Instagram marketing is a proven way for interior designers to grow their businesses. Design is visual, and so is Instagram. But marketing a business on Instagram is a lot of work. There are over 1 billion users on Instagram, so how do you get your content to stand out to the right people? How do you get engagement from target clients?
In this epic guide to Instagram marketing for interior designers, we’ve pulled together essential strategy tips from Instagram experts and designers who’ve used this platform to get clients on the regular.
Why Instagram marketing is important for designers
Even if Instagram doesn’t represent a large source of leads for your business, it is probably still worth your time to maintain a presence on this platform, even if you post just once a week.
- Satisfying clients’ research needs during the vetting phase – Clients who are considering working with you will might check for your portfolio of work on your Instagram account.
- Staying top of mind with leads – Leads who are not ready to work with you yet can stay connected with you on Instagram.
- Maintaining client relationships – You can deepen and nurture your existing client relationships. Clients who have already worked with you can stay connected with on Instagram and will be more likely to remember to refer you to their friends and family.
How to market your interior design business on Instagram
Follow these steps to develop an Instagram strategy that will drive traffic to your interior designer website.
Carefully curate your logo, profile, and posts to create a cohesive brand that viewers will remember and soon come to instantly recognize. Nothing will kill your brand quicker and turn away viewers faster than a confusing profile, pointless or random pictures, and unreadable captions. – Doreen Amico Sorell, Sorell Interiors
1. Know your ideal client
The first step is to figure out who exactly you’re marketing your business to. A high-end client with a historic home is going to be interested in different content than a young professional who wants to impress their friends with a polished flat.
If you don’t have your target client ironed down, check out our guide to StoryBrand for interior designers, which goes deeper into a client’s desired transformations and main objections.
2. Choose your aesthetic
In order to appeal to this target audience, you need a cohesive aesthetic.
DesignFiles member Amandork, founder of Foster Decor, has really mastered her company’s aesthetic on Instagram. Her style is edgy, and she brings a one-of-a-kind promise to every project. Her Instagram profile matches her website perfectly and appeals to her target audience and no one else (as it should be).
When you’re just beginning it’s easy to copy others because you’re not sure what to do but by doing a deep dive into what makes your brand unique and how you’re special is what will drive clients to you. Making sure you don’t hide behind a logo is key. People buy from people not logos or robots. Make sure to have your smiling pretty face in a professional headshot for your profile pic. No selfies or blurry far off pictures. Crop close to your face/neck area since the thumbnail is so small. By analyzing how you are different from your peers you can master having a unique bio and let your customers know exactly how you can help them. – Amanda Foster, Foster Decor
3. Decide on what you will post
Not sure what to post on Instagram? It’s important that your visual content reflects well on your brand.
Share your behind the scenes. People love going along with your process. Share before and after images in a carousel and fill the carousel to the max. Instagram favors carousels in their algorithm. Start with a hero shot of the after, next share before and during, then finish with the afters. The longer you keep people on your content, the more exposure Instagram gives you. It’s a balanced blend of pleasing Instagram and satisfying viewers. – Kaylee Taylor, Kaylee Taylor Interiors
Here are some great ideas for content:
- Completed projects (full view)
- Completed projects (detail shots)
- Project in progress shots
- Vacation and lifestyle photos
- Candid pictures of you
- Professionally taken pictures of you
- Mood boards and design boards
- Featured products
Of course, you don’t need to post all of the above types of content. Instead, choose 3 to 5 types so your feed remains cohesive.
Be consistent and be clear on what your followers can expect from you. – Sandra Ellzey
4. Source your imagery
No matter how badly you want to fill your feed with gorgeous pics, you shouldn’t post other designers’ work on your Instagram feed, because you can confuse prospective clients, who will assume that it’s all your work. Instead, you’ll need to put time into creating your own images.
Post great photography of your work or things you see that inspire you. If you cannot hire a professional, shoot with your phone but use a photo app to edit the image, like PS Express by Adobe which is a free app. – Sandra Asdourian, Sandra Asdourian Interiors
To take your stunning photos, use natural light whenever possible and make sure that your vertical and horizontal sight lines are straight. Line up the shot to be parallel to the bottom of the floor or the top of a table, for example. You can put your phone or DSLR camera on a tripod to get the perfect shots.
To create shoppable affiliate marketing boards that you can embed in your blog and post on social media, use DesignFiles. You don’t have to give away full room designs. Instead, your boards can be more about new trends and cool product categories. For example, you could create boards like the example shown below, which teaches followers how they can add a touch of Benjamin Moore’s color of the year Aegean Teal into their homes.
5. Pick content categories for your captions
It’s hard to know what to write in your captions. Engaging and interesting captions will get more comments, which means the Instagram algorithm will give you a boost and show your post to more of your followers. If you get a ton of engagement on that post, Instagram will show the post to people who don’t even follow you.
Give “how to’s” and “tips” posts at least once a week. Potential clients love to learn ways to improve their homes and it’s also a way to connect with them. If they trust you and your work, they will want to work with your company or firm. – Nicole Brown, Queen.Billie.Hazel
Be honest and transparent with your audience, they appreciate it. Provide value regularly. I provide tips and created a Designer Tip Tuesday series that gives real life design tips. – Mia Johnson
Make it easier to come up with great captions by choosing content categories. For each post, choose a content category and get writing.
Here are some example caption categories:
- Design process story
- Design tip
- Project reveal
- New trend
- Product spotlight (exact product, or a feature, or a category)
- Business and personal life updates
Here’s an example from DesignFiles member Youthful Nest. In this Instagram post, they put a spotlight on a dresser they love. (Plus they use DesignFiles’s affiliate marketing feature to earn commissions on product recommendations!)
6. Set your posting schedule
If you post on a whim, you’re likely to forget. Create a posting schedule for yourself, ideally at least two times per week, and either add it as a task to your digital calendar, or pre-load the content in a platform like Later or Buffer.
Consistency is key. Consistently post your work, whether it’s every day or every week. It helps to keep you and your brand relevant. – Doris Roberts, Doris Roberts Interiors
7. Use Instagram stories for further reach
Instagram stories are a great way to stay top of mind with your followers. Plus, they show Instagram that you are an active user (not someone who’s just posting on their feed and ditching the app). And, your followers can respond to your stories, making them a great way to initiate sales conversations with potential clients.
So make sure to occasionally use CTAs in your stories like “Message me if you’re interested” or “Let me know what room in your house you’d love to design.”
8. Get creative with Reels
Instagram is focusing on video. While the platform still shows images in the feed, videos are getting featured more than ever before.
One of our DesignFiles members is a pro at using Reels to grow her following. With over 420,000 followers and over 1 million views on a few of her Reels, she’s created a formula for success. Rue posts DIY tutorials and tips on how to style certain pieces of furniture or accessories and she monetizes her audience with affiliate marketing.
Another member, Viktoria creates Reels that feature her shoppable boards:
“Use Reels to educate your audience and market your work. First I create a concept board in Photoshop. I start hiding elements one by one and save the image of each layout until the canvas is empty or includes elements that I want to be the cover of the video. Then I upload my images in reversed order to Canva and create the video by using a mobile video blank template. The timing is 0.2s so the transition is fast. All this takes about 30 minutes, excluding the actual concept board design.” – Viktoria Gilanyi, Viktoria Gilanyi Design
9. Strategically grow your following
For the most part, the content you post (its quality, formats, and consistency) will dictate how quickly your following will grow. However, there are actions you can take to get yourself in front of your target audience:
- Use niche and large hashtags: On all of your posts, aim to include a mixture of hashtags with 100,000 or more posts associated with them and those with 10,000 to 99,000 posts. (When searching a hashtag, you can see how many posts use that hashtag.) And of course, make sure the topics of the hashtags are relevant.
- Comment on similar content: Don’t go around dropping emojis. Instead, comment something insightful or encouraging that will get likes and replies, putting your comment towards the top. People will click through to your profile and hopefully follow you.
- Follow people who follow relevant content creators: Find accounts that post content similar to yours. For example, interior decor brands and magazines that your ideal client loves. Find these accounts and follow their followers. Don’t use the follow-unfollow method, as Instagram doesn’t like it. That’s why you can set a low goal for how many people to follow each week, such as 5 to 10, so you don’t suddenly have a big disparity between your following and follower counts.
10. Batch what you can
You have a business to run. Managing an Instagram account is literally a full time job. Big brands have multiple full time Instagram managers. Make the most of your time by batching your work a week, or even a month in advance. You can set aside a few hours for photoshoots, caption writing, and post scheduling.
11. Create your own link page
It’s wise to create a branded page on your website for your bio link. You don’t need to link this page in your website menu, so it’s hidden unless someone clicks on it from Instagram.
“This page can have links to all your important places you want visitors to check out such as blogs, concept boards, website, YouTube, etc. But most importantly it is driving traffic to your website!” – Kim Jones, Staged By Design
Here’s an example of Kim’s awesome page, which drives traffic and solidifies her brand:
The best interior designers to follow on Instagram
Need some inspiration? Check out what these amazing Interior designers are posting on Instagram to keep you motivated.
1. Justina Blakeney
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Justina Blakeney is the founder and creative director of Jungalow, an online shop designed to help create wild and natural spaces. Although product design and book writing takes up most of her day, her Instagram is still the perfect inspiration for interior designers doing service-based work, because she does a great job of showing designed spaces, interesting details, and candid photos of her life.
2. Claudia Hardy
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Claudia Hardy, owner and principal interior designer at Nest Obsessed, offers e-design and in-home services. Specializing in bohemian and traditional spaces, Claudia uses her Instagram account to show off her finished projects, virtual design boards, and client testimonials.
3. Sarah Sherman Samuel
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A color and pattern expert, Sarah Sherman Samuel is known for effortlessly combining styles to create distinctive spaces, coveted products, and artful images that have been shared and repinned by millions of Pinterest users. Additionally, Refinery 29, Domino Magazine, House Beautiful, and Lonny all agree that Sarah’s instagram account is a must follow.
4. Bitty Bromley
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Known for her imaginative use of color, unexpected vignettes, and historic colonial interiors, Bitty Bromley knows how to stand out on Instagram. With plenty of portfolio pieces and enviable lifestyle shots, her IG feed draws in her target audience.
5. Heidi Caillier
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Her love of vintage furniture and materials that feature raw and natural textures, balanced with an appreciation of color and pattern make Heidi Caillier’s instagram account a must follow. Check out her Instagram profile for inspiration on how to experiment with light and shadow in photography to create a cohesive moody feel.
6. Lisa Furey
Hello farmhouse luxury! Lisa Furey is a pro at elevating this popular trend for high-end residential projects. She keeps her captions short and sweet and let’s the images shine. If you’d rather share details about the project process than your daily life, check out her feed for inspiration.
7. Noel Gatts
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Noel Gatts of Beam & Bloom offers a Designer Day experience, where clients get 6 hours of done-with-you designing. She uses her Instagram page to not only share portfolio content, but her personality as well. You get the sense that working with her would be a blast. Take her Instagram feed as inspiration to be yourself and show who’s behind the lens.
While there is always something new to learn, using Instagram for your business doesn’t have to be complicated. One of our interior designer members sums it up perfectly:
Be consistent with your posts, have a pattern when posting, include tips when posting to show knowledge in your field, and show a bit of your personality of who you are outside of your business. – Zora, Zora + Co Interior Design