Building your Perch Plans home is an incredibly exciting endeavor, so it’s only natural you’d want to share the process with the world! Instagram is the go-to platform these days, but with so many users it can be difficult to reach anyone outside of your friends and family. We want your new home build to get the attention it deserves, so here’s an in-depth guide on how to optimize your Instagram account and attract new followers!
Building an Instagram following starts with your profile. First, make sure your username is something easy to find and remember. Avoid punctuation if possible, as people tend to forget it. For your name, use both a brand/account name and your real name. It keeps things consistent, and also adds a personal, human aspect.
Next, make sure to have an on-brand profile picture. This could be a high quality, well-lit, smiling photo of you, or the rendering of the Perch design you purchased, or you could even make a logo using the name of your account. One of our Perchasers, Reed Avenue Farmhouse is a great example of this.
Your bio should clearly define who you are and what the account is about. Give them a reason to follow you, something that sets you apart, and don’t be afraid to put some personality and fun into it! You could also include a Call to Action, like a hashtag for them to use, or direct them to the link for your blog (if you also have a blog about your new home build).
Lastly, consider switching your account over to a business account. Even if your new home Instagram is just for fun, changing to a business account will give you access to all kinds of helpful insights. You’ll be able to see what time your audience is most active, as well as how people are finding your posts.
This is a big one, you have to post every day. The consistency will give you a huge boost in the Instagram algorithm, and new followers are going to want to see that you post good content regularly. One post each day is the sweet spot. You could up it to as many as four a day, but, wouldn’t you rather have a life outside of Instagram too?
If one post a day sounds completely overwhelming, it’s okay to work your way up to it. Just keep in mind, it’s better to post on consecutive days than to spread it out. So, if you can only handle posting 3 times a week right now, go for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, instead of Monday, Wednesday, Friday.
It’s a good idea to spend some time accumulating photos first, if you haven’t already started your account. That way you can start right away with posting daily, and have some back up photos to fill in holes on days when you just don’t have anything new to share. Aim for 30 good quality pictures to start, and try to make sure at least half are evergreen content.
Evergreen content means it’s always relevant, so it’s not time sensitive or tied to a specific date, season, etc. For you, this could be a picture of your plan set, tile samples, or the kids exploring the new property.
It may be difficult to collect 30 photos if the work hasn’t started on your homesite, but try to think of all the different aspects that go into your build. Maybe you could share some inspiration photos for interior decor, or describe your experience in selecting a builder.
Plan It Out
Your number one best friend for keeping your posts consistent is going to be an Instagram scheduler. A scheduler allows you to lay out all your posts ahead of time, complete with caption, hashtags and sometimes even location. Some of them even suggest peak times to post, or good hashtags to use.
We’ve used Buffer, Tailwind and Planoly, but there are tons of others. You can find all kinds of options for different features and price points, so do some research and work through a couple free trials to find the best fit for you. I highly suggest choosing one that can post automatically to Instagram, so you can just set it and leave it and get on with your week.
I want to make sure this is clear; posting every day is important, but it’s only worth it if you are consistently posting good quality content. Don’t just throw an unrelated or blurry photo out there because you feel like you have to have something.
To create good content, you’ll need to start by figuring out a style and theme for your account. Obviously your theme is the construction of your new home, so you’re already halfway there! Style can be a specific filter or color scheme, or even a mood or feeling. Whatever you choose, just make sure you are consistent with every post. Here are some examples of accounts with a great, uniform style.
Not only does your style need to be consistent, but the subject of your photos as well. You do want some variety in the pictures, but it should all be related to the overall theme (ie. your house). Save the family vacay and first day of school photos for your personal account, and stick to the build for this one.
As I mentioned though, some diversity is good. If you just post pic after pic of your house at framing, it gets a little redundant and boring. Mix it up with paint swatches, detail shots, or pictures of your kids handing out cookies to the workers. That last one will make both your followers and trades happy, so it’s a win win.
Instagram is obviously heavily based on the visual, but that doesn’t mean your captions are just a throw away. Photos are how you get people’s attention, but the caption helps get them to respond. It’s often hard to think of something on the spot, so be prepared and write them ahead of time.
Your caption should add value for your followers. It should offer help, inspiration or entertainment, and most importantly, be genuine. You could add a personal touch by telling a story, sharing upcoming plans, talking about unexpected hitches with your build, or being honest about your feelings, hopes and dreams for your new home.
Captions with emojis tend to draw more people in, so toss a couple in where appropriate. You’ll also want to be sure to include a Call to Action, as this hugely encourages your followers to respond. A Call to Action can be asking a question, including a “tag a friend who…” line, highlighting another account for them to follow, etc.
Don’t miss this one. Engagement is the secret to the Instagram algorithm. Instagram will show or boost posts with more engagement, especially if there is a lot of interaction shortly after posting. Engagement includes likes, comments, saves, shares, views and DMs.
More views leads to more followers, so your goal is to get as many people to engage with your post as possible. Asking questions is a great way to drive comments, as well as having them choose A or B photo options. You could also run a contest, or seek advice. Try a variety of techniques and see what your audience best responds to.
Be sure to tag anyone else that was involved in the picture and/or caption, like your builder or the designer showroom. It will help them out by putting them in front of your followers, and they are likely to help you back with a double tap and a comment.
A big part of building interaction on your posts is to engage with others yourself. Obviously you need to respond to anyone that comments on one of your photos, but you also need to be out there commenting on others.
Dig around and find accounts with a similar theme and voice as yours. Follow people that fit your genre and style, people that attract the same followers you would attract. And only follow these people. Save all your friends and favorite brands for your personal account, your new home build account needs to be 100% focused.
Following relevant hashtags is a great way to find these related accounts, and to find people that may want to follow you. Look at who is commenting on other new home construction Instagrams, and interact with them. You never know, you could gain a new follower.
Try to comment on at least three relevant influencers’ posts per day, and please, make them real, genuine comments. “Love it!” Is nice and all, but doesn’t leave the other person with much to work with. The more specific and conversational you are, the better.
A few more random engagement tips: photos with people in them tend to get more interaction, and videos help your post stand out among the rest. Also be sure to always tag a location, as that is another avenue you can use to reach new people.
Things get a little more complicated when it comes to hashtags. All the blogs and guides agree that using hashtags correctly is one of the most important things for Instagram growth, yet, there’s a lot of mixed signals on what is correct. The method we follow is based off of the most current information and suggestions from actual industry experts, so let’s get to it.
Instagram allows you to add up to 30 hashtags to a single post, so you’re going to use all 30 for every post. You can either place all the hashtags in a comment immediately after posting, or put them in the original post below the caption.
We use this second technique, because all our posts are scheduled and having to comment each time would defeat the purpose. If you include the hashtags in the actual post, just hit “enter” and “period” five times to create a space buffer, so they don’t crowd out your caption!
Knowing how to hashtag is only half of it, you also need to make sure you are hashtagging the right things. Now that you can follow hashtags on Instagram, they have become more crucial than ever. You’ll want to take some time to poke around and find the right hashtags for you, and keep them in a note on your phone or computer, so you always have easy access.
To find useable hashtags, simply search on Instagram. Start with something basic, like #home, #build or #design, and see what other related hashtags come up. You can also look at other new build or home renovation accounts with a good style and large following, and see what hashtags they use.
One thing to look at is how popular a certain hashtag is. Super generic words like #home or #farmhouse may seem great, because so many other people are using them. However, that means your post is likely to get buried pretty quickly before ever reaching anyone new.
The ideal range really depends on your account. At Perch we aim for hashtags with 50k - 100k posts, but you’ll have to study your analytics and do some trial and error to find which ones are working best for you. In general, you want something more specific, but not obscure, in order to get in front of the most people and get the most engagement.
There are 5 main types of hashtags: brand (#perchplans #maisonprovincial), industry/category (#architecture #customhouseplans), community (#floorplanfriday #homeowners), descriptive (#livingroomideas #farmhousekitchen), and location (#austinhome #texasmodernfarmhouse).
Use a mix of all of these when you post, and it will be easier than you think to get to 30 relevant hashtags. Some brand and industry/category hashtags you may end up using in every post, while community, descriptive and location you’ll want to change to be specific to that photo.
Don’t forget to take advantage of trendy, seasonal or weekly hashtags, like #modernfarmhousemonday or #farmhousefridays. Use holidays to your advantage, for your subject matter and for expanding your reach to people you might not normally catch.
Maybe you’ve heard the term “shadow banning” while scrolling around on the interwebs? There was a big scare recently over whether or not Instagram was blocking people from showing up on certain hashtags if they use them too often. It seems to have all blown over, but thats just another good reason to put some variety in your hashtags each time you post.
What are the key takeaways? Consistency, quality and engagement. It’s a lot to remember, so we’ve put together a handy Perfect Post Checklist to help you stay organized every time you post. Got any questions or Instagram tips of your own? We’d love to know, leave them in the comments below!