Traditionally, tradies found work through word of mouth and print advertising. But times have changed. These days, even when a potential client hears about your business, they tend to search for you on social media to judge your professionalism and quality of work. The key to finding clients on Instagram is building a relationship with your followers. People are more likely to hire you if they feel like they know you – and even like you.
So, how do you build a relationship with your followers and grow your Instagram business account? It’s definitely not about getting more followers, it’s about growing a community of quality leads. People who can trust you and will remember you should they need your services. Here are some tips to help you on the right path.
In order to grow your business account on Instagram, you need to be consistent. You can’t post once this week and then again in 3 months or whenever you remember. Ideally, everyone would love to post everyday. But this isn’t always possible with the demands of work. So the recommended amount of posts is at least 3 per week. Each post takes time to craft so you’ll want to set aside some time each week to write your posts. You want them to show how much you know and how professional you are. That won’t happen if your posts are written in a hurry or filled with spelling mistakes.
Engage with Followers
This seems obvious but I’m constantly amazed at the number of trade-related accounts I see where people don’t engage with their followers. If someone makes a comment or asks a question on your post, make sure you answer them. Not answering or not acknowledging them (even with something as simple as a like for their comment) can seem very rude. People will think you don’t care and are ignoring them. The people you talk to and engage with are the ones who will remember you when they are looking for your services.
Take Great Photos
Instagram is primarily a visual social network so your photos need to be great in order to capture people’s attention. There are no excuses for bad photos these days. Most tradies have a phone and they’re as good as stand-alone cameras, sometimes better! So no need for professional photographers for your weekly posts. Some professional photos are great to throw in the mix, but they don’t all need to be professional shots. Ensure your photos are clear and not blurry. Try taking photos from different angles to make your feed more interesting. Even try playing with filters to give your photos an edge.
Use Relevant Hashtags
Hashtags are what will help new followers find you on Instagram. Granted that sometimes the changes in algorithm make getting discovered difficult – but it’s not impossible. People use Instagram in three ways – they scroll through their feed seeing the posts of people they follow, they tap through their story feed and they search for specific hashtags. My advice is to use at least 11 hashtags on every post. Mix them up and don’t always use the exact same ones for each post because otherwise Instagram might think you’re a bot and disable your account. Use ones that are unique to your business or your trade, use ones that directly relate to your post and use ones that people might be searching for.
Post Interesting Content
This goes without saying but many tradies get a little confused about what this might be. Is a switchboard filled with wires interesting? Are photos of a house being demolished something that people want to see? Is a post about a blocked toilet going to be a turn-off? Only you know that answer. But in order to work it out, I would advise you thinking about your target audience. Who are they? Why are they visiting your page? My own Instagram is a mix of words and homes because I’m a copywriter who specialises in writing copy for the building and construction industry. So people on my page are either fellow copywriters/general followers who love words and quotes about life and business. Or they follow because they love looking at homes and decorating ideas. As a general rule for tradies, people love behind the scenes content – they are curious about how things work. They love before and after photos. And they love handy tips that will help them out with a problem like a blocked drain.
Inject Your Personality
Many tradies I’ve met are reluctant to put themselves in front of the camera. But it’s still something I encourage (beg and plead) with them to do. Whether it’s photos of yourself working or a video giving a quick rundown of a job, it’s sure to make you stand out. By showing potential clients who you are and revealing a little of your personality, you’re building a relationship with them. It’s a sure-fire way to grow your Instagram account and your business. When they have a job that needs doing, they are more likely to call a person they feel they know and trust.
Use Your Bio
Having an Instagram business account means you have a little more space in your bio (that part at the top of your Instagram page). Put it to good use. There are often vital pieces of information missing from this section that could be the difference between someone clicking through to your website or just scrolling on. Make sure you tell people what you do, especially if that is unclear from your name. And as a trade, tell people where you’re located or what areas you service. If you’re in Melbourne and someone needs an emergency plumber in Sydney, you won’t be much use to them. Also make sure you have your contact details available. If people have to dig for information, they just won’t bother.
Embrace All Things Local
As a tradie, you more than likely work in certain local areas. Unless you pop up in a local search, most people in the area won’t know you exist – unless you make them aware. Make connections with other local businesses through live networking events or through social media. If you always stop at a certain cafe for your morning coffee, take a snap and give them a shoutout on your story. They’ll become aware of you and most likely share the post with their own followers who will then notice you. I’m also a big believer in giving back to the community, so if there’s a local charity that needs some help, get in there and volunteer. Local connections are some of the best for growing your business so embrace all things local.
You need to enjoy Instagram and have fun with it. Once you begin establishing relationships, it will be a more familiar space. And you’ll look forward to posting and looking at what others have posted. Follow the simple tips above and over time you will grow your Instagram business account. It won’t magically happen overnight, but organic growth is worth far more in the long run.
However, if it’s all too overwhelming or you’re just too busy to craft Instagram posts and work out what hashtags to use, drop me a line and I can help out. Wishing you success with your Instagram account and your business – Follow my Instagram and let me know you’ve read this post and I’ll follow back.