Posted on Tuesday, November 5th, 2019
Ever since we started sharing photos of great-looking signs every day on Instagram (you’ll find us at @signcraftmagazine), we’ve heard from sign people who use Instagram to drive sales for their sign business as well as to get design ideas. Most like that it’s so easy to use. You can post examples of your work and projects you have underway in seconds. And it’s free.
And since so many people use Instagram—one billion and rising—it’s become an easy way for customers to locate the right shop to handle their signage. Many of your customers and prospective customers are already using Instagram every day. Your Instagram posts become an online portfolio of your work.
It’s especially practical for sign businesses because our work is visual. Other businesses have to work hard to find a variety of interesting photos to post. Not so for sign makers.
Kim Schmehl and her husband, Charlie, have CDS Signs in Burlington, Ontario, Canada. Kim uses social media to help market their work and sees the results. Instagram has become a favorite for her.
“Promoting your sign business on social media might seem overwhelming, too time consuming or just plain confusing,” says Kim. “But if you can set aside about 15 to 20 minutes every day, you can manage an Instagram account–even if you’re not under 30!”
Instagram is much more visual and less cumbersome than Facebook—and less cluttered to look at. It’s easier than updating your website with the constant stream of signs that you turn out.
Kim has these five pointers to help you get started and get the most out of Instagram:
Complete your bio: This is a simple step, but it is often overlooked. Don’t forget to completely fill out your bio so that customers know how to contact you. Try to keep your business description engaging and include your contact information and website address.
Content: You don’t need to be a professional to take great photos and videos. Using your smartphone and being mindful of lighting is all you need. Installing a sign with a boom truck? That’s not a view most people get to enjoy. Take a picture or a short video while you’re up there—your followers will love it.
Engage your audience: Check your account for comments. If someone takes time to comment on your post, make sure you reply or return the favor. Engaging with your audience makes them feel appreciated and builds customer loyalty.
Start following existing clients, as well as clients you would like to service, and leave a comment. The comment section is not the place to promote your company, but to build a relationship. This creates visibility for your company within another network. It also helps you build a larger following on your own account.
Get personal: People want to get to know you and your team. This personal connection is what builds your brand and keeps you in the forefront of your clients’ minds. If you bring your dog to work, post a picture. Take some candid shots of your team while they are working and share them with your audience. These glimpses into your everyday life resonate with your audience.
Keep it entertaining: The main purpose of social media is entertainment, not advertising. Your clients are scrolling through their Instagram feed at the end of a long day and don’t want to look through sales pitches. So 80% of your posts should add value (a funny sign post, tips for designing a logo) and 20% should be sales related.
Social media is a “slow burn” growth tactic. It can take up to six months to really start to see results from online marketing strategies, so stay patient and keep going. Learn to use Instagram Insights to analyze your strategy regularly and make adjustments accordingly.
Here’s how to set up an Instagram Business Account
If you’re not already among the one-billion-plus Instagram users, here’s how to get started. Android users can go to the Google Play Store and iPhone users to the App Store to download the app. You can set up a new Instagram account using either your phone number or email address, then create your username and password. (If you’re a Facebook user, you can choose Log in with Facebook to get started quickly.)
To create an Instagram account for your business, use your business phone number and email address, then create a username that relates to your business name. Once your account is set up, tap the person icon in the bottom right of the screen. At the screen that opens, tap the menu icon (three horizontal lines) in the top right and choose Settings at the bottom of the list.
When the Settings window opens, tap Account on the list of options. Scroll down to the bottom of the list that opens and choose to Switch to Business Account. Add your business information, such as business address and phone number. You’re up and running on Instagram.
Although Instagram is designed for use on a smartphone, you can also use Instagram from your computer. Simply go to Instagram.com on any browser to create your account.
You can link your Instagram Business Account to your Facebook Business page, so that your Instagram posts also appear on your shop’s Facebook page. Simply go to your profile screen in Instagram and tap on Edit Profile. Scroll down and tap on Page. Select your required page there.
Be sure to tap the Search icon (the magnifying glass) at the bottom of the screen and enter @signcraftmagazine to visit SignCraft’s Instagram. Once there, tap the blue Follow button to follow SignCraft and see an idea-packed sign design every single day. —Editors