Of all of the social media business options out there, Instagram has roared to the top of the list for business organizations worldwide. However, with such a consumer facing dynamic to the platform, and to social media in general, it is easy for B2B (Business To Business) companies to disregard it as a relevant marketing option.
Instagram has an intuitive user experience, a massive, ever-present user base and a strong history of paid promotions, social media marketing and support for businesses, it is an excellent option for your company as you look for new ways to connect with your business clients in.
Still not sure that Instagram will work for your B2B services and products? What if I told you that there are 25 million business profiles already on Instagram? The odds are that your target and existing clients are on their too. And 200 million Instagram users visit at least one business profile daily.
Get Started With A Business Site
One of the best ways to keep your Instagram professional is to have a business Instagram profile. This is a technical specification whereby your Instagram interface will be altered to have elements that are conducive to doing business.
For example, a business profile will have a ‘Contact’ button for companies and individuals to get in touch. Furthermore, you get access to the Instagram analytics tools, which will give you insights into how your page and posts are performing. This is a first step move for a B2B company using Instagram.
Already set up a regular Instagram profile for your business? Not a problem. It is simple to switch it over to a business profile in your account settings. If you have a Facebook page for your business you can connect the two (Facebook owns Instagram).
Navigate Defining Success
The difficulty with social media for business is that it can skew perceptions of what success is. You might see a certain business Instagram with 100,000 followers and thousands of likes on each post that isn’t reaching the right demographic or actually capitalizing effectively on the attention.
By that same token, a site with 400 followers all of whom are actively engaging with the business is a success that might look underwhelming. You want to know, with each post or story, what you want from it and map a much broader picture of how ‘successful’ your Instagram is as a tool for marketing products.
Engage With Others
B2B requires a lot more active effort than simple customer-facing businesses. This is one of the reasons why some people incorrectly see Instagram as the wrong place to do B2B company marketing. In reality, it’s an amazing platform to track down and engage with other companies.
So many businesses have Instagram accounts that, as a B2B company, it only takes a couple of searches and a few DMs to be attracting business in a way which might previously have required a whole bunch of inconvenient hurdles.
The engagement factor is what will define the success of your marketing on Instagram, so cast your net wide and hunt down the companies you want to connect with over the platform.
Always Have Content
One thing that Instagram is extremely good at, or its users are at least, is sniffing out stale pages. Your Instagram needs content, well-optimized, aesthetically engaging content, whether that be videos or pictures.
A good tip when starting out is to pre-load at least 9 posts (to fill the 3×3 layout) so that from the off people have things to look at and engage with.
This is especially important for companies marketing to other companies, who will be comparing their page to yours and will want to see a really professional feed.
Once you are up and running you need to have a plan. Like any other marketing channel, Instagram will work better for your business if you strategize your approach. Work Instagram into your existing marketing strategy and create a content schedule for it too.
If you have connected your Facebook and Instagram accounts, you will be able to use Facebook Creator studio to preschedule content to both channels. Using this tool you can schedule content for your Instagram feed and IGTV.
A scheduling tool like this is especially useful if you are targeting businesses in other time zones.
Watch Out For Brand Consistency
There should be consistency in messaging and brand across all of your social channels. This does not mean that you should share the exact same content on each channel. One message can be presented in multiple ways, adapted to the channel it is being shared on.
What you share on Instagram, for example, can be a little more relaxed in tone (always professional though) that what you share on LinkedIn. However, TikTok videos and screengrabs of tweets do wonders on Instagram.
Brand consistency comes across in the style and voice of your content. The things that make your brand instantly recognizable. You only need to think of the global dominating brands like Disney, Coca-Cola, and Ferrari to understand what consistent brand looks and feels like.
Instantly when we think of Coca-Cola we think of the distinct red and words like refreshing and thirst. Words that they use consistently in their brand messaging.
Fortune 500 professional services company Accenture use Instagram for each branch of their global business. What Accenture do well across all of their Instagram profiles is to keep the brand consistent and showcase the people and environments behind the scenes. With 117,000 followers and thousands of likes per post on their main Instagram profile alone, you get an idea of the reach Instagram gives them.
Content Ideas For Instagram
Instagram is a storytelling platform, perfect for sharing behind the scenes insights from your business and details about your products and services. This can be done through photos and videos in the main feed, Instagram Stories or IGTV.
Anything shared in your main feed will appear in home feeds of your followers, as will any IGTV videos. Content shared via Instagram stories, however, will only be available for 24 hours.
IGTV allows you to share long-form videos up to 60 minutes long. With the advancement of smartphone technology, it is now simple and relatively cheap to produce professional standard video content.
Start small (creating 60 minutes straight away can be quite daunting) and use IGTV to introduce your brand. A medley of clips and images from over the years your brand has been active to tell your story. A walk around your offices or sites helps clients understand your brand.
The impermanence of Instagram stories is helpful for creating a buzz around your brand. Use it for announcements, special offer codes, and sharing expertise. Always let your audience know when your Instagram story will go live using your post feed in the days running up to it.
Now in its fourth year, Instagram Live is a powerful tool for audience engagement. Use it to host question and answer sessions about your business, your product, and your people. Employee takeovers work very well on Instagram and the Live feature can form part of that.
Let a different member of the team act as a host on your channel each week or month. Empower them to share the business story from their own day to day insights. Everyone likes to know who they are working with, the people behind the brand and takeovers can help you accomplish this.
For inspiration on how to use Instagram video to its maximum potential, take a look at Intel’s profile. Intel uses video seamlessly to showcase their products and their services. They show their products in use by customers to highlight individual key selling points like battery strength and fast charging ability. They tell stories about the people who use their products, highlighting where Intel fits into business and life.
Showcase Other Companies
It may seem sycophantic, but a simple way to create positive relations with other businesses is to use your channels to help them promote theirs. This could be as simple as a shout out to a local supplier or a brand you use in your offices.
Alternatively, if you have successfully done business with a company you can, with their consent, use the story of your business relationship as a case study of how your brilliant service helped them grow their business. Showcasing your service or product in action will help other potential clients identify the relevance to their business.
There is the added bonus of increasing repeat business from the client you have showcased. As with any consumer type, repeat business is most likely to come from a customer that feels you care about them.
If you have been on the fence about using Instagram as a B2B marketing tool, put all of your misconceptions behind you and embrace the reality of the situation. Instagram is an excellent all-round business tool that will help your business reach others with ease and little to no cost.
Before you get started, do your research and look at how competitors and other businesses, in general, are using the channel for business growth. Look too at how your clients use the channel and try to align your messaging with theirs, where relevant, to help bridge the gap between your brands.