— March 6, 2018
93% of the most engaging posts on Facebook are visuals. (source)
Social Media is becoming more visual.
Gone are the days when different Social Media works for different types of brands. It is a conventional wisdom nowadays.
The real key is to know how we can use each social media platform effectively. You can’t get huge traffic and engagement by posting educational content on the Instagram like you can get by doing this on Facebook and LinkedIn.
Recently, Instagram hit 800 million users on Sept. 2017. So, the B2B companies can get success by behaving more like people and less like a company. The need is to represent the brand by humanizing the brand.
Here are the common objections that we’ve heard by B2B companies have against Instagram:
- “This is for kids & B2B ain’t about kids”
According to peers, B2B is all about businesses and targeting teens won’t be any help.The fastest growing demographic is in the range of 25-34. The situation is same as in Facebook, the trend was followed by the college kids, who then became adults, and ultimately they were the older generation that came over.
- “Our audience base is not there”
With 400 million daily users, Instagram crossed the 800 million monthly active users on 26th September 2017. Unless you are targeting incredibly niche, your customers are obviously on the vast platform.
- “Our business doesn’t have interesting content that can build audience engagement”
B2B is centered around marketing, strategies, plans, stats, and all the thoughtful stuff. Why would the fun-loving generation on Instagram like to read it at all? Well, you never know how exactly your customers or employees feel about your business/product/service. If you weren’t interesting, how could you have transformed into a business then?
- “This is only for people’s selfies, pics of cute animals and people having lunch”
Yeah, we know photos and other media prevails the platform but the entire 40 million photos uploaded everyday aren’t of food and selfies! There are examples of big B2B businesses who are already monetizing the platform and reaping the benefits.
Does your business target its marketing strategies around Brand Awareness, Trust Building, Public Perception, Relationship Building, or towards User Engagement through new and existing customers? If so, then Instagram is the best choice of social media platform for your business to benefit from.
Can you now think of giving Instagram a chance to prove it?
Let me lure you more with these surprising stats:
- As per the reports by CNBC, Instagram reported a landmark. On 26th September 2017, Instagram now has over 800 million monthly active users. Instagram has a whopping 500 million daily active users.
- Instagram revealed it has a whopping 15 million registered business accounts on the platform.
- Around 80% of the users are from outside the US. More than 10 million active users are from Russia, Turkey, Brazil, Poland, U.K., Japan and France.
- According to Phew Research Study, of all the total adult users, about 38% of them are women and 26% are men in US.
B2B companies can also profit from Instagram by being more connective and behaving like normal people rather than some corporate agency. All they need to do is just focus on certain ways to humanize their brand (and not just a sales dummy). How? Try to interact and build relationships with your followers (which is comparatively harder or impossible on other social networks).
Below are a few ways the leading B2B Instagram accounts use to win customers:
- Show Off Your Employees & Work Culture on Instagram
People on Insta love to show off their lifestyle and it’s high time that you too start doing that. The major recruiting tool is LinkedIn and there’s no doubt about it – both HR professionals and candidates can connect directly via the platform. BUT Instagram does the show off better.
Show the perks of being at your business, being a part of it, and so on. Many big banner companies show their staff, work culture and environment on the social network to gain eyeballs. B2B companies get a better, human-oriented display of culture, perks, events, staff, and more.
Hiring still remains one of the toughest processes yet one of its core element is building a quality funnel. When you post engaging posts related to your business on Instagram and show people how great it is to be a part of your effort; it attracts candidates more than those dry job posts. Even when it’s not about hiring, it’s still a great marketing trick.
Here’s how Hootsuite’s Instagram post for their company’s culture looks like:
2. Employee Engagement
Employees are the biggest asset of a company and it’s important that you appreciate them regularly and dedication they put into bringing forth your brand. How? Show it on Instagram!
It’s your employees who should feel motivated, boosted, and happy working with you and then only the audience looking at the posts will be attracted. Share your employees’ reviews and stories on your Insta account with photos and people would like to check them out.
Have a look at how NASA maintains its employee engagement:
3. Thought Leadership and Instagram
Once you’ve given recognition to your company’s history, staff, culture, and all; it’s time to give some credit to the think-tanks of your business.
You can share moving quotes and thoughts of your masterminded employees or yourself to bring forth intellectual engagement on Instagram. For maximum benefit, invite your audience to participate and share their thoughts and concerns on the platform.
This ultimately converts into a unique form of customer service. Insightful thoughts attract users and when you show them you care, your audience also feels interested to join the conversation.
4. Using Hashtags to Connect With Your Followers
When you offer your audience to join in, you ain’t requesting them for anything – be it a visual or a story. With a hashtag, you are sharing a core value. Once you set a catchy hashtag related to you, your users spread it by participating on Instagram.
It’s great if you could find a hashtag that in some way relates to your concept or business but doesn’t sound too obvious.
Here’s an example of Nike’s way of interacting with its followers using hashtags:
5. Promote Your Customers & Yourself
Haven’t got a stimulating product in hand? Don’t worry! You may share interesting stories of your customers that involves your product. Make sure to plan a repeatable approach to capture down-to-earth stories of real customers. Find the ones having engaging associated visuals in them.
You may not know but your customers will be entertained with the co-promotion opportunity.
This is how Coca Cola showcases its customers:
6. Demonstrate Your Products
Showing behind the scenes is a good thing yet it’s equally important that you introduce them to your core. Posting short videos of your product launch on Instagram can help gain the interest of your audience and potential customers.
As a side option, you can also upload some artistic photos of your product and happy customers to fetch in more audience. Don’t be monotonous, share interesting, real creative shots that involve you, your product, or your service.
It’s a great way to share info about your products with your audience without seeming forceful.
An image showing Nasa’s product demonstration:
7. Notify About Upcoming Events and Offers
You don’t need to be hesitant in sharing photos before your event. Post photos of the ongoing preparations and event planning, venue, setup, and more to tease your audience. Find some interesting places near your venue and share the photos on Instagram.
Sharing bloopers while rehearsing is another good approach to engage your audience.
You Can Use Instagram For B2B Too If You Know How To Do So
Unlike Twitter and Facebook marketing campaigns, you can’t share the relevant content from your niche/industry straight away on Instagram and get clicks in return. This all requires more practice, patience, and innovation. Rather you should focus on being more expressive like normal people are and expect you to be as well. (You can, however, use some techniques to maximize your Facebook campaign for better results).
Your followers would like to feel as if they share a connection with you. Although it wouldn’t be direct sales or conversions in traceable ways, you can still put a link in your Instagram profile. And once you’ve managed to get a good following, it will ultimately convert into leads. Not only this, but you’ll also be able to create the impression you wish to create in front of your existing and future customers. Many companies certainly have done so and you can too!