There are now more than 600 million users on Instagram (and counting, according to the site's official statistics page), which is almost double that of Twitter.
Since anyone can use Instagram for free, that's a huge amount of potential new clients at your fingertips that won't cost you a cent. The social platform is particularly good for painters as it is completely focused on beautiful things – and what does a painter create if not beautiful things?
Here are top tips for painters when using Instagram to build up a following and find new clients – it's an easy online marketing tool!
It all starts with great photos.
Take a look at leading Instagram accounts in the interior design business to see a few examples of what works well. Look for attractive colours, gorgeous finished rooms, and impressive before- and after-shots within your work.
Also, don't forget to include the occasional video, which can be a great way to 'tour' a home if you've repainted several rooms!
Of course, be sure to get permission before posting images of client's homes and interiors.
Aim to make the caption more engaging and interesting rather than just a simple explanation of what's going on in the photo. You could ask a question about your followers' opinions on a result, talk about how much you loved working on the particular project, or offer handy tips and advice.
Whenever you start typing in a hashtag on Instagram, the site helpfully shows you how many times that tag has been used. This is a quick and easy way for you to pick and choose the most popular hashtags, which should in turn help bring in new followers to your page.
For example '#love' is one of the most common tags on the site, at almost a billion tags! Look for opportunities that relate to your image or brand and start there. '#paint' and '#painting' have been tagged more than 45 million times together, and '#design' has more than 75 million, so these are a few good options to start with.
Do you love to use Resene paints? Be sure to tag @resenecolour for any photos where you've used our products. Do the same for any tools you use or furnishings you think work particularly well in a space. This way, you may gain new followers from the companies you work with, and some of them may even tag you back!
If one of your followers comments on a post, don't forget to tag them to say thanks – this will make them feel special and will encourage them to like and comment more in future.
There are plenty of studies out there on the best times of day to post, and most of them come down to the rule of thumb that you should post when people aren't too busy. For example, Sunday evenings at 5 p.m. or so are usually a time when people are home but not yet eating dinner – and therefore may be online checking social media. Additionally, this is also true for weekdays before 9 a.m., or just after 5 p.m. when people are about to start work, or have just finished work for the day.
All that said, it's important not to spam your followers with too many posts. If they're seeing something from you even just once or twice per day, they may quickly become bored and unfollow your account. Instead, try one post every few days and then you can adjust the frequency once you start to see how followers are responding.
Right now, the bulk of Instagram users are those in the 18-34 age bracket, and are typically urban-living women, according to a Business Insider study. Remember that when this demographic starts moving into their first homes and looking to renovate, they'll also be looking for a trusted painter.
Plus, if the social site continues to grow as it has been in recent years, the potential audience to be found here will only increase, too.