Updated: 20th January 2022
I often get asked by if Instagram is suited to service based businesses. Of course no one wants to spent hours of time on a social media platform if they feel they won't get a return on their time investment. 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 for 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:
- Posts that highlight your values
- Answer frequently asked questions
- Facts about the problem you solve
- Information about your services
- Information about your industry
- Share your success stories
- Short Testimonials
- What you're doing today
- Behind the scenes video
- A sneak peek into your office
- 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
- Suggestions for recommended reading
Keeping Your Audience Engaged
It's important to remember that people go on Instagram for a variety of reasons, so you want to keep your audience engaged by varying up your posts. Make sure you include lots of posts that include value, share some stories and intersperse with some lighter posts to mix things up a bit.
Creating post after post about business can sound a bit like LinkedIn, so add some extra flavour into your Instagram posts to also entertain and inspire.
You can also mix up the media a little by using some photos, interspersing with videos or animated graphics. All the suggestions above for the types of posts can be created with photos, images, graphics, and video.
To keep your audience engaged, remember to post relevant, high-value content that your audience would like to see, rather than just posting the last photo you have on your phone. Some strategy and planning will go a long way in keeping your audience engaged.
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 marketing advice 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.
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 at a conference or the conference venue
- photos of you while working
- location shots if you're traveling for business
- 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 design some for you.
- No doubt your business lends itself to quotes, 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.
- 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 customised and cohesive look.
- Remember that both Canva and many free stock photo sites also supply interesting short videos that you can use as is, or overlay with video.
I hope this blog post has inspired you to use Instagram more if you're a service based business.
If you are on Instagram, 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.