Instagram has already outgrown its initial purpose. Given that this platform is incredibly popular among different types of audience, there’s no surprise that many businesses have realized its value for marketing.
One of the best things about this platform is that Instagram users like marketing content and as much as 80% of them follow at least one business. Instagram also enables businesses to reach a large audience because this social media platform is used by over 500 million people every day.
Although Instagram is so popular, many B2B marketers still overlook it when planning their strategies. When marketers try to figure out which social media is best for B2B, Instagram usually doesn’t come to mind. The reason is that most marketers think that this platform can be good for B2B businesses only if they target a very niche audience. However, the truth is that many decision-makers from your target audience have Instagram accounts and spend a lot of time on this platform. About 40% of people ages 30-50 use Instagram, and its audience continues to grow.
Another reason why B2B companies should use Instagram is low competition. Given that only 30% of B2B companies use this social media, it can be easier to reach your target audience and to stand out. Of course, Instagram is unlikely to become your main selling channel, but it is able to increase your brand awareness and to help you build a strong brand image.
Any company can create a business profile on Instagram, collect data on its followers’ activity, promote its content, and use this platform to achieve various goals.
How To Create An Exciting B2B Marketing Strategy
Post Often, and Use Diverse Content
Instagram is very easy to use, and you can upload content quickly. Just select an image or video and post it — the whole process takes just a couple of seconds. Therefore, you don’t need to spend a lot of time creating content. You can use various filters and take decent photos with your phone. Therefore, Instagram users can post often, and they can also post a lot of content.
We recommend that you experiment with different types of content. Post videos, photos with meaningful and interesting captions, and stories. The more diverse the content, the more engaging your profile.
Use User-Generated Content
As we’ve already mentioned above, the key role of social media in B2B marketing is building your brand image and increasing awareness. The best way to build your brand image is to be authentic. Your followers are used to staged photos and well-curated marketing content so you won’t be able to stand out if you choose the same approach. People are looking for authentic content, and you can use it to build trust.
Instagram enables you to share user-generated content from your followers, to go live, and to post stories that help people take a glimpse into the everyday routine of your team. Simple and authentic content will make your brand more approachable and trustworthy.
Be Active in Your Niche
If you want to attract people from your target audience, you should be actively involved in your niche. Of course, your main priority should be posting your own content. However, we recommend that you also participate in a wider conversation. Leave your comments to posts related to your niche, and don’t forget to maintain an ongoing conversation on your account.
Reply to other people’s comments, encourage them to ask questions and to make suggestions. The more time you invest in engaging with others, the more time they will be willing to invest in engaging with your content.
To attract a large audience, you should post interesting and engaging content, and the best way to do it is to tell stories. Visual storytelling works wonders, and Instagram gives you all you need to use storytelling effectively. Don’t limit yourself to regular posts that appear in your followers’ feed. Post stories and let your followers consume more personal and authentic content.
Learn how to build a relevant & engaged following. Create better content & leverage Instagram for your business. Free for Hopper HQ customers • Updated January 2021
The Ultimate Instagram Course
Learn how to build a relevant & engaged following. Create better content & leverage Instagram for your business.Register Now
Free for Hopper HQ customers • Updated January 2021
Use Your Bio
Unfortunately, Instagram doesn’t allow you to include links to your website in your posts. However, you can and you should include the link in your bio. Moreover, don’t forget that your bio has a 150-character limit. Make sure to include some useful text and add a short custom link.
You can also add a custom link that leads visitors to a page with other links. This way, you can share a few links at once. You can also include links to your content in stories. Given that they only last 24 hours, it’s a good approach if you want to share real-time offers.
4 Steps to Successful B2B Social Media Marketing
1. Study Big B2B Companies
Although you may not have the same budget as the leaders in your industry, you can still analyze their strategies and use the same approaches. For instance, many big B2B companies constantly use their social media accounts to promote various events that take place in their niche. Usually, they use hashtags in their posts, and they also go live during these events. You can even post after the event is over, providing some comments.
Promoting and participating in events is just one of many strategies used by big B2B companies that also help them promote their own businesses. We recommend that you monitor other businesses’ activity and learn from them. This way, you’ll be able to quickly adopt B2B social media trends that have proven to be effective when used by successful companies.
2. Monitor B2C Companies
Even if you run a B2B business, it doesn’t mean that you cannot use methods that are effective for B2C companies. Although B2B and B2C businesses may have different marketing goals and even different audiences, there are some social media marketing approaches that are generally effective. Many successful brands simply tailor effective strategies for the necessary product.
For instance, many B2C brands tend to establish informal and personal relationships with their audience, which is a great solution if you’re going to promote your brand on social media. That doesn’t mean that you should post tons of jokes all the time, but that being authentic and personal is a great advantage when it comes to social media content. You can start by posting content from real life, with real people.
3. Choose the Right Tone
You should choose your tone based on your product, audience, and objectives of your campaign. For instance, B2B companies used to be associated with complex terms and a completely formal tone, but startups have changed it. Many modern businesses realize that choosing a casual tone can be a great approach. However, you should make sure that it is appropriate for your type of product and your audience.
Take a look at your competitors’ content and think of whether they sound casual or formal. You may want to choose the same approach. However, if you stand out from the crowd, it may also be beneficial for your brand. We also recommend that you research your audience and determine what type of content they like more. For instance, if you’re speaking to people from a certain industry, you may use jargon and address some technical subjects related to this industry.
4. Measure Your Success
Even though B2B strategies may have a lot in common with B2C strategies, you need to tailor your strategy to the specifics of your business. Social marketing is about constant improvement, and to improve your strategy, you should be able to evaluate the effectiveness of your efforts objectively. We recommend that you always measure your success and check your B2B social media statistics. The best way to do it is to measure your engagement.
On the one hand, you can measure followers and likes. On the other hand, these metrics don’t represent a sufficient ROI for B2B companies. Only a part of your audience is actively engaged in your content, and these followers are most likely to become leads. This is also a reason why delivering lead-generating content is so important. This type of content is especially valuable for B2B companies.
Why B2B Businesses Should Have an SMM Strategy
First of all, your customers need support and you should be able to provide it where your customers are. Given that consumers constantly use social media to discuss brands and to write their complaints, social media can either damage your brand or help you show that you care about customers. You should provide timely support, and the best way to do it is to connect with your customers directly on social media. Social media is extremely popular so you cannot afford to ignore this channel. In fact, 34.5% of people prefer social media as a customer support channel. Social media is an even more popular support channel than live chats, email, and phone.
Another reason why your B2B company should have an SMM strategy is that social media is a great place to search for business partners. According to research by Facebook, executives are 74% more likely to use social media and are also twice as active as other users. Social media helps business users coordinate activities, establish new connections, and build trust. As much as 79% of marketing specialists in B2B companies say that social media is the most effective marketing channel, and 38% of them note that, if they had an extra budget, they would spend it on SMM.
Social media can also bring more customers to your website. One of the main reasons why B2B should use social media is that SMM can help you promote your brand in different ways. First, it helps raise brand awareness so you get more potential customers who want to learn more about your products or even purchase them. Social media can also help you establish a brand image of a thought leader in your niche, making your brand more trustworthy and authoritative.
Besides, social media can help you properly position your brand within the market. Although social media cannot be the main sales channel for B2B businesses because most sales don’t happen online, it can still help you identify promising prospects and position your products or services to appeal to them. Therefore, social media can be effectively used to nurture leads and to develop strong relationships with prospects.
How to Implement a Strategy that Isn’t Boring on Instagram
Engage With Your Audience Manually
Everyone is looking for rapid growth but you should keep in mind that your audience won’t grow rapidly if you don’t spend a lot of money on influencer marketing and advertising. However, you can attract more people if you engage with them manually on a daily basis. You should interact with the potential followers and the existing ones, reply to their comments, like their posts, and leave your comments. You can also send direct messages to your followers, offering some valuable information.
Be Consistent When Using Filters
You can choose from among many filters on Instagram so you may feel tempted to try them all. However, according to research, 60% of successful brands use the same filters every time they post something. Consistency will help you create a distinctive brand image.
Provide High-Quality Content
On the one hand, Instagram offers countless opportunities for advertising. On the other hand, even if you have a great advertising budget, you won’t be able to succeed if you don’t provide high-quality content. Your Instagram posts should be not only beautiful but also informative and valuable for your followers. Your Instagram content can fulfill several purposes. It can be entertaining, informative, educational, or interactive. We suggest that you provide about 70% of informative content so that your account will deliver value.
Check your stats to determine what types of content are most likely to be appreciated by your followers. We also recommend that you experiment and post different types of content. Post images, videos, and different types of stories. For instance, stories enable you to post not only short videos and images but also previews of long IGTV videos and text.
Post at the Right Time
Not only should you do your best to provide interesting, informative, and engaging content, but you should also post it at the right time. The Instagram algorithm’s purpose is to show the most relevant and engaging content. As a result, if your post doesn’t get enough likes within an hour after you publish it, your followers may not see it in their feed at all. You can use our free tool to find the best times to post and maximize your Instagram reach. The tool analyzes your followers’ activity, and shows you the best hours to share your content, so that you always post at the right time.
Instagram stories enable you to create quick polls. First, polls can provide you with valuable insights into your audience’s preferences, interests, and needs. Secondly, polls also add an element of interaction, which makes your content more fun. This is also the easiest way to demonstrate that your followers’ opinion is important to you.
8 Examples of Exceptional B2B Marketing on Instagram
View this post on Instagram
Hi! I'm Kelly Dunham, lead test engineer for @geaviation. Today, I'm taking over GE’s Instagram to give you a behind the scenes look at how we test our jet engines for the first time after they're assembled. Follow along for a special look at how we push the #GE9X, the largest and most powerful commercial jet engine in the world, to its limits here at the Peebles Test Stand in OH. #aviation #avgeek #engineer #jetengines #testing
General Electric does a great job providing value. This company combines tons of useful information and interesting facts with behind-the-scenes content. This approach helps the brand get closer to its followers.
View this post on Instagram
"I remember stepping off the plane in Iceland and wondering how a place like that existed. Waterfalls cascading off cliffs. Icebergs. Black sand beaches. Unimaginable sights everywhere you look. It’s places like this that my mind drifts to during difficult times. Despite the challenges we spend our lives navigating, we’re really lucky to have a planet so beautiful 🌈" – @erubes1
While many businesses use Instagram to grow their website traffic, Adobe sticks with a different approach. You won’t find strong CTAs on this account. Instead, Adobe uses it to inspire more than a million followers by sharing beautiful images and creative ideas.
HubSpot has a very active account, so there’s no wonder that it has more than 300k followers. Hands down, this is one of the best B2B social media marketing examples. Why? The published content is pretty diverse, yet equally effective. HubSpot publishes interesting facts, stats, inspiring quotes and food-for-thought images. Take this post as an example.
View this post on Instagram
A view of Shanghai Tower located in Lujiazui, Pudong, Shanghai. At 2,073 ft (632 m), the skyscraper is one of the tallest buildings in the world. Photo credit: @seven7panda 📷 #artofvisuals #moodygrams #agameoftones #visualambassadors #streets_vision #sky_high_architecture #ThatsShanghai #insshanghai #captchina #Chinadestinations #chinatrips #topdronephotos #droneheroes #skysupply #drone_feed #flightography #dronemultimedia #dronefan #dronephotooftheday #beautifuldestinations #ourplanetdaily #cityphotography #skyscrapers #buildings #cbre
CBRE is a commercial real estate company so its account could be really boring. However, the company found a way to provide engaging content, sharing beautiful architecture from all over the world. This profile is both industry-related and inspiring.
Since this company was founded in 2010, WeWork promoted not only the idea of shared office spaces but also the idea of building a strong community. Therefore, the company decided to inspire its Instagram followers by providing vivid imagery and inspiring stories.
Slack uses catchy illustrations that immediately grab users’ attention and pairs them up with effective, not-too-salesy captions. Its Instagram account looks beautiful, creative and makes you want to tap the Follow button right away.
Guys at Mailchimp frequently use clever captions, creative videos and bright imagery to draw your attention to the product. Almost all posts have a “link in bio” reference that serves as a way to channel traffic from regular posts to its website.
View this post on Instagram
“I had a very sideways path into the ballet world. I was diagnosed with dyslexia when I was 8 years old. My mother, an actor, had read various studies that showed how ballet was good therapy for dyslexic kids. Given my initial prognosis of being unable to finish school, she signed me up for ballet classes. Believe it or not, I was a professional ballet dancer for 18 years, prior to joining to Shopify. Around the same time I started ballet, I had one of the first personal computers in my bedroom. When I wasn’t dancing, I was teaching myself to program. Ballet is a very old art form and progresses at a much slower pace than technology, but combined, they provided a sense of balance. I had a strong passion for both, so I guess it’s not surprising that I ended up working in tech after my ballet days were over. As a software engineer, I use my mind a lot more than my body. I spend far more time keeping my skills up to date as a developer than I did my body as a dancer. But my markers for success haven’t changed. I continually try to improve and push my skills to new heights. I still perform for an audience. But now, instead of a room full of ticket-buying patrons, it’s a worldwide collective of independent merchants using my code to help build their businesses. And I'm still an artist. There is so much beauty, creativity, and artistry in code. The work I create with my fellow Shopifolk is collaborative and always evolving. Our collective code is like a never ending dance, a thing of beauty, really. I have value beyond what I once was. I find happiness in helping other people succeed. Traits that I historically undervalued have great merit at Shopify; curiosity, tenacity and problem solving, to name a few. I will never be done learning, never, it isn’t in my nature. I have yet to spend a day working at Shopify where I didn’t learn something new. I’m grateful for that.” – Dom De Wolfe, Developer (Ottawa) #lifeatshopify
There are a lot of ways that this company gets new leads via Instagram and keeps its audience engaged. Other than posting news, inspirational quotes and independent business owners’ success stories, the company has quite a lot of other quality content for you to check out.
There’s one prominent type of post in Shopify’s account that we’d like to mention — it’s the #lifeatshopify series. These posts focus on building stronger relationships with the audience by sharing personal stories of Shopify employees. This Instagram account is full of ideas that you can use to advertise your own B2B business, so it would be a crime not to follow it.
Given the rapid growth of Instagram during the last few years and its business-friendly audience, B2B companies cannot ignore it when planning their social media strategies. An effective Instagram strategy can help you strengthen your brand image, attract prospects, and nurture leads. An effective social media strategy offers countless benefits so we hope that our tips will help you choose the right approach. Learn from others, follow trends, and don’t forget to deliver valuable content. This way, you’ll be able to meet your audience’s expectations and to get the best results possible.
Rhonda Martinez is a social media guru, avid copywriter and content editor at LegitWritingServices, a website that provides honest reviews about college paper writing services and shares effective study tips. Rhonda has authored more than 200 articles on topics related to marketing, social media, edtech and linguistics. Be sure to follow her on Twitter to learn more about her work.