In our previous post Show and Share Your Work, we talked about how important it is to share your work on social networks to help build a following and put yourself out there so customers can find you. We also mentioned Instagram as a great visual medium with a huge audience and a straightforward way for people to engage with pictures of your work.

We covered some of the reasons to use Instagram, and even talked a bit about how to use it. Today we want to cover 5 ways you should be using Instagram to help effectively grow your audience and your business.

1. Before-and-after shots

If you're doing service work for a customer, you'll have plenty of opportunities for before-and-after shots. Roofing, flooring, window cleaning, pressure washing, building, making, cleaning, etc. They're all opportunities for before-and-after shots. They'll also look great on your WorkWeek website. What makes a before-and-after so powerful is that it visually tells the story of exactly what you did for the customer, and shows off the quality of your work.

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2. Headshots/Workshots

One of the great benefits to having a small service business is that your customers know YOU. This is a great advantage over the bigger guys if you use it right. Post pictures of you and your team (if you have one). It may seem weird or uncomfortable, but you'll eventually get the hang of it. Shots of you or your team working on a job can really help, and don't be scared of just doing a headshot with a smile. We've often seen more engagement and a feeling of personal connection on Instagram when pictures include people and not just things.

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3. Tools and supplies

Showing off your tools and supplies can have a number of benefits—like showing what you use to get a job done, and your investment in quality. It can also be informative to other people starting out in your field. Another potential benefit is that tool and supply companies might notice you showing off their gear and reach out to send you stuff to review. This is becoming more common as "influencer marketing" becomes popular. Companies know that recommendations from people trusted by potential customers can turn into sales. If you have enough followers, it's a great way for tool and supply makers to be seen by the people they want to be in front of. Make sure you tag or hashtag the companies or products you're showing off in your shots.

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4. Pro tips

People love tips and tricks, and Instagram is perfect for sharing them with your followers. If you know a tip for measuring, cleaning, cutting, painting, or anything else, share it. Use Instagram video, or multiple image posts to walk someone through the tip. Pro tips are great because people love to share and tag people in the comments, which helps grow your reach and followers.

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5. Work-in-progress posts

If you've got a job that takes days, weeks, or months, turn it into content. Post daily shots of progress, or videos of struggles and how you overcame them. Tell the story of the job. If before-and-after shots are the short story, work-in-progress posts are the novel. This is a great way to get people following and engaging your posts, because they'll be waiting on your updates as the job comes together and they're wanting to see your finished work.

Images and videos tell your story

There's a lot more you can do with Instagram than we've covered here. There could even be things that only make sense for your service business that won't work well for others. The main takeaway is there are plenty of ways to use Instagram's photo and video sharing to show off your work, tell stories, share tips, and help people know what you do and how well you do it. More importantly, there's nothing better than images and video when you want to keep and show off a record of your work.