The value of Instagram in B2C marketing is abundantly clear by now — thousands of brands are pouring millions of dollars into creating high-quality visual content to put on Instagram in order to attract customers.
But lots of business owners in the B2B space think of Instagram as a distraction, more suited to the flashy marketing tactics of consumer products than to the more serious world of B2B. What B2B marketers fail to realize, though, is that at the other end of every one of your marketing efforts is a human being — one who responds to the same tactics and appeals as any other person, whether they’re shopping for their own pair of shoes or new database software for their company.
The most successful B2B accounts on Instagram use the same techniques as the B2C ones — appealing to the emotions, creating a strong and consistent brand voice, and fostering relationships with their followings. After all, customers will need to make 5-7 points of contact with your brand messaging before they make a decision. There’s no reason Instagram can’t be one of them.
So how do you make Instagram work for you?
Align Your Instagram Presence With Your B2B Strategy
Instagram isn’t just another channel to broadcast your existing B2B content — technical articles and infographics won’t have the same impact on Instagram as they would on LinkedIn or even Facebook. Rather than simply repackaging your existing content, think of Instagram as a way to fill in the gaps, rounding out the public’s perception of your company.
Talk About Company Culture
Take your audience behind the scenes at your company — show them a raw, authentic look at your offices, employees, mission, and values. People want to buy from people that they like, and that’s true whether the buyer is a single individual or a CMO making a company-wide purchasing decision.
Share Customer Stories
The power of customer testimonials can’t be overstated — showing prospective buyers that you’ve encountered and solved their exact problems and needs before is a very compelling argument that they should do business with you.
Instagram is the perfect format for that. Whether it’s with photos or a short video, picking out stories that can make a visual impact and showing off your successes is a great way to captivate attention.
Leverage Employee Advocacy
If your employees like working for you — and hopefully, they do — chances are that they’ll be happy to talk about you as well. Set up group events, whether in the office or outside it, and encourage employees to share their experience and tag your company accounts. You can repost their content or share your own, humanizing your company and showing the faces behind the brand.
Engage With Your Customers
Instagram isn’t just a bulletin board — you can’t just put content online and walk away. Look for ways to build a relationship with followers, existing customers, and peers. Answer questions, engage in conversations, and thank people for positive feedback, all while staying true to your brand voice. You can even create ownable hashtags to get people talking about your company in a positive way.
Use Instagram’s Business Features
Instagram has become much more business-friendly since it launched, but it’s still not the easiest place to get your content seen. Much like Facebook, Instagram uses its own algorithms to decide what you’re likely to want to see. In order to get noticed and float to the top of timelines, you’re going to have to leverage a few tricks.
First, make sure your profile is set up properly. Instagram posts don’t allow direct links to outside pages in posts, so you have to get a little more creative when setting up CTAs. One of the popular methods for this is to include contact info in your bio so that prospects who want to learn more can easily find you online. There are also services like Lnk.Bio that will help smooth the transition from Instagram to external sites.
Instagram Stories do allow for external links, and they add some urgency in that they only exist for 24 hours before vanishing. Instagram Stories should be less formal and less polished than your actual posts since your followers expect a more casual experience. That makes them the perfect place to put a brief preview of more in-depth material, followed by a CTA along the lines of “swipe up for more.”
Get Involved In Your Niche
Like with any other social media platform, it’s important that you get involved in the broader conversation rather than just posting to your own feed. Find power users, similar businesses, and complementary brands to follow. And don’t just follow them — comment on their pages, like their content, and repost the best of it (with permission, of course). Users like it when their content is recognized by a big brand, so this is a good way to get your name in front of more eyes.
New, But Worth It
As of now, Instagram is by no means the ideal marketing platform for B2B marketers — we’re certainly not saying it should be your main channel or that it should replace more tried-and-true channels like LinkedIn.
But more and more, customers in both the B2C and B2B spaces want to see behind the curtain of the companies they buy from — they want to know what your company culture is like, what your values are, and why you do what you do. Instagram is the perfect way to show them that, humanizing your company and ramping up interest in a new, exciting way.