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Instagram: Why Your Firm Should Have It and How to Implement It

Instagram is among the newest social media platforms that companies of all industries are implementing to reach their customers. Boasting over 300 million daily active users, Instagram has huge potential for marketers, even those in the AEC industry. People come to Instagram to be inspired and discover things they care about, and that includes content from brands and businesses.

Research shows that:

  • Engagement with brands on Instagram is 10 times higher than Facebook, 54 times higher than Pinterest, and 84 times higher than Twitter

  • 48.8% of brands are on Instagram. By 2017, this is predicted to rise to 70.7%

The popularity and the research that supported the marketing effectiveness were the reasons why SMPS Arizona decided to embark on the journey of implementing a Chapter Instagram account. In this post, we will share our implementation experience and provide takeaways for a successful implementation experience.

BRAINSTORM & RESEARCH: Ask yourself, why Instagram?
Our Instagram journey started with a brainstorming session, which revealed these key questions:

  • Why should we have an Instagram account?

  • What type of content would we share on our account?

  • How will this benefit our membership?

Next, we researched fellow SMPS Chapters using Instagram, and how they were using it. We reviewed 14 SMPS Chapter accounts and analyzed what types of content they were sharing and how they were using it to communicate with their membership.

Find your target audience, decide what you want to communicate, and research how competitors are using the platform.

PLAN: Create a solid, straight-forward plan to obtain approval.
After brainstorming and performing research, we incorporated all our findings into a seven-page plan to present to the SMPS AZ Board. The plan incorporated our research, how we could use Instagram to advance the Chapter, types of content to share, and next steps for implementing the account. The plan was well received and immediately approved after being presented.

Provide  decision makers with a well thought-out plan that provides evidence of WHY you should implement the process and HOW the implementation will be achieved.

A snapshot of the SMPS Arizona Instagram Plan 

DESIGN: Create templates for easy dissemination of information.
To ensure success in providing content on a consistent basis, we created graphic templates for content provided on a regular (monthly, weekly, annually) basis like: events, job board posts, monthly member recognitions, and annual special events. This helped us streamline the content creation process while allowing for customization of templates according to specific content.

Social media can take a back seat when marketers get busy with  day-to-day tasks - set yourself up for success by having a library of graphic templates on hand to populate your account with content.


SCHEDULE: Create a Content Calendar & Utilize a Scheduling Platform
Due to the multiple social media accounts we manage and volume of posts published monthly, it was crucial to create a content calendar. It keeps our Chapter volunteers on track with  regularly scheduled posts and helps avoid missing opportunities for publicity. We use our events calendar and historical data on special events to populate the calendar. This calendar also allows us to utilize  third-party scheduling platforms like Hootsuite to schedule our posts in advance. Scheduling Instagram posts on Hootsuite is slightly different from standard posts. Per Hootsuite’s site, when a post is scheduled or sent through Hootsuite, a notification is sent to your mobile app which then allows you to publish the post on Instagram. Both the Hootsuite and Instagram apps must be installed on your mobile device to send the post.

Save time by creating a content calendar to manage your weekly social media posts and schedule posts ahead of time with Hootsuite.

PUBLISH: Share content with your audience and follow industry accounts.
Once we completed all the preparation for our Instagram account, we created a profile and scheduled our first post. Then we began to follow other SMPS Chapters, industry firms and vendors, and influential accounts to increase our exposure. We continue to use our templates and schedule to publish content along with live photo and video from events. Check out the account here.

Preparation prior to creating your Instagram account helps make a smooth transition for the launch. Make sure to follow other accounts in your industry for reciprocal exposure.

Roxy Kinsinger 
Senior Marketing/Proposal Coordinator, Pulice Construction, Inc.

Roxy has been in the A/E/C Industry for six years and a SMPS member for the past four years. She's has had a crucial role with SMPS as Publicity Director for the past two years and has worked at Pulice for the past four years. In her free time, Roxy loves checking off awesome hikes from her bucket list with her husband and channeling her inner zen at yoga!

Michelle D'Souza 
Marketing Coordinator, T.Y. Lin International 

Michelle has been immersed in the A/E/C Industry for about five years and a SMPS member for the past 10 months. Michelle is a Social Media Champion for the SMPS Arizona Publicity Branch and a recent Member of the Month award winner! Michelle loves to work on fun design projects, cook and travel as much as she can in her free time. 


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