Instagram: A B2B Guide
Instagram is not only for B2C. B2B companies can also use Instagram effectively. The key is to figure out how to humanize your brand. Be more like a person and a lot less like a company.
Instagram has over 700 million active monthly users, with 8 million accounts using business profiles. 8 million. That is a lot of untapped potential for those of you interested in connecting with business customers.
The potential is there but you might be thinking how you break through the clutter and interact with the right audience at the right time to ensure you have the strongest engagement levels. Before we get to engagement and how to boost it, let’s first cover the basics.
First and foremost, Instagram is not just about posting beautiful images (though it is important). Beautiful images don’t get you far without a thoughtful strategy and well-defined brand identity. It’s important to craft your Who (your target audience), the What (types of content – educational, informational or entertaining) and the Why (your objectives – what does success look like for you?) before you dive into the sharing of your images.
Once you’ve developed your strategy, you can work on increasing engagement and growing your following. We’ve provided some tips to help you navigate the B2B Instagram world – it is a different animal, so pay attention!
You can’t expect to increase engagement by just posting photos and hoping users see them (and like them!). You have to get involved with your audience.
Follow other businesses and thought leaders within your industry and interact with them. Like their photos, leave comments and ask questions. Your interactions will spark their interest, making it more likely that they will go to your profile and follow and engage back!
You can also follow Hashtags on Instagram. Look at what other businesses are hashtagging (including your competitors!). Follow a few of the most popular ones. Those photos will show up in your feed and make it easier to interact (like, comment) and you also will find new businesses to follow this way.
Share Your Products and Customers
An easy way to be more like a human but still showcase your products is to share photos and stories about your customers. Use a photo from your customer (with permission) and tell a story about how your product is helping them.
The caption should not be a sales pitch. You want to show an interesting and eye-catching photo with an intriguing story.
For this to truly work, you need a way to receive customer’s stories and photos. You can ask customers to submit them or monitor their social channels. Your customers will be thrilled to be featured!
Tell a Story
Storytelling is the best way to be more like a person and less like a company.
A local non-profit recently shared a story with our team about the organization’s mission. She instantly had everyone’s attention by sharing personal, relatable details about the ways her organization helps those in need. She provided statistics, interesting facts, and achievable outcomes in ways that our agency could assist. She pulled us into her story and made us relate to her and her mission! Humans love to be told and relate to stories. It’s how we connect with one another.
While this was in person, you can do this same thing with your photos and captions. Start with a few interesting facts or create a fictional character to tell your story.
Share Things Your Customers Care About
We’ve said this before, and we’ll say it again! It’s important to pay attention to what your audience engages with online and what they don’t. Listen to what your customers talk about – do they all like the beach, or have kids? You can create posts based on those interests. If you post photos of your building’s architecture and no one engages, you know not to post more of those types of photos. Instead, switch it up and share a photo of the employee of the month, and tell a story of why this person won.
Instagram requires a little more planning and creativity than Facebook and LinkedIn. It means you have to be more expressive, as most humans are and want you to be in return. As soon as your company starts acting more like a human it will make your customers feel like they have something in common with you and build more affinity. Instagram is about building relationships versus clicks and sales, and while perhaps not immediately, you will begin to see ROI from your Instagram efforts. Stay consistent and strategic!