When you think of Instagram, the first things that pop into your mind are photos of delicious foods, glamorous celebrities, and adorable puppies. However, with 400 million active users per month, Instagram makes a great marketing platform.
B2C companies are all experiencing success on Instagram, but the majority of B2B firms still have minimal or close to no engagement. Many B2B brands are hesitant to dive into the world of Instagram as it seems less professional than Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.
But remember, people do business with people, not with other businesses. Through Instagram, you can advocate your company’s core values, and establish a long term connection with your consumer base.
If you are still lost, below are some areas you should focus on in Instagram B2B marketing to help you get started. You can also analyze your company’s Instagram account and hashtags using Keyhole.
1. Company Vision & Culture
Don’t think of Instagram solely as a marketing tool and constantly bombard your audience with your products and services. Try to stick with a central message or theme that both represent your company and show personality. Displaying company culture will allow you to better connect with your targeted audience, and if done correctly, have people immediately connecting your company with a certain keyword.
WeWork does an exemplary job of showing culture and vision through their Instagram. Their mission is “to create a world where people work to make a life, not just a living,”so their Instagram follows the theme of being passionate and excited about life with photos of funky office decorations and their employees at concerts and parties.
New week, new start. Our latest #WeWorkMIA neon sign says it all. #TGIM | Regram via @stopwest A photo posted by WeWork (@wework) on
A little reminder today from @riamichelle why Monday is the best day of the week. #TGIM A photo posted by WeWork (@wework) on
2. Employee Engagement
Employees are a company’s greatest assets, so appreciate the hard work they put into making your company better and stronger, and show them off on Instagram. IBM hits top of the lists for B2B Instagram accounts with an engagement rate of 4.04% the secret to it’s success is its focus on employee engagement. In a recent interview, Katie Keating, the Social Content & Engagement Strategist at IBM revealed that “IBM is primarily experienced by the world at large through our employees, so it’s important to us that they’re engaged and feel empowered to share their experiences.”
IBMers at work on a social engagement project in our NYC offices. 📷: @ianvollmer #IBM A photo posted by IBM (@ibm) on
Jayakorn is interning this summer #InTheLab in #Tokyo 🇯🇵. He’s helping computers understand the real world in #3D–like his origami swan–to offer better navigation options for the visually impaired. He’s originally from Thailand, studying at Carnegie Mellon University and the Instituto Superior Téchnico in Portugal, and interning in Tokyo 🙌🏼 #IBMResearch #IBMAccess #a11y A photo posted by IBM (@ibm) on
Dare to create original ideas. #IBM A photo posted by IBM (@ibm) on
Let people know about the history of your company— Why it was created and where you are planning to go in the future. Share photos of company founders or from company archives and let your audience understand the purpose of your journey and the hardships you had to face throughout the process. It will add depth to your brand’s image and build an emotional connection with your customers.
To constantly stimulate interest, celebrate anniversaries, landmarks, awards/achievements, or anything you believe is important to your company. Zendesk, a software company that provides cloud-based customer service for businesses rocks it on Instagram by showcasing their critical milestones. Their CEO is a frequent cast in their photos, giving followers a sense of intimacy and builds genuine rapport.
Last Town Hall of the year, celebrating 2013 and #zenlove all around the globe A photo posted by Zendesk (@zendesk) on
#Zendesk Dublin launch – but first, let’s take a selfie! #fistpump A photo posted by Zendesk (@zendesk) on
4. Thought Leadership
After recognizing the foundation of your company — the history, culture, employees, you should also acknowledge the masterminds within your company. Share thought provoking quotes from your conferences or conduct series of short 15 second interviews of your employees or even yourself to arouse intellectual engagement on Instagram. For maximum engagement, you can also let your audience voice their questions and concerns on Instagram, which subsequently captivates a new form of customer service.
Oracle loves sharing insightful quotes, not only from the CEO but also senior executives in the company on its Instagram page, especially from Oracle Open World to draw extra attention to the event. Not surprisingly, Oracle also tops the charts in B2B Instagram marketing through its effective strategies.
Juan Loaiza on #Oracle’s flexibility across all layers. #data #oow15 A photo posted by Oracle Corp. (@oracle) on
Thomas Kurian: “70% of customers on #Oracle #Cloud have never purchased from us before.” #oow15 A photo posted by Oracle Corp. (@oracle) on
5. Product Demonstration
Yes, behind the scenes are important, but introducing your audience to the core of your company is equally essential. Post short clips of product launching teasers on Instagram to gain interest, or take creative, artistic shots of your products to allure a wider audience base.
CBRE is a commercial real estate company that is very creative in product promotion. It doesn’t bore its audience with leases, but instead shares photos of city skylines and architectural art, alternating between buildings under its own organization and others that are not. This way, the audience gains knowledge of CBRE’s products, but at the same time does not feel as if they are being forced to make purchases.
The supertall Taipei 101 in Taiwan. CBRE was appointed as consultant to assist in renewing the property’s @USGBC LEED® for Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance Platinum certification. Taipei 101 is also upgrading to the newest version of the world’s leading benchmark for high-performance green buildings, LEED v4. #CBRE #BuildOnAdvantage A photo posted by CBRE (@cbre) on
A view of the London skyline with 30 St Mary Axe in the foreground and The Shard in the background. 30 St Mary Axe (informally known as, ‘The Gherkin’) is 180 meters (590 ft) tall and located in London’s primary financial district. Photo credit: @morgansc0tt #CitiesWeLiveIn #CBRE #BuildOnAdvantage A photo posted by CBRE (@cbre) on
6. Share Company News
Who still eats breakfast with freshly delivered newspapers every morning? Probably very few still practice the tradition. Press releases are still effective but social media marketing will help you spread the word more extensively and efficiently. Rather than long boring news stories, the general public will be more attracted to powerful visuals. So whether your company has just undergone a renovation or landed an exciting partnership, share a photo or create a graphic to announce the news.
Maersk Line is also keeping up with the new trend. Instead of staying with traditional press conferences, it has just announced its new services on Instagram.
7. Promote your events
Don’t feel limited to share only one picture before your event for promotion. You can also share photos of the process that goes along planning the events and setting up the venue, during the event, and post event to thank everyone’s participation and dropping hints at the next event.
Everyone loves having fun, so be sure to share cool places to go to surrounding the venue — closest coffee shop, most popular restaurants, hipster shops. Bloopers during rehearsal is also a great way to juxtapose your serious business events with light hearted laughs. During one of their workshops at LinkedIn’s New York headquarters, Hootsuite posted a photo of the packed room of attendees while tagging LinkedIn and SMA to appreciate their hosts.
#Tbt to our first Breakfast Club event held in Germany last week. Social media served hot with a fresh cup of #coffee in Munich. ☕️ A photo posted by Hootsuite (@hootsuite) on
Today at @VanStartupWeek we heard from Canada’s biggest startup stories and from the young Vancouver tech leaders who will be behind the biggest stories for years to come. Fireside chat moderated by Hootsuite’s VP Corporate Development @MattSwitzer and Dr. Alexandra Greenhill, CEO of @Mybesthelper. A photo posted by Hootsuite (@hootsuite) on
Marketo Summit 2013, with HootSuite CEO Ryan Holmes’ keynote. #Hootpic of the Day by @ashjbee. Want your image featured? #HootPic or #HootSuite A photo posted by Hootsuite (@hootsuite) on
Hashtag! Hashtag! Hashtag! To tie in with event marketing, you should create one unified hashtag for your event across all your social channels to engage conversation and also to connect with attendees. But even if you’re not hosting an event, hashtags are still very effective in promoting your brand as it allows you to be easily searchable to potential customers who are interested in your company values or products. However, never overdo the hashtags.
One or two is fine, but if you go beyond five, it is a nuisance to everyone’s eyes and you will come across as trying too hard. Keep it simple! Not only does Intel use its hashtags in these posts, it also watermarks some of its photos with the hashtags, and even in its short description. #expertmode
We love seeing Intel Blue represented in #ExpertMode every once in a while, and modder Derick Magnusen delivered big time with this gorgeous custom rig, aptly named Big Blue. CPU: Intel Core i7-6700K Memory: Corsair 4 x 4GB DDR4 DIMMs Drive: Intel SSD 750 Series Motherboard: Intel Z170 Chipset Chassis: Lian Li PC-08 Graphics: 2x Nvidia GTX 980 Ti SLI A photo posted by @intel on
Don’t let the flames fool you — that’s actually an HD monitor. This deceptively charming computer was designed by Bob Stewart (bsmods.com). Part list: CPU: E5300 Motherboard: Intel DG41TY RAM: 8 gig Patriot Graphics : Palit 8800 GT Case: Electric Wood Stove Storage: WD Blue 320GB #ExpertMode #Gaming #Gamers #CustomPC A photo posted by @intel on
Marc Molella calls this rig Revolution, inspired by its hypnotically swirling liquid cooling system. Check out more of Molella’s work at precisioncomputing.net. Part list: CPU: Intel Core i7-5820K Motherboard: Gigabyte X99-SOC Champion RAM: G.Skill 16GB DDR4 3000MHZ Ripjaws Graphics: MSI GTX970 Gaming 4G Cooling: Thermaltake 16MM PETG Rigid Tubing, Thermaltake Pacific W2 CPU Block, Thermaltake Pacific PR22-D5 Pump/Res Combo, HardWare Labs GTX 360 Radiator, Bitspower GTX970 water block, 7 – Thermaltake Riing Fans #ExpertMode #Gaming #Gamers #CustomPC A photo posted by @intel on
The goal of this purple-powered #build by Rob Wolff (@steam_games id: TheDeathChef) was to include big performance inside the #minimalist NCASE M1 Silver Tower – so of course he used an Intel Core i7 processor. The super-dense setup fits easily into a small bag for #LANparties. Got your own eye-popping gaming PC you’d like to share with our audience? Submit it using #ExpertMode. #Gaming #Gamers #CustomPC #Mods A photo posted by @intel on
If one day, you are stuck and don’t know what to post anymore, try regramming photos that your customers have taken of your company or its products and services. Not only is it a way to generate new content, but it also allows you to actively engage with the community.
Fedex is one of the leading B2B Instagram accounts and engages with the audience through many of the previous suggestions. It also regrams photos shared by its customers thanking them for their inspirational messages and also reaching out for deeper connections by asking its own followers to share their stories.
A photo posted by FedEx (@fedex) on
Tricks > Treats #trickortreat (photo: @kathwalker) A photo posted by FedEx (@fedex) on
A photo posted by FedEx (@fedex) on
10. Showcase Creativity!
Be creative in managing your company’s Instagram account. You can even host contests for your audience such as snap a selfie with this hashtag and enter to win a special prize. Instagram is an app that people use during their leisure time, so don’t approach it as a traditional marketing tool. Have fun with your brand’s Instagram account and make the photos as exciting and fun as possible.
by @boeingjetjockey #boeing #boeing767 #b767 #767 #cockpit #flightdeck #boeinglovers A photo posted by BOEINGLOVERS INSTAGRAM® (@boeinglovers) on
Happy Friday faces at Buffer today 😀😍😂😆😊😎 A photo posted by Buffer (@buffer) on
Don’t hit the beach without it. A photo posted by American Express (@americanexpress) on
There are endless possibilities to engage with your audience and promote your products and services through B2B marketing on Instagram.
“The only limit to your impact is your imagination” – Tony Robbins
Keyhole is a real-time conversation tracker that provides keyword and hashtag analytics for Twitter and Instagram. Get started for free and search your brand.