Can Instagram Really Work for B2B Marketing?
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Can Instagram Really Work for B2B Marketing?

Instagram is a truly addictive network!

Not only does it make the hours fly, but the moment your post gets a like, your brain also releases dopamine – the exact same hormone associated with drugs, sex, and alcohol.

You’d think Instagram would be a place for visual distraction, not for business, right?


What many B2B marketers fail to realize is that there’s a human at the end of every post they publish. Hence why the most successful branded accounts appeal directly to the emotions and look for unique ways to position their company.

It’s those dopamine-rich experiences that make Instagram such an effective network for 30% of B2B companiesIntel alone has gained over 1.1 million followers by highlighting its company voice whilst showcasing technology products. Even old-school companies like Wells Fargo use Instagram to reveal the human side of their organization through nostalgic photos.

So, how can you make Instagram work for your B2B marketing?

1. Align Instagram with Your B2B Strategy

At first, it may be tempting to leverage Instagram simply as another channel for broadcasting your existing content. Unfortunately, this strategy won’t gain you much traction.

Rather than repackaging your Facebook or Twitter content and pushing it to Instagram, you need to take a more strategic approach. Determine how Instagram will fill the gaps in your existing social strategy. More specifically, consider these five tactics to offer your audience a fresh view of your company:

  • Reveal Company Culture: The key to humanizing your brand is sharing a raw, authentic, and informal glimpse into your company. Take your audience behind-the-scenes – inside your offices, employee spirit, mission, and values. Remember: buyers want to buy from people they like, and potential candidates want to work with people they like – so it’s a win-win. Just look at what IBM has done:
  • Share Customer Stories: Not every customer story deserves to be shared on Instagram. Zoom in on the ones that could make a true visual impact, whether it’s through images or videos, as seen by Yotpo’s post:
  • Tap into Employee Advocacy: Your company shouldn’t be the only one sharing content. More often than not, you’ll find that many of your employees are happily posting about their company to Instagram. Either equip them with ready-made content or simply re-post their content to the corporate account! A lot of global B2B brands are “programming” pictures of their team members, partners, and communities:
  • Break Down Products: Instagram is a visual-first medium that can be used to explain the value of your products or services without words. Create infographics, demo videos or simply show your products in an aesthetic way to highlight your main value propositions. Here’s an example from MailChimp:
  • Engage with Followers: Instagram is not a broadcast network. Look for ways to have a conversation with your audience. Supplying a brand hashtag and monitoring it for activity can encourage your customers, employees, and followers to share things about you and get a conversation started – exactly what Salesforce has done with #salesforcetower:
  • Use Inspirational Quotes: During a busy Monday or a lazy Friday, everyone could use a boost of motivation. How about creating beautiful, visual image quotes to diversify your content and inspire audiences? There many free tools out there, like Canva and Recite, which provide you with ready-made templates – all you have to do is insert the quote! Hubspot has a stunning feed of handwritten quotes, complementing their product and brand voice:

2. Leverage Instagram’s New Business Features

As more companies join the Instagram ecosystem, users have been experiencing changes in their newsfeed. Today, 70% of content uploaded by your friends and family is suppressed by the Instagram algorithm. Much like on Facebook, photos and videos are ordered according to what Instagram thinks you care about most.

“If your favorite musician shares a video from last night’s concert, it will be waiting for you when you wake up, no matter how many accounts you follow or what time zone you live in. And when your best friend posts a photo of her new puppy, you won’t miss it.” – Instagram, 2016.

These changes have gotten some B2B marketers concerned about the potential decline in reach. Despite this, the rise in Instagram Business accounts offers greater opportunities for B2B marketers to engage their audience and see a real ROI from Instagram.

Here are some of the newest and most useful features:

  • Advanced Profile Settings: Instagram poses a slight barrier to lead generation due to the inability to include links in posts. That means B2B marketers must think out-of-the-box when crafting calls-to-action. One way business profiles make this easier is by allowing you to create a Contact button on your profile bio. Last week, Instagram also released the option to include a # or @ in your bio, which becomes live links that lead to a hashtag page or another profile.
  • Links in Instagram Stories: Instagram Stories are similar to Snapchat in that they exist for 24 hours before disappearing forever. This time-sensitive nature creates a sense of urgency for your potential leads and customers, which means they are far more likely to pay attention to your message. With a business profile, you can add links to Instagram Stories, making them one of the best ways to include a CTA. For example, you can include a 10-second preview of an upcoming video with the CTA “swipe up to watch”, taking your audience right to the video.
  • Story Highlights: A recent addition to the much-loved Stories feature, is “Story Highlights”, which allows you to pin a story you love to the top of your profile page. Think of it as a way to group images or videos with a common theme, like “Culture”, “Customers” or “Product”, allowing new visitors to quickly skim through them and learn something new about your company.
  • Automated Posts: Instagram recently opened its Content Publishing API to allow third-party applications, including Oktopost, to automate Instagram posts for Business Profiles only. This allows you to manage, plan, and schedule posts the same way you have always been able to across LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.
  • Instagram Advertising: Instagram is adding features tailored to businesses mainly to increase ad revenue. While some B2B marketers may not want to invest ad spend into a network that was previously free, Instagram Ads offer a truly seamless way to target specific niches within your audience. That’s why the number of Instagram ads doubled from 2016 to 2017.

Instagram is no longer just a playground for consumer brands like Nike and Coca-Cola. B2B companies have the same opportunities to join the network and reach their global audience! So, how will you align Instagram with your B2B strategy?

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