Move over, High Point Style Spotters! There's a new Instagram account to follow at this fall's market, and it's yours.
Instagram allows your followers to step into this trade-only event and get a sneak peak at what's coming and what's trending. It provides you with an opportunity to teach your followers about design, style, material and color as you tour through the market, and it's also a great way to establish yourself as a design authority to your followers.
Engage your followers and give them something to comment about with these tips for being an Instagram star at High Point Market.
Tell a story
Having a story or narrative gives followers a reason to keep checking your feed to see if you've posted anything new. It adds to your posts and makes them more engaging than "Look at this nice sofa." You don't need a narrative as intricate as a novel, but tying your posts around a narrative that can be translated in different ways from post to post will make them more interesting.
Establish it from the beginning. Tell your readers why you're going to High Point Market and what you hope to accomplish. If you're looking to see a certain showroom or speaker, tell your followers why this matters to you. If you have a style you love — Mid-Century Modern, Hollywood glam, traditional — share the pieces you find.
Remember not all of your followers will start from your first post on the first day of market. Some may come in at day two or three. Make sure your story or narrative is loosely tied to each post. That way, anyone can pick up on your narrative without being confused.
Set the scene
Outside of the home design industry, few people really understand what High Point Market is and what it means for designers and retailers. They might be confused about why you're going or what the market looks like.
In your posts, explain why going to High Point Market matters to you and your business. You might be going to trend spot or meet with representatives from specific manufacturers. There might be a speaker you're keen to see or a few seminars that you think could benefit you and your clients.
Set the scene of your narrative by taking photos of the buildings around High Point to show just how expansive the campus is. This will help ground your viewers and give them a better sense of what's going on. You don't have to take photos of all the buildings, but photos of IHFC, Showplace and the sitting area in between should help show followers what this market is really like.
Write longer posts
In previous years, Instagram seemed to revolve around the hashtag. If you listed 20 good hashtags, then your post usually got more engagement.
But that's all changed. In May, Instagram performed a clean sweep, getting rid of bots and automated tools, changing its algorithm and banning some hashtags. As a result, engagement went down.
To encourage better engagement, write thoughtful captions and use highly specific hashtags. When you post a photo of a product, tag the manufacturer and provide a detailed description of what you're seeing and touching. Explain why it caught your eye and how you'd use it in a project. When you add your hashtags, avoid ones with millions of posts. Create a few of your own and use ones relevant to the market such as #hpmkt.
If you're in a more interactive showroom such as CUR8 or Print the Future, mix your photos with videos and post them to Instagram Stories. This is a great way to show off unique products that are a little outside your narrative. Since they disappear after 24 hours, they won't be a disruption to your feed.
Mix business with personal
While at High Point Market, you don't have to remain strictly business. After all, there are tons of cool parties to check out and plenty of opportunities to eat great food. The most engaging accounts mix some personal photos to create a sense of authenticity. You're not a robot, and no one expects you to be in business mode all the time.
In between photos of credenzas, chandeliers and sofas, make sure you fill space with personal photos. You might take a selfie with your team at a happy hour event or with your favorite representative when you go to his or her showroom. Remember to tag the companies you visit and the people you meet.
And sure, it's okay to post a photo of your lunch at the Parson's Table, but don't go overboard with the food posts.
The key to Instagram success at High Point Market truly comes from the added value you bring to your posts. Your thoughtful commentary will set you apart from all the other High Point posts and provide your followers will some great images and even better design.
What's your stellar Instagram strategy? Share with us in the comments!