Social media can be a landscape designer’s best friend — particularly Instagram. This visually-oriented platform is ideal for showcasing your projects, highlighting your services, and alerting your customers to seasonal (or even weekly) specials. Not sure how to get started? Follow these tips!
How to Get Started with Instagram for Business
Sign up for an Instagram account using your business name, not your personal name. Branding is everything here, and you don’t want potential clients scratching their heads to remember who that awesome designer was!
Use your company logo as your profile pic, or if your business is centered upon you as the designer, a professional headshot of you. Your profile information should be succinct, letting followers know what you do — and remember to provide a link to your website so they can contact you!
Decide ahead of time how you want your Instagram feed to “look” — colorful and playful, elegant and sophisticated, or relaxed and fun? Always keep in mind that Instagram is visual first, so your followers should be able to tell at a glance (without reading any post captions or comments) who you are, what your company personality is, and most importantly, who your clientele is.
Instagram Post Ideas for Landscape Designers
Install the Instagram app on your smartphone, and use it to post images once daily (but no more than twice) Instagram culture is very particular and people will unfollow you if they feel they’re being bombarded.
Here are some great ideas for what to post:
- Before-and-after pics of your best projects
- Pics of finished projects
- Behind-the-scenes pics (you at your design station, at the wholesaler’s choosing plants, hanging out with your crew) — these are images that let people get to know you as a person, so inject your personality and humor into them.
- Plant combinations that you love
- A pic of you with a caption that talks about your “why” — why you design, why you are passionate about creating beautiful gardens, what you love about your work, etc.
- Videos up to 60 seconds long
How to Batch Schedule for Efficiency
If you have to remember to post from your phone once a day, you might find it a chore. However, once you’ve signed up for a business Instagram account, you can also sign up for a tool called Tailwind, which will allow you to pre-schedule Instagram posts from your desktop. It’s a lot more efficient to sit down and schedule the whole month at one time, rather than post one day at a time. Tailwind also lets you save hashtag groups.
How to Use Effective Instagram Hashtags
Hashtags, for the uninitiated, are ways for followers to find you based upon a particular topic they are searching for. It’s a word or a phrase, without spaces, and preceded by a hash sign (#).
What’s the importance? If someone in your area needs a landscape designer or contractor, they may search a hashtag like “#Bostonlandscaping” or “#AtlantaContainerPlantings”to see what comes up. If you’ve used these hashtags in your Instagram posts, your posts will show up in that search. Score!
- Use up to 20 — it’s allowed!
- Add your hashtag list after the caption on your post, or include it in a comment on your post.
- Create a custom hashtag list in the “Notes” section of your smart phone to save time — just copy and paste into your post rather than retype them every time!
- Make sure the hashtags you’re using correlate in some way to the image you’re posting, as the Instagram algorithm frowns upon unrelated hashtags in excess and may punish you by not allowing your post to be viewed as widely as you’d like.
- Consider creating a unique hashtag for your company and using it on all of your posts. It could be something like a tagline (if you have one for your business) such as #UniquePlantingsForNYC or #LandscapingWithHelenJones.
- Great hashtags for landscapers and designers include #landscapedesigner #(yourcity)landscapedesigner #containergardening #containerdesigner #pottedplants #yourcompanyname #landscapecontractor
- Local hashtags are your friend! Using #yourcity_______ anything will help you grow
How to Use Instagram Stories to Grow Your Landscape Business
Instagram stories are a unique opportunity to post seasonal sales, sale codes (if you have an online or ecommerce site), or promotions. While you could add these to your feed, Instagram is nicer to you if you don’t. Additionally with the algorithm changes, a promotion could end up in the regular feed long after it has expired, while stories last only 24 hours.
Also great for IG stories? Design tips, planting tips, and educational tidbits — ideal if you also offer online courses, garden coaching, or want to establish yourself as an educator or speaker.
Pro Tip: Use the “highlights” feature to keep “evergreen” Instastories around. Highlights are great ways to categorize stories for subjects like “design tips,” “how-tos,” and more. Keeping some highlights on your profile lets potential customers see you in action, giving a more personal feel. (And keeping highlights on your profile takes some pressure off of you to constantly post new Instagram stories — though those do receive a lot of interaction.)
Remember to Be Engaging and to Engage
And finally, never forget that social media is social. Ask questions in your posts, get people to engage with you, respond to every question (yes, every one), and actively comment on other people’s posts. (Post and ghost as a strategy doesn’t work well.) Your goal is to be seen, and to teach people to know, like, and trust you, which will make them call you for their next big landscape project!