriately apply to what you’re posting. You don’t want to add tags that are unrelated because people will see through the lack of authenticity.
In your phone’s notes app, you want to do 5 periods on 5 separate lines, and then put your tags. Then, copy and paste all of that into it’s own comment on your Instagram post.
It’ll look like this:
#tag1 #tag2 #tag3 #tag4 #tag5 #tag6 #tag7 #tag8 #tag9 #tag10 #tag11 #tag12 #tag13 #tag14 #tag15 #tag16
Instagram also allows for short videos, up to 60 seconds long. You can use these to show videos of houses, or time lapses of you sketching, or anything else you think would be interesting that is related to your business.
The last real tip for Instagram is a tip that’s going to go with everything: consistency. Consistency is key when being successful in anything, and that includes social media. Post no less than once a week, but not so often that it would be annoying. A good rule of thumb is to post once or twice each day.
Then, move on to Facebook Pages.
Facebook Pages have a lot more power in what you can do.
First, lets start with naming your Facebook page. If you’ve already named it, you can change it. The name should be your brand name.
John Smith Building Design LLC.
Great Homes LLC.
Let’s say you have something like the second one that doesn’t really say what your business is. Great Homes LLC kind of tells you what it is, but let’s do some Facebook SEO.
Add on a very brief keyword that is the best representation of what Great Homes LLC does.
Great Homes LLC – Residential and Light Commercial Building Design
Great Homes LLC – Custom Home Design
Be aware that Facebook does review name changes so if they say it’s no good, just go with the brand name. They usually will warn you as long as your name change doesn’t include profanity or something super spammy. In some cases such as those, they may just delete your page. So, play nice.
Your main profile picture should be something like your logo or a house you designs. Logo is usually a great bet but a really awesome house may do better. Try a few different things and switch them out every couple weeks and figure out what works best for your audience.
Facebook Pages are the place where you can type long form text about projects or other things related to your business. Facebook Page posts have a whopping 63,206 character limit. I don’t recommend you write that much, but you can if you want to.
Facebook Pages also allow images and video, and you should post with one or the other even if your goal is to post a good text post. Text posts do better on Facebook when they’re accompanied by images and/or video. Posts with images get, on average, 39% more engagement than posts without an image.
There’s also the new Facebook Live video which I’ve just started experimenting with. It’s a great way to directly engage followers. One thing you can do with Facebook Live video is to do tours of completed buildings you’ve designed. Another great idea is to do Q & A sessions when you have enough followers to warrant something like that. Keep in mind time zones when you do Live videos that require audience interaction. Otherwise, videos are saved to the wall when they’re done, so people can watch things like building tours any time.
Twitter should be the third platform you start utilizing.
Twitter is pretty similar to Instagram and Facebook as far how you use it. You’ll want to keep in mind you’re limited to only 140 characters, and links will count towards some of that (though that’s changing soon, and already has started).
Set up your profile with an image, description, and a link to your website.
After that, Twitter is really simple. Make sure to post regularly and as with Facebook, posts with images do much better than posts without images.
Post the same sorts of things as you post on Instagram and Facebook. One thing I don’t recommend is linking your Instagram to your Twitter and just letting Instagram post from there. The reason why is because it won’t post the image, just the caption (up to 100-and-something characters) and a link to the post on Instagram.
That’s not great for engagement.
You’ll want to manually post everything yourself on each page to make sure everything is formatted properly and looks good. For Facebook and Twitter, you can use a tool like Hootsuite which will post each one manually, thus including the image.
Consistency is the key.
One of the most important parts of a successful Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter campaign is consistency. In most instances you can probably get away with one post a week. Realistically you should be posting at least once a day.
Emails and blog posts only really need to be once a week. Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter move so much faster. It’s important to be relevant to your audience. You don’t want to be constantly in their face, but you do want to regularly be on their mind. Don’t let them forget you exist by not posting for a month!
If you’re not already on our mailing list, head over to AIBD.org/newsletter and sign up now. It’s free and we send out weekly newsletters along with other information that benefits building designers.
[Note: John Smith Building Design LLC and Great Homes LLC are both examples made up on the spot. We have no relation to any business that may share those names.]
Garrett Mickley is the Communications Director for AIBD and has over eight years experience working in digital marketing.
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