We’re bringing back this fantastic episode that is short, sweet, and straight to the point: social media is an incredibly valuable tool to share your “why” with your ideal client and you need to participate even if it isn’t perfect. Jump in!


When I initially started my Instagram account years ago, I struggled with the idea behind it, was it for vanity or competition? I think this is sometimes a struggle that some business owners have. In this episode, I explain the main reasons why you need to have an online presence to grow your business.

In my opinion, it all starts with this quote by Simon Sinek, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy WHY you do it.” Meaning: there are so many interior designers out there, but every single one has a different purpose behind the service they offer. Social media is a powerful tool to share the “WHY” of your business.

I also cover the doubts that many people have of Instagram and other social media platforms actually working to attract your ideal client. Years ago I would have been alongside the Nay-sayers, but in recent years, mainly in 2020-2021, I’ve been singing a different tune, because almost all of my leads that turned into design jobs followed me on Instagram or had seen my designs on Instagram before they contacted me. Put in the work, and it does pay off. Being present on social media platforms adds to your legitimacy as a company. It gives you a chance to educate your ideal client on what you do, how you do it, and why you do and build a rapport with them before they reach out to you. A lot of what service-based businesses do relies on the trust of their clients, building this relationship early on just helps with that trust factor, and makes you relatable to them.

In the episode, I also speak to the two other reasons why you should have an online presence and that is: reinforcing your brand and selling a lifestyle. I’d love to hear about your thoughts on being active and present online and on social media. Leave me a comment below.

Read the Full Transcript ⬇️

[00:00:00] You know, being active on social media, whether it’s Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, it reinforces your brand. So it’s something else that they get to know your personality, understand who you are, why you do what you do, but then they can really start to understand what you offer your ideal client and what your brand message is.

All right. I’m Rebecca Hay, and I’ve built a successful interior design business by trial and error, podcasts, online courses, and so many freaking books. Over the last decade, I’ve grown from an insecure student to having false starts to careers. And now I’m finally in the place where I want to be.

Throughout my journey, it’s been pretty obvious that I’m passionate about business and helping other entrepreneurs do the same. Each week, I’ll share tangible takeaways from my own experience and the experiences of other badass women to help you build your confidence and change your business.

[00:01:00] All right. The importance of establishing an online presence. People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it. Have you heard this before? This is Simon Snek. He has this very famous Ted talk, which you can look up and he talks about how it’s not about what you do.

It’s about why you do it. What is your purpose behind the thing that you’re offering? Social media and specifically Instagram, in my opinion, because that’s where my expertise lies. It is a very powerful tool. to share your why. You know, for many years, I mean, I did Instagram just because I really am obsessed with marketing.

I realized probably my other calling in life was just to do marketing because that’s my favorite part now of my entire business. I finally recognize it. As much as I love design, I get so amped up and [00:02:00] excited about marketing strategy and creating content and doing all that stuff. When I have the time to do it, I’m really into it.

So initially I was really, I just was drawn to Instagram because it was very visual. I didn’t mind showing my face and talking in stories. I love sharing pictures. And over time I would get questions from people saying like, yeah, does Instagram really work? Like I don’t know. I haven’t really gotten any leads from it.

I feel like the people who follow me on Instagram aren’t my ideal client. And at the time, I thought to myself, yeah, that sounds about like me. And I was very honest as I am. And I said, yeah, no, I, I just really enjoy Instagram. So I do put a lot of effort into it, but I don’t think that it’s getting me any business.

In fact, at the time, I did not have anyone who came to me because of Instagram or anyone who came to us who’d even seen our Instagram, to be honest. But over time, two things have happened. One thing, we have built and established a [00:03:00] brand and a presence online, and two, more people are online. It’s just a fact.

So being active on a platform, in my opinion, is really important. And, until recently. I wasn’t really getting leads, if you will, or potential clients through Instagram. Now, almost every person who comes to us has seen our Instagram. Now, that doesn’t mean that they searched us on Instagram and they found us.

It could be that their friend mentioned me, and then they looked us up on Instagram. It could be that they told a friend that they needed a designer, and the friend followed us on Instagram. Like, there’s all kinds of ways But every single person has seen our Instagram and most of them have seen our website.

Listen carefully to that. Everyone has seen our Instagram and most of them have been to our website. Usually it’s the serious [00:04:00] buyers who also go to the website. But I want to let you know, your ideal clients are out there and it might take time to get in front of them. In fact, I think if you’re starting out now, you have a leg up because when I started on Instagram, it was a pretty new platform and people weren’t really going there for designer, designer story.

But, but now people go because they want to see your feed. They want to see your style. They want to see if you’re legitimate. Do you have any followers? Do you post? What type of work do you do? It matters. I would suggest that you want to be active on the same platform as your ideal client, because this gives you a chance to educate them on why you do what you do.

Right? And build a rapport with them even before they reach out to you. Being present online builds trust and so much of what we do as a designer [00:05:00] involves trust. You are building a relationship and putting forth your best efforts to show your ideal client, you know, why you’re the best person to work with them.

It makes you more relatable to them. And I’ve said this before, but. You know, I have been to consultations pre pandemic where the person came up to me. I arrived at the door. I was like, Oh, hi, I’m Rebecca. They’re like, Oh my God, I feel like I already know you. And they gave me a hug. And I’m like who are you?

What? And I didn’t necessarily have a big Instagram following at the time. I mean, big ish, but they, they got to know me through my posts and through my stories. And so what it did is it gave me a leg up when I got to their house because here it is, they already kind of have a good sense of who I am as a person, so they know that our personalities are probably going to align.

And now it’s just figuring out all those finer details. So it helps also increase your conversion rate from a consultation to [00:06:00] a paid client, or consultations are paid, just want to be clear about that, but to a full service project. You know, being active on social media, whether it’s Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook is also a really great, powerful place.

It reinforces your brand. So it’s something else that they get to know your personality, understand who you are, why you do what you do, but then they can really start to understand what you offer your ideal client and what your brand message is. They get to see. The visuals, right? They get to see, Oh, Rebecca really likes blue.

Like it’s pretty well known now within my little interior design circle up here in Toronto that I like to decorate with blue. Fun fact, blue was never my favorite color growing up. I always liked pink and red. In fact, red is technically my favorite color, but I don’t know why I love to decorate with Navy.

It’s like the Ralph Lauren and tuck it girl in me. I think I was born in the wrong, in the wrong, like. geographic location. I should be by the [00:07:00] sea. Anyhow, I digress. But it really does help to reinforce your brand. And that way too, you can attract clients that are attracted to the type of design style you love.

And now I get this question a lot. A lot of people will say to me at this point, but Rebecca, I don’t have a portfolio that a reflects my personal style because I’ve just had to do whatever comes my way. And those clients don’t have the same taste as me, but I do it for the money or be like, I just don’t have a portfolio.

And to which I say, I totally get it. Do your best to find one room. Can you decorate or design one room in your house or for a friend for free and photograph the freaking bejesus out of it? Like literally there, if you pay close attention and I’m not going to mention any names right now, but I can think of a handful of influencers on Instagram who call themselves designers Transcribed who just show the same pictures of the same space over and over and over again.

And they have so many followers and it looks beautiful. I have [00:08:00] to say, like I look at their feet, I’m like, Oh, that’s lovely. And I’m like, Oh, I’ve seen that. I’ve seen that table lamp like 25 times on their feet, but this is like a fresh perspective and it looks really good. They’ve got a good sense of style.

They’ve got a good eye because that’s what Instagram will show or social media, mostly Instagram. And then, Also, you can share other people’s work as long as you tag them, you make it very clear it’s inspiration. I do this from time to time when I want to share some love and I want to showcase like here, like this is what I really want to do.

Like you see the house that’s made of all cedar shake with that cute door, like, Oh, isn’t this dreamy? Right? Because then you’re also showing your potential client what you’re aspiring to do. So I think that that is okay because it will enforce your brand. It also sorry, losing my breath. Oh my God. You’re offering a service, right? Which would be decorating, design staging, but really, you know, if you paint the picture well with your posts and you [00:09:00] engage with your audience, you are selling a lifestyle and really as designers, isn’t that what we’re doing? Like, we are giving our ideal client this lifestyle where they can come home, everything’s in its place, they don’t have to organize, they don’t have to do extra work, they can entertain, they can show things off.

It is a lifestyle and if you can show them that lifestyle in your social platform, they are going to gravitate because they are going to see you and I don’t actually think I do a great job of this, but there are a lot of designers and influencers out there who do. And it will sell that ideal client of yours.

Like maybe you love to go golfing, right? And you post pictures of yourself on the golf course, or you’re in your stories that will attract an ideal client who also has the same hobbies as you. You know, I’ve been posting a lot about skiing. My family’s joined a ski club and we’re posting a lot about it.

So I’m starting to get people come out of the woodworks and be like, Oh, Hey, I’m a member of this club, or, Hey, [00:10:00] this is what it was like when my son was learning and I’m able to connect with people on a different level. It also widens your audience when you have an online presence. It will bring you forward to the people that maybe wouldn’t have heard of you before.

Or maybe they wouldn’t even have seen you published in a magazine. Or even if you’ve been on TV, like just because you’ve been on TV doesn’t mean everyone knows you exist. Online has such a wide reach and you can post things over and over again and people will not get bored of it. You can approach. your online presence with thinking, okay, I want people to find me.

And there’s like, that’s a whole other podcast and marketing. And we get into that in my momentum marketing course. But but really it does help you appeal to a broader audience. People can find you from other countries, from other towns, states, cities, right? A friend can recommend to a friend. They might say, Hey, you’re in California.

That’s where I’m from. Oh, I follow this really great designer and she’s in California [00:11:00] too. You should check her out. Okay. Those are just a few of my top, I guess, reasons that I think it’s really important to establish yourself online. And the reason I say this, I like, I can do lots more podcasts on like specifics about what to do and how to do it and what I do anyhow.

But I would tell you that if you’re, if you’re hesitant to do something, just do something. Don’t worry about it being perfect. You know, I go, I go up and down with my Instagram involvement engagement lately. I’ve been so busy. I post a few posts here and there. I’m not posting a lot of stories and I’m like, Oh, Rebecca, come on.

You got to get back into it. That’s okay. You can’t be all on all the time, but be as consistent as you can post a picture, start to build your portfolio. That is where people go to see the work. An overall view of who you are. It’s like a quick snapshot. It’s like in like a second or 30 seconds and they look at [00:12:00] your feed and they’re like, Oh, this is what she’s about.

Then they might say, Hmm, I’m going to go check out her website. All right guys, I hope that was helpful. I hope that gives you a little bit of inspiration, motivation. Do put in the work for your online presence. It will pay off. I tell you, I’m seeing it pay off in dividends right now. It’s been incredible.

The people who come to me who Already follow me on Instagram. Know so much about me, my team, how we work. It makes the onboarding process so much easier. Okay. That’s all I got for you today. We’ll see you soon.