Instagram is the greatest invention since sliced bread for visual marketers. With its fuss-free mobile native interface, it is easy to share images of one’s branded products or retail outlets.
But what if you are in the service business? Can you still use Instagram to market your brand?
The answer is a resounding “Yes!” Here’s how.
Share Your Back Stories
As architects of branded experiences, service businesses often have a rich and compelling back story. Use the power of images and videos on Instagram to share little vignettes of your brand.
Examples of visual brand storytelling through Instagram include the following:
- Short video clips of your founder sharing insights on what drives the business
- Images of company offices, training sessions, vans, trucks or physical outlets (eg restaurants and hotels)
- Equipment and machines used for service delivery
- Physical layout, backdrops, décor and designs.
- Images with one-liners like the company’s service vision, mission, and guarantees
Shine the Spotlight on Staff
In a service business, the frontline is the bottomline. As the providers of the service, your staff plays a vital role in showcasing your brand values. They are also your de facto brand ambassadors.
Here, it may be useful to snap and share images of the following:
- Employees serving customers either at your outlets or at on location
- Feature employees of the month in a fun and unconventional way. Reveal the human side of your team members and include a quirky fact about them.
- Showcase different aspects of your staff in action. For example, if you are a carpet cleaning company, you could demonstrate how your field personnel shampoo carpets, how they prepare the cleaning solutions to kill germs, as well as the state-of-the-art machines they use.
- Share photos and videos of staff during their training sessions, and follow them through the entire period from the time they first join the company until they “graduate” as a fully qualified service personnel.
Up Close and Personal with Customers
The next thing you want to do is to get your customers to smile and say cheese. In the service line, nothing beats the happy and delighted endorsements of a happy customer.
Using the power of visual marketing and captions, you can do the following:
- Feature a different customer each fortnight. Encourage them to share their experiences dealing with your company and take a nice flattering photo.
- Develop mini case studies with a powerful visual and share them on Instagram. If you are a courier company, you can share how you managed to deliver an important parcel in record time and put a smile on your customer’s face.
- Offer a promotion and discount in exchange for visual stories (images and short 15 second videos) from your customers on how they have enjoyed their experiences.
- If your service business has an outlet (eg a restaurant or hotel), find opportunities to take candid photos of your customers during a happy moment. Ensure that you get their permission before you share these images.
Solve Their Problems Visually
While Instagram limits the amount of text you can squeeze into each image, it is still a great social platform to provide hints, tips and solutions to your customer’s problems.
Here are some ways to do so:
- Offer a tip of the week with a relevant visual and a captioned image. For example, if you are a cooking school, you could have an image of a delicious dish and include a few short bullet points on how to cook that dish to perfection.
- Develop simple infographics that show a step-by-step process of solving your customer’s problems.
- Provide a Q&A service and showcase a customer question (on the image) with your accompanying answer in the text caption. Invite your customers to email you or submit their questions in the comments section or through the link on your bio with a relevant hashtag.
As you can see from the points above, there are lots of ways for service businesses to market their brands visually via Instagram.
What other ways can service businesses promote themselves through Instagram? I’d love to hear your ideas.