24 May 5 Steps to Using Instagram for B2B Marketing
Instagram is growing and shows no sign of slowing down. There are currently over 700 million users, a user base more than double that of just two years ago. As an increasingly popular social medium, and one that yield engagement rates 60 times higher than Facebook and 120 times higher than Twitter, Instagram is attractive for all kinds of advertisers but using Instagram for B2B marketing can be tricky.. If you’re a B2B brand, you might be wondering: could Instagram be your next big customer acquisition channel? Maybe, but only if you approach it in the right manner. Instead of jumping on the bandwagon, it makes more sense to take a strategic approach.
1. UNDERSTAND INSTAGRAM’S DEMOGRAPHICS
Irrespective of its staggering growth rate, Instagram is an effective social media platform only if its demographics match that of your customer. Instagram is extremely popular among 18 to 29-year-olds, with 59% using the platform according to Pew Research Center. Instagram reveals that 80% of its user base exists outside the U.S, with half of the last 100 million users coming from Europe and Asia. If this group makes up a small percentage of your total customers, there is still a silver lining. Your audience may be small, but it will be highly engaged. Trackmaven found that Instagram provides 20 times more engagement than LinkedIn, the standard B2B social media platform.
2. DETERMINE YOUR B2B BRAND KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS
Establishing a key performance indicator (KPI) verifies your level of success when using Instagram for B2B marketing. A KPI brings objectivity to your efforts and helps ascertain the effectiveness of your endeavours. Examples of KPIs include number of followers, engagement rate, and traffic to your website. Which KPIs you choose will be a function of your marketing objective. B2B marketing efforts are typically focused on generating quality leads and getting sales. It is imperative that your Instagram audience finds their way to your website landing page, since sales within the app are only possible through paid advertising. If this is the goal, there are some characteristics of Instagram of which you should be aware.
3. WORK WITHIN THE LIMITATIONS OF INSTAGRAM
Instagram is a platform made for socializing through the sharing of pictures. It wasn’t made specifically for B2B brand marketers. Except for paid advertising, images that are shared don’t contain links. The only way for an Instagram user to get to your site is via a link in your bio. Consequently, your profile should be treated as more of a mini landing page, with a strong call-to-action. Some posts should encourage your audience to click on that link in your profile, to help drive traffic back to your site. Paid advertising is another option worth considering, as a call-to-action is allowed within the ad.
4. EXTEND YOUR CONTENT MARKETING EFFORTS
Instagram is a unique social media channel with its own customs and conventions. As such, your content marketing efforts must extend to incorporate the individuality of this platform. Images rule when it comes to Instagram, and this can pose a challenge for many B2B marketers. Here are a few ideas to help keep your stream interesting:
- Use video. If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is a video worth? Instagram allows videos up to 1 minute in length to be posted to your profile, so you can even demo your product or service. Additionally, like Facebook, Instagram offers live video capabilities. Unlike Facebook, however, there is no way to access a live video that has already stopped streaming. To make effective use of a live video, you have to capture your audience quickly, and hope that your followers are responsive to the notification they receive when you go live. Alternatively, you can repurpose your YouTube channel content by providing small snippets on Instagram.
- Provide a behind-the-scenes view. Instagram stories are a great way to reward your followers with extra content highlighted at the top of their feeds. Stories can be viewed an unlimited number of times within their 24-hour life, and can consist of pictures, videos, and boomerangs. If you do not want to permanently clutter your profile with the less glamorous side of your company, stories are a great way to showcase that side in a controlled manner.
- Highlight company culture. Some B2B brand marketers just post images of their employee’s activities. It’s a great way to boost engagement and provide a personal touch. Instagram’s new gallery feature makes it possible to share up to 10 pictures or videos in the same post. The gallery provides an excellent opportunity to feature something you wouldn’t normally post while still being able to fully represent the message you want to promote.
- Think outside the box. Don’t just talk about your company. Instead, relate your business’s activities to the world as a whole or other interests you think your audience may possess. Use relevant hashtags and see if you can get involved in the conversation. It’s a great way to get discovered by people that weren’t looking for your company in the first place.
5. ALWAYS BE TESTING
Eventually, all good thing comes to an end. Uber’s Andrew Chen call this the “law of shitty clickthroughs.” So continually test and refine your marketing approach. Follow other Instagram accounts in your field to keep an eye on the competition, but don’t rely solely on their actions. Instagram has plans to add more data analytics to their advertising platform. Use this data to supplement your own findings to guide your decisions in determining what works best for your situation.
Depending on your market, Instagram can be an effective customer acquisition channel for a B2B brand when approached in the right manner. Start small, track your efforts, analyze your data and refine as you go.