Service-based businesses seem to have more trouble with leveraging some of the most powerful visual networks, such as Instagram, because they’re lacking ideas on what to post.
While it may seem like product-based businesses got an easier time promoting themselves on visual-first platforms, by the end of this post, you’ll have no issues with filling up your whole content calendar with exciting ideas.
Show your expertise
People love to follow brands and accounts that they find valuable in some way. What’s a better way to provide value that sharing helpful advice?
To position yourself as an expert in the field, share tips, hacks and shortcuts. One type of content that works amazingly well independently of the business and industry are bite-sized tips, clever shortcuts, and productivity hacks.
I am sure, as an expert in the field, you know something others might not. Do not overthink it – sometimes the best advice is the simplest. Do not assume that if you do know this hack, everyone else does. Because you have a constant exposure to the same activity, skill, or industry, you’ve accumulated more knowledge than you know.
You’ll be amazed at what people can find useful, so don’t dismiss something as too easy. People will love your tips, appreciate your expertise and engage with your posts.
One type of content that works amazingly well independently of the business and industry are bite-sized tips, clever shortcuts, and productivity hacks.
You can share tips as overlays on pretty images or as mini infographics. You may also record a 15-second video where you talk, or better yet, demonstrate the tip. If you’re not feeling creative, share a nice image and simply put your tip in the caption section.
Inspire with success stories
As a business owner, you have to have at least a few success stories in your business.
Ask them to leave your business a testimonial. Not only will it help you look good on review sites, or to establish authority on your own site, it can also serve as a content. Overlay a cool image with an awesome testimonial and share it on Instagram. Bonus points for prompting others to share their opinions.
If you’re running a service-based business, it may be a bit more challenging to get the user photos, but not as impossible as you might expect. Think of the success stories people have because of using your service. You could share case studies or success stories. It may be as simple as a written or recorded testimonial. Or, you could turn it into a whole mini-case study (or even case study series) where you talk about your strategies for achieving success.
It’s even better if you can share before and after image. Health and weight coaches, dermatologists, hair stylists, nail technicians, seamstresses can all post images that speak louder than words on their expertise in the field. Even if your business doesn’t have a visible “before and after” effect, you might share some sales numbers or performance data from your clients. Clearly, get a client’s permission first and run with it!
Not only does it elevate the need to create your own unique content all the time, user-generated content also tends to be more believable and more personable. People are more prone to trust user-generated content because of the perception that it is more authentic.
If you want to build an impressive library of user-generated content, run a mini-contest. Offer them a small gift or a discount for your services. Once you get the ball rolling, more and more people will feel confident and encouraged to share their own photos.
Inspire with quotes
Quotes are some of the most engaging types of content. We all have our newsfeeds flooded with quotes, yet we always seem to engage with them.
This is not to say you have to flood your clients with philosophical quotes, but once in a while, definitely take advantage of these engagement boosters.
Plus, think of inspirational quotes that can somehow relate to your business. If you’re a health coach, you can find inspirational quotes on healthy body and mind.
If you’re a business consultant, you can find quotes related to persistence, performance, or success. Think back to the reasons why people choose to work with you in the first place. What are their inspirations? Find quotes that will strike that chord with them.
Make them smile
You can always brighten someone’s day with a funny image or a joke. Make sure it’s kind though, so you won’t land in hot water for your sense of humor.
It is best if your humorous post is relevant to your industry and your audience. This will ensure consistency in the voice for your brand and higher engagement from your audience.
However, you can also post things that all of us can understand and relate to, such as getting out of bed on Monday or leaving work on Friday. We all have recurring themes in our lives.
Plus, keep your aesthetics in mind, so one-off random meme doesn’t ruin the well-orchestrated branding of the page as a whole.
Raise the curtain
The same way a product-based business can show off their design meeting or production line, you can show the process behind your business.
What do you do during onboarding period of a new client? What questions do you ask them? What kind of research you’re required to perform beforehand?
If you do have before and after photos, you could also tie it together with a quick video of “in between,” of the process that got your client from point A to point B.
This is also a great opportunity to differentiate your business from competition by highlighting how your processes are better than industry standards.You can share what makes your process unique, or share your passions for why you got in the industry in the first place; share your own drives and aspirations.
The reason it works so well is because people love to feel like insiders of a special group. Create that feeling by sharing behind-the-scenes snippets. It doesn’t have to make up a majority of your content, but occasional sneak peeks and goofiness is welcome.
However, be careful with this type of posts. If you’ve worked really hard to make your Instagram feed look stunning with editorial content and professional image, one random low-quality behind-the-scenes post can ruin the whole vibe. So while it is more casual, this content has to be up to par with everything else you’re posting. Keeping that in mind, the sky is the limit: sneak peeks of new products, inner working of your company, employee takeovers are just a few of the options available to you.
Sell the solution to their problems
People oftentimes flock to social media for aspirational content. Think of your brand not only as a list of services you perform, but as a lifestyle you enable your clients to have. Are they enjoying greater financial freedom? Having better health? Having more time to spend with their families? Feeling more confident in their own skin? All of these are great aspirational messages you can portray through images.
Think of your brand not only as a list of services you perform, but as a lifestyle you enable your clients to have.
While you may not have a tangible product, you bring tangible results. Your business is solving real problems your clients are facing. Get a bit creative; and you’ll discover a million ways to let your business shine on Instagram.
After all, even though it seems that product-based business got a much easier time with producing visual content, it might not necessarily be true. Consumers are not interested in seeing the same product from 25 different angles. Visual storytelling is all about keeping it engaging and well-rounded, so you can show off all parts of your business story.
Are you struggling with your service-based business promotion on Instagram? Do you have any tactics not mentioned in this post? Share in the comment section below or head over to Instagram @lesyaliu to continue the conversation!