How to use Instagram for your Service Based Business

I often get asked by if Instagram is suited to service based businesses. Of course no one wants to go down the rabbit hole of another social media platform if it’s going to be a time suck with no return. Plus there’s that whole “what the heck am I going to post if I don’t sell a physical product?”. So today I want to share with you some answers to commonly asked questions, along with some tips on how to use Instagram for your service based business.

What do I post on Instagram about my service based business?

If you’re a service based business, think of Instagram as ‘micro-blogging’. Anything you want to say to your tribe, you can say it on Instagram. Don’t worry about trying to think of witty or creative captions, just speak authentically. Talk to your followers as if they were right there in front of you. Your Instagram captions can be anything from one line, to paragraphs, to mini blog posts. Currently the limit on Instagram is 2200 characters, but I’ve seen people post even more by continuing in the comments. I don’t go that far, but I do like to provide value in my captions. Feel free to mix it up though, you don’t need to make every caption an epic piece of work.

Some ideas of things you can post on Instagram as a service based business:

  • Tips and ideas
  • Advice
  • Quotes
  • Facts
  • Short Testimonials
  • What you’re doing today – people love behind the scenes (make sure it’s not too random to your theme)
  • A sneak peek into your office (desk shots are super popular)
  • Something about you (so people can get to know you, especially if it relates to your business)
  • Major events that tie in with your business
  • Positive press that you’ve received

What photos can I use on Instagram when I’m a service based business?

Lucky you! Because you don’t have a physical product, you don’t have to set up photoshoots if you don’t want to. Think about what sorts of things your tribe would enjoy seeing. As an example, I share social media and business tips in my captions, but most of my photos are lifestyle ones. These are the sorts of photos I enjoy taking, and I feel that my tribe enjoys seeing them. However if I could quite easily not use my own photos at all and that would be fine too.

Maybe you’d like to get creative in other ways. How about sharing some behind the scenes photos? People love being a fly on the wall to see what happens on the other side of the computer! Here’s a few ideas: photos of you (although be careful not to post lots of selfies which can seem self-indulgent), photos of you at a conference or the conference venue, location shots if you’re traveling for business. Or maybe share photos that inspire you, it’s likely that your followers will also be inspired by the same things if they relate to your business. Think about the sorts of photos your customers might be interested in seeing and test those out to see what sort of a response you get.

What if I don’t want to take photos?

I get it. I often hear “I’m a crappy photographer” or “I just don’t have time to photograph and edit”. Not a problem! While Instagram started as a social network where you took a photo within Instagram, and then posted it immediately, it’s now evolved from there. Because of that, there’s a number other options you can take. Here’s some ideas for you:

  • You can take the ‘no photo’ approach and simply use attractive graphics with the title of your ‘post’. These graphics can easily be created yourself on a program like Canva, or you can also have a VA professionally create some for you.
  • No doubt your business lends itself to quotes (I’d be surprised if it doesn’t!), again, you can whip these up quickly on Canva. Depending on your business, you can use these quotes sprinkled here and there, or on every second post. Of course there are many Instagram accounts that base their whole gallery solely on quotes on their topic of choice.
  • Another option is to seek photos from within Instagram by re-gramming (reposting) other people’s photos. Find a photo you like on Instagram and ask the owner of the photo if it’s okay to share it on your gallery. Most people on Instagram don’t actually ask to share, instead they make sure they credit the original account in the caption. Technically it is nice to ask first, especially if the photo is an original one that the other Instagrammer has taken themselves, but most people feel crediting the original Instagram account is enough. There are plenty of popular Instagram accounts that curate their whole gallery around other people’s photos.
  • There’s also the option to use stock photos from a free stock photo site. You just want to make sure that you use a variety so your Instagram gallery doesn’t look like a stock photo site itself. Alternatively, overlaying the photos with text helps create a cohesive look.

  • Lastly, if you want to get fancy and really nail your branding, you can even purchase styled stock photography designed specifically for you.

I hope this blog post has inspired you to use Instagram more if you’re a service based business. Or if you don’t already use Instagram, at least to dip your toes in and see how you like it.

If you are on Instagram (service or product) please feel free to share your account in the comments, I’d love to take a look. And if you’re interested in visiting my Instagram, you can find me @angelasargeant.