This is a guest post from Hugh Beaulac at MC2 Bid4Papers.
With the oversaturated B2B marketplace, it's no wonder that marketers are looking for new marketing channels for B2B promotion that help to stand out from the crowd and reach out to the right audience.
Today, 3.8 billion social media users research products on platforms and 82% of B2B buyers want the same experience as when they’re buying for themselves. For B2B companies, social media platforms have become an opportunity to promote their products and services, interact with potential customers, and bring their business to the next level.
What is more, the days when LinkedIn and Facebook were top options for B2B companies are long gone. The latest Social Media Marketing Industry Report claims that B2B marketers have increased their use of Instagram and 71% of B2B companies have an Instagram presence.
Why Promote Your B2B Company on Instagram?
At first blush, Instagram isn't the best social media platform for B2B promotion: it's focused on visual content, and B2B companies have difficulty in creating visual content.
However, here are the top three reasons to give it a try and promote your B2B company on Instagram:
- Instagram is one of the most effective platforms for business promotion: The platform has over 1 billion active users and 90% of them follow at least one business page in-app. It's one of the fastest-growing social media platforms with the most engaged user base, which makes it the best fit for business promotion.
- B2B buyers are active users on Instagram: Most B2B buyers are aged between 25 and 44 years. According to Statista, 49% of Instagram users represent the same age group which means your potential customers are active on Instagram.
- Instagram has business-specific features to promote your B2B product: With 25 million businesses on the platform, Instagram has various features to help companies promote their businesses in-app—clickable links, product tags, and Instagram live to name a few.
In other words, Instagram has great potential for B2B companies. Now that you know Instagram is one of the most effective digital marketing strategies, let's draw inspiration from other B2B companies to boost creativity.
Here are 8 best practices of using Instagram for B2B promotion:
#1 Create a Strong Brand Image on Instagram
Great visual content matters as 65% of people are visual learners. So it's no wonder that people pay close attention to images on Instagram when learning about new products or services.
For B2B companies, creating a strong brand image on Instagram is a must. Not only does it help to grab your audience's attention, but it also helps to stand out among other brands.
A brand image includes visual content, branding, brand hashtags, and much more. But having a consistent creative style is the most important element of a visual brand image on Instagram. Check out this example from Talitha Vrugt, an agency that provides design services to other companies:
Whether or not you have pro-level experience in design, it’s easy to apply a distinctive style to your images if you use Artleap by Lightricks, as Talitha Vrugt's profile demonstrates. Using the app’s variety of art effects (including dispersion, glitter and double exposure), everyone can bring ideas to life, so it can be a great solution for generally dry and text-heavy B2B companies that want to add to their visual appeal.
#2 Put a Human Face on Your Brand
B2B buyers value authenticity. When it comes to the B2B buying process, people choose brands they trust, so it's important to put a human face on your brand. And Instagram is just the right platform for your B2B company to show off its authenticity.
Here are several ways to humanize your B2B Instagram profile:
- show your employees
- feature interviews with CEO
- tell about the company's culture
- describe your typical workday with videos
- go live
To bring your business to the next level and turn your employees into brand advocates, it's a good idea to design your own merch and give away branded items like T-shirts or mugs. Since it creates a sense of belonging and your employees are likely to publish photos of these items on their social media profiles, it helps to spread the word about your brand and stay authentic.
After all, B2B prospects also expect personalization, so humanizing your brand on Instagram is one of the most effective ways to provide personalized B2B marketing, stand out from your competitors, and engage followers.
#3 Show Your Niche Expertise
Modern customers always choose brands that know their problems from A to Z and can provide them with actionable solutions. This means B2B consumers pay attention to companies with strong expertise in their niche.
Since most customers use Instagram during the discovery phase, it can be a perfect place to show your niche expertise. Here are several Instagram post ideas to show your niche expertise on the platform:
- educational ebooks (use FlippingBook to create ebooks with ease)
- annual niche reports
- niche expert live sessions
- tutorial IGTV videos
- expert quotes
But one of the easiest ways to show your niche expertise is to repurpose blog content for social media posts, just like in the example below:
But if you want to bring your business to the next level, it's a good idea to make your own website where you can post all reports and educational blog posts so that your customers can access such content at their own convenience. It makes the process easier for customers as well as helps to drive more website traffic and keep your Instagram feed cohesive.
#4 Lay a Bet on Influencer Endorsements
The popularity of influencer marketing is growing. Since modern customers trust influencer endorsements as much as their real-world friends, companies tell their brand stories through influencers.
However, only 11% of B2B marketers run influencer marketing campaigns. To stay ahead of your competitors and reach a wider audience, lay a bet on influencer endorsements. Here's how one company uses the power of influencer endorsements:
To provide customers with social proof, Relevant Software reaches out to happy customers with a solid following on social media who can share their customer experience with others and therefore promote the company in an authentic way. It sets an example for other customers to share their thoughts on the company and get more testimonials. Win-win!
#5 Explain How to Use Your Product
From a B2B point of view, the buying process is not linear. Since many people are involved in the process, it takes time and effort to get approval and make the purchase decision. However, all B2B buyers always pay attention to companies that can solve their problems. As a result, it's important to explain how to use your product and therefore encourage potential customers to give it a try.
With the popularity of video content, when 72% of customers watch videos to learn about products or services, it's a good idea to create Instagram videos that tell more about your products. Product demos, product reviews, and how-to tutorials are several post ideas that explain how to use your product in a dynamic and interesting way.
#6 Make the Most out of Instagram Stories
People’s attention span has dropped to 8 seconds, so naturally short-lived content like Instagram Stories is growing in popularity among users. In fact, 500 million accounts use Instagram Stories daily.
At first glance, it seems that creating content that vanishes in 24 hours can be a waste of time for B2B companies that have difficulty in producing content. However, Instagram Story Highlights offer a solution for companies that want to use Instagram Stories and make them live permanently on your profile.
Check out how Hubspot uses this feature:
Story Highlights appear below the bio section, so it's easy for visitors and followers to find relevant content. Moreover, you can create various albums and group relevant Stories so that people can find what interests them at the moment.
Here are several ideas on Instagram Story Highlight albums for B2B companies:
- behind the scenes content
- product announcements and the variety of products
- niche tips from experts
- customer reviews on social media
#7 Share Exclusive Discounts and Coupons
Practically every customer aims at finding great deals. It's psychologically proven that customers love discounts, and offering them an exclusive deal is one of the best ways to increase conversions.
The B2B buying process is difficult, but sharing a discount or a coupon can encourage potential customers to make the purchase decision faster. What’s more, these offers are not limited to percentage discounts: you can also offer free demos or trials which can help potential customers test out your products and make the final purchase decision.
#8 Run Instagram Lead Ad Campaigns
Using Instagram for B2B promotion, you can interact with people who don't follow your business profile. It's a smart idea to run Instagram lead ad campaigns that help to cut through the noise and find potential customers outside of your following.
Instagram advertising offers advanced options for advertisers who want to reach the right audience and turn viewers into customers. As a B2B marketer, you know that the buying process is difficult, so it can be a great idea to gain more leads with ads like in the example below:
The popularity of Instagram marketing has impacted many businesses. Although Instagram isn't the most obvious marketing channel for B2B companies, it has great potential for B2B businesses that want to promote their products, find B2B buyers, and stand out.
With the above-mentioned best practices, you can develop the right Instagram marketing strategy that brings results to your B2B company. So don't waste your time and jump on the bandwagon!
Hugh Beaulac is a content strategist at MC2 Bid4Papers who also helps SMBs promote their products and services on social media. With love for digital marketing and writing, Hugh is a guest contributor whose works have been featured on Hubspot, SmartInsights, WordStream, and more.