If there are two things we talk a lot about here at IDCO, it’s Instagram and interior design. As a firm that specializes in branding and web design specific to interior designers, we know first-hand the role that social media plays in marketing within the industry.
Instagram is an interior designer’s way to engage with a captive audience. It’s the opposite of casting a wide net—you can communicate directly with users interested in interior design via hashtags or with followers specifically interested in your work through your own feed.
Instagram has undergone a sort of transformation over the last several years. The platform, which was once used for snaps of everyday life, is now a blank canvas for creatives and professionals alike to share their work in a thoughtful and curated archive. A cohesive and aesthetic Instagram feed can serve the same purpose as a portfolio, although you do need both.
More and more often, users are turning to Instagram for inspiration and artistry, rather than to keep up with friends. This sort of accessibility has created a shift in the industry, where we no longer rely on the editors at our favorite magazines or word of mouth to find the most talented designers; we can find them ourselves on our Discover page, followed hashtags, or reposted work.
Instagram’s set-up lends itself beautifully to interior design. Twitter is not as image-friendly and Facebook is too cluttered. Pinterest is another useful tool, but works best in conjunction with a strong Instagram presence. Instagram not only gives you the opportunity to showcase your work to people who are looking for it, but it creates a network where your work is linked to the brands you tag, and therefore, their audience. For instance, West Elm has nearly 2 million followers on Instagram. When you incorporate their products into your design and tag them, that image is available to be seen by any of their followers that click over to their tagged photos. All it takes is one eye-catching image to find yourself with thousands of new followers. Of course, it’s not always that simple, and Instagram poses a number of challenges including theft of intellectual property.
All that said, Instagram isn’t going anywhere as a destination for design inspiration. It’s where the major players are spending their advertising cash (an estimated $7B this year). While producing high-quality content certainly takes time, effort, and a little money if you’re outsourcing, Instagram is where your potential clients are spending their time.
First and foremost, images are paramount. Without quality, consistent photography, all other efforts will be pointless. Most follows will stem from an image seen in passing. Whether the user keeps scrolling or stops to click through to your profile depends almost entirely on the image, with the caption coming in secondary.
The problem with images is that Instagram often sends conflicting messages: if you post photos like this, you’ll get more followers + do your own thing, everyone is looking for unique and fresh! As followers go, both those statements are likely true, but if your goal is (and it should be) to build an authentic community of followers that enjoy and relate to your work, your best bet is to just present your best and most genuine work right out the gate. This is what separates designers and influencers. And if your style develops and changes over time, don’t worry. Your Instagram feed will display that growth as a designer. Potential clients will connect with your passion and story much more if you emphasize your personal style rather than trying to ride the coattail of every trend.
Engagement is essential. Communicating with your followers, other industry leaders, and brands is key for growth. Posting regularly, commenting on other posts, replying to messages, and offering behind-the-scenes stories are all important for visibility.
If that sounds like a lot of work, that’s because it is, but Instagram should be accounted for in both your marketing plan and budget. Even if you choose to outsource, it’s still the most effective and affordable form of direct advertising. All other channels are trying to compete. Shameless plug: Our comprehensive Instagram management services have yielded unbelievable numbers (and sales conversions) for our clients.
For more tips for elevating your interior design business, check out these posts:
The Identité Collective is a full service creative studio for interior designers and boutique lifestyle brands. Offering bespoke branding, web design and social media content creation, we help brands built around beautiful living elevate their digital presence to represent the physical spaces they design. Want to work together? Shoot us an inquiry here.