Social media is much more than one big digital popularity contest: Excelling hinges on value-driven curation, thoughtful content creation, and the humanization of your brand. Consumers spend one out of every five minutes of their online time on social—that’s a lot of opportunities to drive connection, reach, and engagement for your organization. Usage of platform giants like Facebook and Twitter is relatively ubiquitous among B2B and B2C companies, but what about Instagram? This mobile-only photo and video app may not be the obvious choice for B2B brands, but it holds a lot of unexplored opportunity. Let’s take a look at how winning B2B brands today are leveraging Instagram—and how yours can, too.
Fact: Your Target Audience is Probably Full of Instagrammers
Instagram was launched in 2010 and purchased by Facebook in 2012 for one billion dollars, making each of its 13 employees at the time worth an incredible $77 million each. Today, the little mobile, visual app Zuckerberg took a shot on boasts an estimated value of 37 billion (at last tally—and that’s probably higher in 2016) and has 500 million active users.
What’s that matter to your B2B organization? It boils down to simple math: eMarketer reports almost 35 percent of mobile phone users frequent Instagram. That’s impressive, but take care to note the average millennial’s Instagram game is pretty strong in particular: By 2019, almost two-thirds of millennial smartphone users (i.e., almost all millennials) will actively use Instagram. As the B2B space sees more and more millennial buyers, you simply can’t afford to ignore this platform.
How B2B Brands Are Leveraging Instagram
B2C brands can certainly benefit from Instagram’s picturesque storytelling, but so can B2B organizations. Here are a few ways your B2B brand can leverage Instagram:
- Fuel your omnichannel approach. Integrate social and email strategies by incorporating live Instagram feeds into templates for your emails campaigns, keeping content updated and saving time. This strategy is so worthwhile, I recently wrote an entire piece about why and how you should do it. Read: How to Use Instagram in Your Email Marketing Campaigns.
- Post company updates. Next time you’re thinking of drafting a formulaic press release, think Instagram instead. Post a photo or video to spread the word about company news, and encourage your followers to comment.
- Tell your brand story. A bulk of your marketing efforts may be focused on new products, features and benefits, and the like—and that’s completely fine, just as long as you don’t lose sight of the story of your brand. Every company is made up of people and culture, and social is a great opportunity to humanize your brand in ways that resonate with your audience. You can start by granting “behind the scenes” access, showing videos or photos of your real team. These connection-driven posts build trust and brand loyalty, and Instagram is a welcoming platform to start building that community. Instagram recently rolled out Instagram Stories that gives you an opportunity to put together photos and video clips in a slideshow format that is highlighted at the top of your followers’ feed. It’s a great way to bring your story on Instagram to life.
- Make a video post. In true Vine-style, Instagram allows videos up to 15 seconds—not enough time to say a lot, but enough time to generate interest for follow-up engagement. Consider repackaging your messaging from other channels or doing a quick recorded demo, and give Instagram video a go.
Leading the Pack: Lessons from the Best B2Bs on Instagram
Bookly recently posted a roundup of B2B brands “killing it” on Instagram, and it’s a fascinating list. Let’s take a look at a few highlights and see what we can learn from the best of the best.
Advertising Age. This advertising company uses Instagram to share its corporate culture and give its 80 thousand followers an idea of not only what they do, but also who they are. One look at Figure 1 below and you can tell this is a fun agency. Who wouldn’t want to be at that annual sales meeting?
Figure 1. Source: AdvertisingAge on Instagram
Adobe. Adobe lives and breathes graphic design, so they’re well suited for Instagram success. This B2B giant uses this platform to show off what their products are capable of (like Figure 2), spurring inspiration in their 140,000+ followers.
Figure 2. Source: Adobe on Instagram
MailChimp. MailChimp is an email company, but they’re not your average email company. In fact, they’re decidedly un-boring and memorable. (Want proof? See Figure 3. Crocheted MailChimp cat hat, anyone?). This intentional branding strategy has been paying off big time with their over 36,000 followers.
Figure 3. Source: MailChimp on Instagram
The business case for Instagram is clearly there, and I touched on that above. Beyond the numbers, though, here’s what we know: Consumers are more digital and mobile than ever. They also crave both convenience and connection from your brand. What better way to deliver than by utilizing a mobile app built on easily digestible, engagement-driven visuals? Whether you’re from camp B2C or B2B, Instagram can help you get more traction from your social initiatives.
Tell me, what does your social media marketing strategy look like today? To what extent are you incorporating Instagram, and with what results? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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