For the longest time, most B2B marketers have dismissed Instagram as a "B2C thing."
And understandably so. In its early years, Instagram did feel like a platform only B2C businesses could use to connect with (and sell to) their target audiences.
But with a billion users hitting the "Like" button at least 4 times a day, Instagram now has an audience that overlaps with the demographics of the most typical B2B buyers. You'll be surprised to know that about 73% of the people involved in the researching and purchasing decisions for products and services at their companies are 20- to 35-year-olds — a lot of whom are active and engaged Instagrammers. Not just that, most of these people are also the sole decision-makers for their teams.
Instagram offers a great opportunity to tap into this user base.
But building traction on Instagram for a B2B business account is no easy task. Also, unlike B2C companies, you need to think in terms of connecting and not converting. So let's see a few ways you can just do this and make Instagram work for your B2B business!
Choose What Your Instagram Content Should Reflect (to Connect With Your B2B Leads)
If you want to use Instagram for your B2B business successfully, then you need to first identify the aspects of your business that your B2B leads care about and that can also be expressed beautifully using the content formats Instagram supports.
So what could these aspects be?
Well, you could take some inspiration from the "40 fundamental 'elements of value" that HBR has identified to be the values that most B2B companies care about. The five levels these elements of value fall into correspond to the different factors B2B people consider when making their (buying) decisions.
As you can see in the following graphic, many elements of value that your B2B buyers care about (such as vision, hope, social responsibility, responsiveness, transparency, cultural fits, ethical standards, commitment among others) can be expressed in evoking ways using Instagram.
With the right Instagram strategy that maps your Instagram content to these different factors, you'll be able to position yourself as the ideal vendor for your leads. For example, if you're a socially responsible business like Convert.com that advocates for inclusivity, then you could use your Instagram account to get that across, because your potential B2B buyers, too, might care about it.
There are so many creative ways you can promote such values on Instagram and present yourself as a more culturally-aligned option your leads could consider. Take the following Instagram post from Google, for example. Notice how it shows Google's support for its tribe, irrespective of any orientations.
Or this post featuring Google's doodler:
Here's another example from Accenture. To show support for the LGBT community, Accenture posted multiple videos that showed Accenture's employees unfurling the Pride flag across its different offices. (Click the image to play.)
If you use your Instagram strategically in such ways, you can show your potential B2B leads how you're a great cultural fit because your B2B leads aren't just looking for a solution that comes with all the features and competitive pricing... they're looking for a good cultural match as well.
Bring Out the Humane Side of Your B2B Business
Because a B2B business is essentially a people's business that thrives on lasting brand-customer relationships, connecting meaningfully can go a long way. And Instagram is an excellent platform to bring out the humane side of your business that helps foster such personal connections.
Whether it's sharing photos of your employees from your company booth in conferences or sharing behind-the-scene snapshots, there are many ways to celebrate the people who make your brand and also your brand's personality. Take this post from Zendesk, for instance. It features the designs Zendesk's employees made when they were asked to draw the company's logo from memory:
Or, look at this post from SproutSocial featuring one of SproutSocial's Site Reliability Engineers:
Such content doesn't just give some great insight into the values and culture you practice and promote at your company, but it also helps your leads connect at a personal level with your people, whom they're possibly considering working with.
Get the Logistics Right
Once you've established how you want to use Instagram to inspire your B2B leads and customers and make your B2B brand shine, it's time to get into the finer details.
At this point, you should work on your Instagram style guide (don't forget the captions!), plan your different campaigns, decide how you're going to approach creating your content (pay attention to UGC or user-generated content as well here as UGC can drive a lot of engagement), determine a publishing schedule and so on.
To get a head start on this, simply follow the B2B brands that have good followings and engagement on their Instagram profiles and analyze what works for them. You should also see if your competitors are on Instagram and how they approach Instagrammin' for their businesses.
Eventually, you might want to explore the somewhat more advanced Instagram marketing tactics like paid ads, takeover campaigns, and influencer marketing.
Wrapping it Up...
Instagram's popularity, the record consumption and engagement of content it offers, and the tight overlap between its user demographics with the target audiences of most B2B businesses make it a must-have in the B2B social media marketing and selling mix.
In time, it even has the potential to become a regular touchpoint B2B leads and customers on their buying and post-purchase journeys have with a brand.
If your B2B business isn't on Instagram yet, this could be a good time to hop onto it.
Over to you… I'd now like to know your thoughts on Instagrammin' for B2B businesses. Also, have you ever engaged with a B2B business on Instagram?
Disha is the content manager at Convert. She spends her time learning and writing about optimization based on the billions of A/B tests and personalized experiences that Convert Experiences powers.