One of the biggest mistakes I see builders make on their business social media accounts is posting construction progress photos that don’t resonate with their ideal clients.
My grandmother is a home and garden junkie, who also owns several properties. She likes to do small improvement projects, but she hates the middle phase when everything is torn apart because it doesn’t match her vision of what it should look like. So she lets her guys do their thing and when it’s done, she shows up for the finished product. Showing up early is just depressing. When you post cluttered process photos you are literally serving that chaos to your clients.
The most important photos are before and after, you can skip almost everything between because your clients don’t want to know about the dirt and clutter that is required to get the beauty at the end. And even the before photo is better hidden behind the after photo, using a series in one post. The exception to this are photos of your team working on the job.
Great process photos show the culture of your business: @nsbuilders in Boston has great people shots of work in progress. Post people enjoying what they do, pen on paper working on drawings, your people in the field meeting with clients, hands on tools, or in the case of @dixonprojects, restoration details about the kind of work you do, pictures of historic elements like an original mantle.
Macro pictures are a great way to show construction and cut out the clutter. Make them as artful as the homes you build.
The quality of your photos are extremely important. Archive photos that are pixelated, crooked, blown out, or blurry, unless the content is so compelling that it inspires regardless of the quality. Everything that you put out in the world is a reflection of the work you do. A low quality photo makes prospective clients wonder if you cut corners in other areas of your work also.
How to curate your feed?
The best way to cull through your photos is to have an ideal client/friend tell you which photos inspire them and which confuse them. It’s hard to do this yourself because you can see through the chaos, that’s your job, your clients can’t.
Instagram came out with a cool ARCHIVE feature that allows you to hide away photos that aren’t in line with your brand. Just click on the three dots at the top of your individual photos and select archive. If you want to bring it back to your main profile, hit the clock looking arrow, top right, and bring it back. The post will go into its original position. This is also a great time to look at your feed from the point of view of someone who is looking at your profile. Do your 12 squares of images look good together? Does the composition have a style that matches your brand: colors, composition, a mix of macro and micro. Archive and unarchive until you get a composition of small photos that represent the kind of work you’d like to be doing in a year, five years, ten years.
The reason to consider how your 12 square images look all together is that when people find you from your profile link, your description and collection of images is how they will decide whether they want to follow you or not.
Be brutal. This is your personal magazine. What kind of work do you want to be attracting? Is it in line with your vision? Certainly there are worthy in-progress images, but ask yourself, what kind of progress photos would Architectural Digest print? Does it inspire?
Want to keep it real? Use Instagram stories. This is a great place to record videos and add photos of day to day stuff. Perfect for progress photos. They only last 24 hours so you can experiment; the immediacy and fleeting timeframe make it irresistible to your fans. You can use this space to engage your clients on a more personal level and hone your composition, video, and presentation skills.