Wouldn't you love to sit down with a social media marketing expert and pick their brain about all things Instagram? Where do I start with analytics? How do I differentiate my brand? And the golden question: how do I turn followers into paying clients? Emanuela Schneider is here to answer your prayers. Emanuela Schneider is a social media manager for interior designers, architects and luxury home decor brands but her expertise can be applied to creative entrepreneurs and freelancers in any industry.
We invited the Visualist community to an access-all-areas chat with Emanuela—an opportunity for creatives just like you to ask their most niggling questions about Instagram and beyond! In case you missed it—here are the highlights...
I want to start taking social media seriously. Where do I start?
Start by planning your first 9 posts! I work with a 4-pillar content strategy: Educational (show your authority), Personal (showcase yourself), Objectional (why should someone hire you) and Inspirational. Your first posts should be a mixture of the above content pillars using your project photos, photos of yourself and even images you find inspirational. Also, remember to add location tags!
What tool should I use to track my analytics?
For analytics tracking: Facebook business suite—you can track years of analytics over there! I'd recommend tracking your analytics every month, especially now that Instagram changes the algorithm so often.
How can I check in with what the algorithm is favouring from time to time?
It's normally very clear once the algorithm updates because a strategy that was working wonders (getting reach and resulting in website clicks) suddenly yields nothing. For example, Reels used to be the best way to increase reach but since Instagram rebalanced the algorithm, still photos and carousels tend to do better. For definitive answers, keep track of articles on social media and, if in any doubt, head to Adam Mosseri's page. He's the head of Instagram and is very very upfront about what Instagram is up to.
Instagram is so saturated in the interior design space, how can I differentiate myself/my brand?
Think about your ideal client and what they want. While there are many designers in your local area who can create beautiful projects, what's your selling point? Hiring someone to work in your home is a very personal, and sometimes stressful, process. The decision normally comes down to how well a client connects with your brand voice. Your client needs to trust you, so always focus on showing your expertise and your personality.
Secondly, have you thought about expanding elsewhere? If you're only on Pinterest to organise your client process, you're missing out! You can start using Pinterest strategically by creating pins with your ideal keywords. Pinterest is a go-to platform for home buyers looking to renovate—89% of users there are looking to make a purchase decision and almost 40% of them plan on getting their ideal home within the next five years. Also, being active on Pinterest actually helps to boost your "Google Juice" since it's a search engine platform. When local clients do research on designers in their area, they'll find your website!
How can I find a balance between being personal and professional on Instagram?
First, you need to think about your brand voice—you never want to be too serious to the point where people feel intimidated to reach out. That's why I always suggest having a Personal content pillar, the Personal pillar exists to allow people to connect with the person behind the brand. A great example of Personal content: posting a picture of you and your team members and adding fun facts and caption with a call to action, asking your audience to comment fun facts about themselves for example.
Calls to action are the best way to convert followers into clients. Use a mixture of fun CTAs as above and actionable ones such as signing up for your newsletter or booking a call at your link in bio. Stories are also a great tool for creating Personal content. Take your audience through your day, be yourself, and post fun polls—have some fun! Ideally, you want to be sharing something personal and real, whilst establishing a connection to your ideal clients. Figure out what makes you relatable and share that with your audience.
How often do I need to post on Instagram—is it true the more often the better?
It's not true. The key is consistency. If you can post every day consistently using a real strategy and great content pillars, you will grow faster than someone who posts only twice a week. Even if you don't have much content to work with or much time, being consistent will already make a huge difference.
It is hard to balance the upkeep of my business with the upkeep of social media. At what stage should I consider hiring a social media expert?
In my opinion, it's all about time and priorities. If you have a good understanding of your marketing strategy and have the time and resources to dedicate to social media then I recommend keeping social media marketing in-house. However, if you don't have much time in your day and you're not entirely sure about your marketing strategy then it is worth hiring externally. A good solution could be to hire a professional to spruce up your social media strategy each month, but you still do the actual content creation and posting yourself.
Any tips on turning gifted collaborations into paid collaborations?
Use gifted collaborations as social proof. After that, use your analytics from these collabs to craft your pitch for a paid collab. The most difficult part is getting started—it is all about making the first move with your ideal brands!
PSA: When it comes to collaborations, know your boundaries. When they stop being a benefit to you, stop.
How do I find my target market on Instagram? And then... how do I get them to follow me?
Initially, it's all about hashtags. Next, you need to be visible where your ideal clients are—that way they'll see you and keep you in mind. Think local. Where do your ideal clients frequent? Do they interact with local industry partners? Any local independent shops? A great route is to engage with these local businesses and create a referral relationship. Don't be afraid to follow and connect—hang around their pages and comment on their posts.
When it comes to followers, it's all about engagement. Increase your comments on others' posts, reply to stories, and reply to your own comments. The more you engage, the more reach your posts will have and the more people engage back. Remember: your number of followers doesn't actually benefit the algorithm, it's all about the number of people who engage with your account. I know it can be tempting to buy followers to look "more authentic" but in the long run, it will only harm your account. If your followers are made up of ideal clients and industry partners, your posts will actually make a difference! If they're bought followers, your posts will reach people who have no interest in your service or brand—so Instagram becomes a waste of time!
So... basically, making connections as you would in real life is just as effective on social media?
Exactly! Some people forget to be "social" on social media. But that is the key.
Visualist regularly invites industry experts to answer the practical questions of our creative community. Brand messaging, financial management, legal contracts—you name it! Secure an invite to our next event by joining us on Facebook.