How I Do It: Utilizing Instagram Reels for Recruiting - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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How I Do It: Utilizing Instagram Reels for Recruiting

When you’re busy running your lawn or landscape business, staying on top of social media trends might seem like your lowest priority. However, companies like Farmside Landscape & Design, based Wantage, New Jersey, have been able to take a popular social media format, Instagram Reels, and use it to their advantage.

“In order to reach the right audience, we need to be seeking them out,” says Emily Seely, administrative assistant for Farmside. “An ad in the paper simply doesn’t do what it used to so we need to keep learning and adapting to today’s way of ‘sharing’ and communicating.”

What Are Instagram Reels?

Instagram Reels were introduced back in August of 2020 to compete with TikTok. With Instagram Reels you can edit and record videos that are up to 90 seconds long. You can also include sounds and effects.

In a study conducted by Hootsuite, Instagram accounts see a significant spike in followers and increases in engagement after posting a Reel.

“Reels give you the opportunity to reach a bigger audience, specifically one that doesn’t follow you yet but may be interested in content like yours,” Seely says. “We have started using Instagram as a platform for recruitment and generally representing our company culture instead of sales. To find people that fit in best with our culture we post things that those people will enjoy and gravitate to repost or share with their friends as well. Once you make that first connection with a viewer they are more likely to see your content again due to the algorithm in place by Instagram.”

Seely says when she joined the team in 2019 she became interested in the company’s social media presence. After a year of learning about the industry and what Farmside wanted to present online, she took over the social media side of their marketing with the guidance of Lisa Kuperus.

“Since then I have been focused on using Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn in more intentional ways and meeting the audience represented on each platform with what they want to see,” Seely says. “Now we have been working on our Instagram growth for about a year and a half.”

Since she started creating these Reels, she says their following has increased by a few hundred so far. Seely acknowledges that this isn’t a huge increase, but they are focused on the quality of followers, rather than the quantity.

“The majority of followers we have gained are not coming from other countries or ‘bots’ as some may refer to them as, but instead are mainly people in our general area or industry,” Seely says.

Farmside’s Reels are shared on their Instagram account and automatically appear on Facebook Reels as well due to the apps’ automatic integration. She says they haven’t been posting on TikTok yet, but they will be soon.

Seely says there’s been an increase in brand recognition since growing their social media activity.

“People in our area often reference exposure to our brand by seeing our trucks on the road – if those people have a presence on social media they are also now exposed to a behind the scenes look at our culture,” Seely says. “This is really helpful with potential hires. When they find our page, they see a good representation of who we are and how our values are reflected in our work.”

Tips for Success

If you’re wanting to take advantage of Reels yourself, make sure your videos have a purpose. Seely says she tries to make sure Farmside’s company culture is relayed in her Reels.

“Whether this means displaying a job well done featuring our team’s craftsmanship, clips of new hires training, or a food truck coming in to feed our crews after a hard day’s work – I want people to see that Farmside is a great place to work and we have some great clients to work with,” she says.

Seely uses and iPhone 13 Pro, and a gimbal, which stabilizes the device and allows her to pan the frame smoothly with its controls.

“We have a drone for filming from the unique bird’s eye view,” Seely says. “Clips from this angle help catch people’s eye and are a great way to capture details in job transformations.”

She advises using short clips, creating movement and choosing audio that compliments your video when creating an engaging Reel.

“If other people in your industry or people that have your goal audience are using a sound and having success with it, you should try it too!” Seely says.

Seely also suggests taking lots of videos and photos. While your team might be camera shy or camera tired, you always need new content and should take advantage of moments when you have them. She says it’s easy to put a Reel together when you have a good library of staged photos as well as real work day shots.

“Remember it really doesn’t hurt to try,” Seely says. “If a video flops, it flops – but that doesn’t mean another one won’t do well.”  

Below are some examples of Farmside’s Instagram Reels.

Jill Odom

Jill Odom is the senior content manager for NALP.