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Written by Lisa Shepherd
on July 16, 2019

Five years ago, when working with our B2B clients, we would focus on building their social presence on LinkedIn and Twitter. Facebook and Instagram were seen primarily as consumer focused, often thought of as only for lifestyle brands.  We never used to include them in our clients’ marketing plans, but things have changed.  In 2013, Instagram had 90 million users and by 2018 it had reached over 1 billion with over 60% of them signing in daily1.  With such an active user base, this is not a platform you can afford to ignore. There are currently over 25 million Instagram business accounts2.  Are you one of them? 

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Before you consider creating an Instagram account you need to give some thought to your overall strategy.  If you are like most of our clients, your primary focus is lead generation which can be more challenging on Instagram compared to LinkedIn since there are no lead capture forms or opportunities to embed URLs.  Until you have a follower base of over 10 thousand (which is not the case for our small and mid-sized B2B clients) you cannot include URLs in your posts (we know there are a number of hacks to help you get around this but the point is simply that it’s not set up to be done that way).  You need to continuously update the URL in your bio and direct users to that URL.   But lead forms are not the only way to acquire new prospects.  You just need to give some thought as to what KPIs you are going to track and how you will measure success and what value Instagram can bring to your overall marketing strategy.  There are a number of reasons why you should create your B2B company Instagram account, here are a few.

 

1. It allows you to humanize your brand

Because Instagram is so visual, it’s a great way to showcase your corporate culture.  Use the channel to show you employees in action.  Whether it’s photos of people around the office or engaged in the community, this is your opportunity to give your prospects and customers a glimpse behind the scenes.  Let them see the type of people behind the brand.  This is a quick and low-cost way to bring your brand to life, especially for brands in the B2B space that are not well known.  Put faces to the brand and let your corporate culture excite people to do business with you.  

 

2. It can be used to promote thought leadership

While you can’t create lead generating forms on Instagram you can promote your latest content.  Use highly visual images with captions to tease out your latest whitepaper or content from a webinar and update the link in your bio temporarily to allow users to access the full content piece.  You can create bite-size pieces from your most recent infographic to help too share.  Another great way to leverage Instagram for thought leadership is through Instagram Stories. You can have your subject matter expert discuss some great tips or offer a quick how-to segment.  Thanks to insights from Instagram you can quickly understand what content is resonating with your audience which will allow you to continually optimize. 

 

3. It’s a great way to make announcements

Do you have news you want to share?  Instagram users scroll frequently so create a post that will appear in their feed or even better, leverage Instagram Live.  All of your followers will be immediately notified that you are live, and they can join you for your exciting announcement.  New product?  New employee joining your team?  Exciting feature launched? There is no shortage of great content to share you could share about your product or service. 

 

4. It’s the BEST way to engage with your prospects 

Don’t underestimate the importance of engagement.  The number one reason businesses should use Instagram is because it’s the BEST social platform for engagement.  According to HubSpot Academy, engagement on Instagram is 10x more than Facebook, 54x more than Pinterest and 84x more than Twitter.  These numbers alone are why you should not ignore Instagram.  Engaging with your prospects is the best way to build brand ambassadors.  Respond to comments in a timely manner, take the time to send a direct message to people who have engaged with your content and tag others when appropriate.  These little things go a long way to developing your brand.  Another great way to drive engagement is through user-generated content.  Have people post content you want using a hashtag you create or by tagging you, to give you other great material to work with.  Do you sell a physical product?  Have others take photos of it in action. 

 

Like all social media platforms, be sure to be authentic.  Nothing will turn people away faster than a brand that feels too calculated and formulaic.  While you need to be polished and professional, be real and true to who you are.  You also want to post on a regular cadence.  You don’t want to set up an account and then sporadically post images.  You need to have an intentional presence to build a loyal follower base and keep them excited to see what you will post next.

 

Are there other tactics that you thought were only for B2C?  Check out 10 Tactics B2B Marketers Should Steal from B2C and see what else you should include in your marketing mix.  

Crossing-Over

 

References: 

1 https://www.statista.com/statistics/253577/number-of-monthly-active-instagram-users/

2 https://business.instagram.com/blog/25-million-businesses

 

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