With more than 800 million monthly users, Instagram is a force to be reckoned with. If you're a B2B brand, you might think the hype isn't relevant to you -- but in 2018, it most certainly is.
As it stands, there are thousands of brands and a number of high-profile B2B organizations using Instagram to drive brand awareness, engage with their audience, and ultimately, to attract new customers.
To inspire you to take your Instagram game to the next level this year, our team at The B2B Marketing Lab wanted to share some concise, actionable tips you can put into practice right away.
1. Use authentic, real-time user-generated content.
Forget stock photography and staged promotional pictures -- it’s time to go real-time. On Instagram, your prospects and leads want authentic content that offers a personal glimpse into your company's culture and product offerings.
Real-time content, such as live video/live streaming, is unfiltered and 100% you. It adds a much-needed human element to B2B businesses, and helps you form a genuine connection with your audience and potential customers. Extremely professional-looking content can often feel cold and dispassionate -- your customers want to know there are real people and real stories behind the branding.
2. Go fast, and mix it up.
Instagram makes it incredibly easy for you to post photos or videos on your phone directly through its application. Just fire the application up, press the add button and select the photo or video you want to upload -- it’s that simple.
The advantage of this is that you don’t have to spend ages creating content. You can upload a variety of content wherever, whenever, without much pre-planning or editing required. Different types of content will not only attract and appeal to different members of your audience, but also show different sides to your business. No one wants to just look at images or just quotes on Instagram all day now, do they?
3. Get involved in your niche.
Stop looking through the window at what’s going on inside. Join the party.
Just like any other social media channel, it’s important that you not only post content to your feed, but also partake in the wider conversation. Don’t just post images and videos, reply to your community when they leave a response. Take the time to check out other Instagram profiles, have a browse, like some content and maybe leave a friendly comment here and there.
If you take the time to engage with others, they're more likely to take the time to engage with you.
4. Make the most of the link in your bio.
While Instagram doesn’t let you link to websites within the captions of posts, you can include one in your bio. You can include up to 150 characters in your Instagram bio -- including a link. Your bio is the perfect real estate for a link to your latest blog post or offers. You can also use tools such as Linktree to create a custom link that includes a page with more links, allowing you to share up to five links and get the most out of your bio link!
Alternatively, Instagram Stories are a great way of including links with your content. However, stories only last for 24 hours -- this is a limitation, but also a fantastic tool for you to provide real-time offers and value.
5. Tell a story with every single post.
On Instagram, the businesses that tell the most interesting stories build the largest audiences. If you want to attract people to your business and get them to engage with you, you need consistent visual storytelling that cuts through all the noise on Instagram.
Don't limit your focus to your general photo and video feed. Instagram’s Stories feature allows you to create a slideshow or montage of photo or video. When strung together, tell a story and provide your audience with a more personal experience.
6. Stay away from vanity metrics.
Vanity metrics don't tell the whole story. While an increase in clicks and likes are beneficial, they don't tell you if the right people are actually interested your content. Instead, look for indicators of real engagement, such as people commenting on your posts and new followers in your niche. These two metrics give a better indication of how well you are performing and how much exposure your business is actually getting.
Take the time to consider Instagram.
While it has predominantly been used by B2C brands up to this point, it holds great potential for B2B businesses when utilized correctly -- and with the points above in mind!