5 Surprising Ways to Use Instagram for B2B Marketing

All the cool kids are using Instagram, but if you are a B2B marketer, you might think that you don't need to be up on this popular social media app. This would be a mistake. 

Instagram allows you to share photos and 15-second videos with your followers. It is a great way to promote visual content about your brand with the world.

When you think about it, marketing to businesses is really directed at the people who work at those businesses. These people are looking to solve problems, fulfill needs and meet challenges. Instagram is just another way for you to showcase how your products and services can help.

Best of all, since Instagram is used for social sharing and B2C marketing, your posts will reach your followers when they are not in work mode. This allows you to present a more fun and playful side to your brand. By making a more personal connection with your followers, you can cultivate long-term business relationships and alliances -- and perhaps even attract new leads.

How to Use Instagram for B2B Marketing

#1 - Share Demos, Tutorials, Educational Videos and Portfolios

15 seconds of video is just enough to share a tutorial about a feature of your product. You can educate your followers about how to use your product or what your service can do for them.

You can also post educate your audience about your industry and what you do. CBRE shares beautiful images of cities they work in along with some interesting facts. This example below was part of their "City Guides" campaign, to inspire its audience to "look at the world of real estate from a new perspective." 

 

The same idea can be applied to your business: Teach prospective customers about your process, your tool, the science/methodology behind what you do, or simply explain a difficult concept in 15 seconds or less (that would be a fun challenge!). 

For instance, if you're a mortgage company, you can share tips or videos explaining the process of securing a mortgage and what homeowners should look for when choosing a mortgage company.

Be sure to use your Instagram visuals to showcase your skills. This is especially true for people like photographers, designers or contractors. These folks can post pictures of their work to show what they can do. But that also goes for anyone selling something. Just sold a house? Post a photo! Listing a new office for rent? Post it on Instagram. It's all fair game. 

#2 - Thought Leadership

Another thing you can do with your 15 seconds on Instagram is to demonstrate your thought leadership. Ask a thought provoking question or start a discussion. Perhaps you could take a position on a controversial/hot topic in your industry. Invite your followers into the discussion.

A popular way to drive engagement is also through the use of quotes and graphics. Think about sharing a thought-provoking or inspirational quote from an influencer in your industry or even your C-suite. You can also share interesting stats and data through a graphic to get people thinking more about your products or services. 

 

This #GivingTuesday support my 100 Million Meals Challenge and I'll match your donation.

A photo posted by Tony Robbins (@tonyrobbins) on

 

#3 - News and PR

Instagram is a good way to complement your traditional public relations. If you have some news you can let people know with a picture or a video. For example, when you win an award, you can simply post a picture of your employees holding the plaque or trophy. A close up of the award and a simple caption can say as much as a press release.

If your business is attending an event, you can use Instagram to share photos and video of the goings on. This lets people know about the event and what you are doing there. You can also encourage your followers to share their own content associated with your presence at the event.

Another way to use Instagram is to let people know about the history of your brand. Throwback Thursday is a great way to remember past glories and great moments in your brand's history.

#4 Showcase Employee Engagement and Company Culture

You can give your followers a window into your company culture by posting pictures and videos of your employees at work and at play. This really gives a human face to your company. It shows that your company is a fun place to be. It can be a great tool for recruiting people if you are hiring.

This is also a great way to put personality and bring the human touch to your online presence. Followers can get to know the people of your company -- after all, people connect with each other, not just your logo, right? 

 

#5 Create Community

You can encourage and share content that is created by your customers and followers. This content can a case study or success story. It can also be suggestion and tips for using your products. A contest can really motivate your audience to share content about your brand. You can facilitate and manage this conversation by creating a set of hashtags that people can use. These hashtags are an easy way for people to find content related to your brand on Instagram.

social editorial calendar

Get Ahead of the Curve on Instagram's Algorithm Change

Recently, Instagram announced that an algorithm change was in the works. Like Facebook, Instagram will change from a chronological feed. Instead, the new algorithm will attempt to predict, based on past interactions, the posts that users will most want to see. When Facebook took this approach, many small businesses complained that engagement with content plummeted. Many fear that the same thing will happen to Instagram engagement.

Others argue that this new approach is better. With the number of Instagram users increasing every day, it is easy for posts to get lost in the vast sea of content. The new algorithm will help those producing truly interesting content and hurt those who are just post anything to be seen.

So don't get on Instagram and beg your followers to engage with your content. That is not the way to approach the new algorithm. If you offer great content, then you will get engagement. 

Here are a few tips for dealing with the new algorithm:

  • Dig into your analytics. Know when your followers are most likely to be online and post at those times.

  • Use hashtags to identify your content. Watch what hashtags your audience and competitors are using. The right hashtags can help people find and engage with your content more easily.

  • Include calls-to-action in your captions. Don't just beg for engagement: give people a reason to engage. Ask provocative questions that invite a response. Or invite people to share some of their own content. Let your audience know you are interested in what they have to say.

  • Use Instagram to grow your email list. Then you will have direct contact with your audience and you won't have to rely on Instagram.

The bottom line: Instagram is not just for selfies and pictures of what you ate for dessert. It can be a powerful tool for B2B marketing when used correctly. It allows you to engage with your followers in creative and interesting ways with vibrant visual content that will attract new customers and grow your business.

Hungry for more about Instagram? Learn how to rock these 9 product trends on Instagram from our friends at WeMarket.

Have you been using Instagram for your business? Tell us about in the comments below.

About the Author: Samantha Anderson

Samantha Anderson

Sam is a co-founder and inbound strategist at 41 Orange.

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