Guest post by Hugh Beaulac.
Instagram isn’t just a photo-sharing website anymore. In the last few years, as Instagram has reached 1 billion monthly active users, the platform has become a goldmine for marketers.
Today, over 25 million businesses invest time and effort into creating Instagram marketing strategies for their companies to raise brand awareness, increase brand loyalty, and find potential customers.
Big brands like Nike, Vans, and Victoria’s Secret have millions of followers on Instagram. But small businesses also use this platform to interact with their target audience and spread the word about their products and services.
The best part is that Instagram isn’t only a perfect place for consumer brands—it can work really well for B2B companies, too.
Why Should B2B Companies Use Instagram Marketing?
The days when Twitter or LinkedIn were the only social media networks for B2B business promotion are long gone.
The Social Media Marketing Industry Report says that B2B marketers see potential in using Instagram for B2B promotion.
Here are the top three reasons why B2B marketers use Instagram for business promotion:
- Find an alternative way to reach out to B2B buyers: If you’re looking for a new way to find your target audience, consider using Instagram. 75% of B2B buyers use social media to discover new products and services. Almost half of B2B buyers today are Millennials, who are more likely to use Instagram than their more senior colleagues.
- Support a long customer journey: B2B buying decisions are made by teams. This means that the process is non-linear, so companies should have many ways to show off the importance of their products and services to encourage each participant to make the right decision, and Instagram supports that.
- Increase ecommerce sales and start selling on Instagram: Instagram has many business-friendly features such as clickable links, product tags, and in-app purchases that allow companies to provide their followers with product information and convert them into customers.
If you’re considering using Instagram marketing for business promotion, check out these eight inspiring examples of B2B companies killing it on the platform in various creative ways.
Instagram Marketing for B2B Companies: The Eight Best Examples to Follow
1. MailChimp: Spark Interest in Your Business with Visuals
Most B2B brands have difficulty in creating visually appealing content, which is one key reason Instagram isn’t the most obvious platform for B2B companies. Often, they don’t think they have the right type of content or they simply don’t know what to post on Instagram.
But an increasing number of B2B buyers use Instagram daily. Moreover, 65% of people are visual learners, which means having a cohesive Instagram feed is a potentially powerful way to grab the attention of your target audience and spark interest in your business.
Here’s how MailChimp uses the impact of visual content on Instagram to tell followers and visitors about its services and stand out from the crowd of “dry” businesses with no interest in ideating content.
With a great variety of Instagram tools, not only can you create stunning visuals for your business profile, but you can also preview and plan your feed in advance, pick the best time to post on Instagram, and schedule your posts.
2. Grey: Put a Human Face on Your Brand
Brand authenticity matters. Faced with a broad range of options in the market, buyers will often gravitate toward brands they view as reliable and trustworthy. In B2B marketing, B2B buyers crave authentic relationships with brands just as they do with their personal consumer purchases.
The solution is to put a human face on your brand as a part of personalized B2B marketing, a marketing technique based on customer analysis that helps brands deliver highly relevant messages and product offerings. Personalized marketing allows brands to increase brand loyalty and build lasting relationships with their customers.
Among the ways to do this on Instagram are to:
- Post photos/videos of your employees;
- Invite your staff to tell their work-related stories; and
- Feature your CEO sharing handy industry tips.
Take Grey Advertising Agency, for example. It introduces the people behind their Instagram profile, as in the example below:
And here’s how the company creates a photo collage and tags people to show their employees and therefore increase brand loyalty and trust:
It may seem that posting your employees on Instagram isn’t the best way to grow your business with social media. However, it plays a key role in building brand loyalty and trust, which leads to a strong brand image and more sales.
3. NapoleonCat: Explain How to Use Your Products/Services
B2B buyers also want to know what sets your company apart from your competitors. Explaining how to use your products or services is a great way to give your potential customers reasons to buy from you and showcase your expertise in solving their problems.
Instagram has many options for B2B companies that want to help their customers understand how to use their products or services.
First, you can create educational Instagram posts to tell your followers more about selected features. Second, you can make short-lived Instagram Stories that create a sense of urgency without clogging the main feed up with content. Finally, you can use an IGTV channel to create product or explainer videos that detail the nuances of using your products. Check out how NapoleonCat did it:
Another great way to use this strategy without keeping a focus on your company is to promote useful resources that help your target audience.
For example, if you help small businesses grow online, you can create a list of startup resources on your website and share it on Instagram. Not only can this provide followers with valuable information, it can also illustrate how your business can help them make the most out of this content.
4. FedEx: Provide Instagram Customer Care
Recent research shows that 83% of users discover and research new products and services on Instagram.
During the discovery phase, potential customers will have questions about your product or service. Instagram users often reach out to brands to get their customer requests resolved in-app. As noted in the GetVoIP report, people expect customer service options on social media, and 75% of customers who ask for customer service help online expect to get a reply within five minutes.
When you leave your customers ignored in-app, they lose interest in buying from you. This means companies should provide customer service to understand their audience better, increase brand loyalty, and turn interested users into customers.
FedEx is a great example of an enterprise using this strategy. Not only does the company monitor its Instagram profile to reply to comments and direct messages, but it also has a FAQ Highlight album where people can find answers to their questions without waiting for a customer support representative.
Although the company doesn’t provide visitors with customer care in-app, FedEx has a customer support team that replies to all customer inquiries and helps them get these questions answered, like in the example below:
5. ContentStudio: Make the Most Out of Ephemeral Content
Interested in more Instagram growth tips? Consider creating Instagram Stories for your business.
With a short lifespan of 24 hours, this ephemeral content type is extremely popular among users as it creates a sense of urgency. In fact, 500 million people create or watch Instagram Stories daily.
Instagram Stories appear on a separate feed, which helps to keep your main feed cohesive. Plus, there are many features that can help with business growth. Among the ways B2B companies can use Instagram Stories features are to include:
- Question stickers – to understand your audience better
- Product stickers – to provide users with product information
- Countdown stickers – to cause a buzz around product launches or important events
- Clickable links – to drive website traffic with ease (for accounts with 10k+ followers)
What’s more, you can make the best stories permanent with Instagram Story Highlights. Here’s an example from ContentStudio:
6. HubSpot: Lay a Bet on Instagram Video Marketing
The popularity of video content continues to grow. According to video marketing stats, 95% of customers watch videos to learn about a product or service, 92% of people share videos with friends, and 77% of brands use videos on social media.
When done right, video marketing can produce significant business results for B2B companies as you can grab your target audience’s attention and educate them. The multiple video formats available on Instagram (Instagram Stories, Instagram Reels, in-feed video posts, IGTV videos) let you select the right video type to meet your objectives.
HubSpot often uses Instagram video marketing to raise brand awareness and interact with customers. The company uses its IGTV channel to share long-form videos that help followers learn more about the company, its services, and get niche insights from experts.
7. Keap: Show Your Clients and Their Success Stories
To address the concerns of potential customers and spark interest in your product/service, encourage your loyal customers to share their positive feedback with your followers. In other words, capitalize on user-generated content.
According to a recent report on user-generated content, 93% of marketers understand that prospective buyers trust current customers more than brands, and 66% of customers believe that transparency is one of a brand’s most important qualities.
When you showcase your B2B clients and share their success stories, you tell potential customers how your product can solve their problems and give them real-world reasons to choose you over your competitors.
Here’s an example of this strategy from Keap. The company invites its loyal customers to share their stories and creates short Instagram video posts.
Today, nearly all buyers seek out social proof before making purchase decisions. This type of content is authentic and informative, which leads to B2B business growth.
8. Appsee: Run Instagram Ad Campaigns
Running Instagram ads can be one of the most effective B2B lead generation strategies. Not only can you reach a wide audience with Instagram ads, but you can also target people you already know based on their email addresses or phone numbers. This means you can convert interested contacts into customers.
For example, when Appsee realized that their target audience of B2B buyers spent a considerable amount of time on Instagram, the company ran an Instagram ad campaign and made an Instagram Story ad to reach people who visited their website.
The ad offered viewers the opportunity to sign up for a free trial, with creative imagery and messaging that encouraged people to take action. As a result, the campaign increased its click-through rate by 3.4X, decreased its cost per click by 2X and lowered its cost per qualified lead by 25% with the new ad placement.
In a Word
Instagram is a relatively new social media marketing channel for B2B promotion. But it’s important to be active where your potential customers are, so more and more B2B companies are starting to use Instagram marketing. The noteworthy examples above can help you draw inspiration for your B2B Instagram marketing strategy.
Hugh Beaulac is a content strategist behind MC2 Bid4Papers who also works as a freelance SMM manager. With love for digital marketing and writing, Hugh often writes for marketing blogs to share his tips and tricks. Follow Hugh on Twitter @hughbeaulac to get in touch with him or read his latest guest posts.