How to use Instagram for your service-based business

What does Instagram conjure up in your mind? Is it endless selfies and foodie pics or is it something more? As arguably the most powerful social platform of modern times, if you’re not using Instagram for your business, it’s probably time you considered it. But how can you use an image-based platform if your business isn’t the type that lends itself to pretty pictures? Check out these 3 ideas for using Instagram for your service-based business.

1. What do I post on Instagram about my service-based business?

You might think that a products-based business has the edge when it comes to content, but that’s not necessarily the case. If you have products to showcase, then you also have the headache of having to photograph them effectively and edit the shots, which, unless you’re confident behind the camera can take time and effort. With a service-based business, your main selling point is your skills and that gives you plenty to work with!

Here are some content ideas for your service-based business:

  • Quotes
  • Testimonials from happy clients
  • Top Tips
  • “Sneak peeks” into your day
  • Behind the scenes of a workshop or event
  • Pearls of wisdom to help/add value
  • Your life outside of the 9-5
  • Pointers to your own blog posts
  • Awareness/National Days of interest to your target audience
  • Your services in action
  • You and your team

Ensure that what you’re saying is authentic and how you’re saying it is in line with your brand tone of voice. The best content is content that resonates with your target audience. Imagine you are talking to them face to face – there’s no need to be overly formal in your captions and don’t feel you need to reproduce “War and Peace” with every post. Your posts can range from one line of text, to something longer. Instagram gives you the opportunity to create a “micro-blog” of content. Aim to give your audience some value, so that they feel they have gained something from stopping by and reading your caption.

2. What if I don’t know one end of a camera from another?

With a service-based business, you don’t have to be a great photographer. Sometimes, those quick snaps behind the scenes at an event, or on your way to a meeting are the ones that resonate most with your audience. Get to know your audience and think about what they would enjoy seeing. Remember that we all buy from other human beings, so don’t fret about getting the perfect snap. Sometimes the imperfect one tells a better story! Aim to build a library of lifestyle shots that you can use across your social media profiles. Photos don’t always have to directly relate to the post content, either. Consider an example of a photograph of white roses, with a caption about how you bring calm and simplicity to your audience’s life through your business services. Your photo needs to be attractive and compel the viewer to read your caption. What inspires your target audience? What resonates with them? Test image types and see what works best for your business.

Alternatively, if you want to steer clear of your own photos, then use someone else’s! There are two ways of doing this:

Use stock photos. Consider using a good quality stock photo and then editing it using a graphics programme like Canva. You could overlay the photo with some graphics in your brand colours or insert your logo or contact details. Our favourite stock image sites are PixabayPexels and Unsplash although there are many more!

Re-gram from other’s feeds. Although Instagram does not have an in-built facility to repost content from other people, there are plenty of third-party apps that will allow you to do just that. However, it’s always best practice to check before you share someone else’s content or, at the very least, credit them as the image’s original source in your caption.

As mentioned previously, Canva can be your best friend in not only adding your own “stamp” to stock images, but in creating your own graphics, too. If you receive a great review from a client then, instead of just copying the words into a post, why not make a simple graphic to illustrate the words to perfection? Simple and effective and, if you tie it in with your brand colours then it’s a perfect addition to any of your social media feeds.

3. It’s not all about me, but how often can it be?

You’re right, no one wants to be sold “at” continuously, but there are those who are wary of promoting themselves at all on Instagram. It’s fine to blow your own trumpet, though and the rule of thumb is that 80% of your content should be non-salesy and the remaining 20% all about your services. People use social media to source aspirational content. They see the picture-perfect images of how they would like their lives to be, whether that’s better health, a better job, more time to spend with loved ones or more confidence and these are all communicable by a service-based business through strategic use of images and text. Demonstrate to your audience how you can solve the very real issues that they face through your images, captions and your choice of hashtags.


The key to effective use of any social media platform is to connect with your audience and compel them to follow you or find out more and this is the same for any product or service-based business. With a little bit of creativity, Instagram can be a powerhouse for your service-based business, allowing you to not only show your personality, but showcase the tangible benefits that your services bring to your audience’s life. Instagram – what’s not to love?!

Don’t forget that if you’re at a loss with what to post on social media, you can download 30 days of social media content here. A FREE template giving you a full 30-days of suggestions that you can customise to fit your needs.

Leave a Comment