Instagram has a billion monthly active users. That’s massive.
But what’s more impressive is that the platform is increasing by 5 percent per quarter.
How does that growth rate compare to other popular platforms like Snapchat and Facebook? Snapchat grew by 2.13 percent and Facebook by 3.14 percent in the same period.
Unfortunately, despite the encouraging statistics, B2B marketers aren’t as excited about this marketing channel as they should be—at least most of them aren’t.
Whenever I propose Instagram marketing to my clients or fellow marketing colleagues, their first response is often:
That’s a great idea, Ross, but we aren’t B2C. What can we possibly share with our followers?
Over time, I have understood that the real challenge holding them back is a lack of knowledge about the kind of content they can share on Instagram. Creating content for the B2B audience is tricky, I get that. But it shouldn’t be the thing that slows you down or keeps you from experimenting with a new and exciting platform like Instagram.
So… Before I share some of the BEST examples of B2B brands using Instagram. I have to share with you some of the best tips for growing your account:
If you are a B2B marketer itching to test Instagram to spread awareness about your brand, engage with your audience or attract new leads, this post is for you. I’m going to share a lot of actionable ideas that you can try right away—and the best part is they’re simple to execute.
Let’s get started, shall we?
Instagram is a great channel for showing off new products, features, and updates to your customers.
See how Autopilot has used Instagram to tell customers about its revamped website.
Showcasing your product or service on Instagram can also boost awareness of your brand, leading to long-term organic growth. In fact, by incorporating branded hashtags, B2B businesses can significantly improve the way people discover their products and services.
By throwing in a bit of creativity, you can stand out in the marketplace and stay alive in the minds of your prospects as well as your customers.
Mailchimp, a marketing platform for small businesses, does this brilliantly by featuring its mascot (“Freddie”) in product announcements on Instagram, as well as in Instagram images and videos during events and holidays.
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Your customers love your product, but they are always curious to see the people who bring it to life. By showing off your team, you are encouraging people to connect with your brand beyond the product. A happy team picture reveals the softer, human side of your brand.
Gartner, a global research and advisory firm, is a great example to learn from.
How else can you implement this tactic on Instagram? Google has done it by dedicating an Instagram handle to showing off its employees and their life at Google.
Content distribution is a big challenge for B2B brands across the spectrum. Companies that are heavily invested in content marketing can use Instagram to distribute valuable content such as blogs, ebooks, and white papers.
Here’s an example from InVision, a digital product design platform:
B2B companies are leveraging the power of the podcast to attract their customers. But promoting a podcast is not an easy feat. To be successful, companies need to go the extra mile to upsell it. Instagram is a lucrative platform to cross-promote your podcast.
You can promote the podcast with a typical post and a link in your bio, or create a short clip and share it via Stories. Drift sure knows how to put this tactic in action:
Sharing blog posts as images on Instagram is a great way to repurpose content and expose a whole new set of customers to your brand and offerings. Distill the main points of a blog post into a series of images, as Zendesk did here:
Instagram posts needn’t always be pictures—the platform can be used to share information in all kinds of visual formats. Meaningful quotes from your founder, CFO, CMO or a well-known team member can gain a lot of traction. Here’s how Spredfast used this tactic in one of its posts:
Whether it’s an instructional video that shows your followers how to accomplish something or a static image breaking down a new theory, don’t be afraid to embrace educational content on Instagram—the right kind of content can drastically improve your product positioning and provide value your audience will appreciate.
B2B companies are expected to continually share insightful information with their audience. Instagram may not be the right platform for an intricate research report, but it’s perfect for sharing compact, digestible data like industry stats.
Giving customers a peek into your office space is a great way to feed their curiosity. Remember idea No. 2? Like sharing photos of your team, this tactic allows you to show your brand’s human side (especially if you ensure that your team is in the photo too). You can also use images of your office and office culture to attract great talent.
Social proof is a crucial factor in closing B2B deals.
Clients today wade deep into research, reviews, and testimonials before they decide to do business with a B2B company. By highlighting your clients and existing partnerships on Instagram, you are showing prospects that they’ll be in good company if they decide to do business with you.
The ability to upload videos, share stories and publish on IGTV has opened the door for B2B brands to experiment and push video-based content through Instagram. A mini-webinar run via Stories or IGTV can help your brand connect with a new audience.
People want to know that you’re shipping new things and shaking up the industry. In fact, people follow accounts like Interesting Engineering because they want to see innovative and interesting ideas. As you think about your Instagram content, consider your company’s recent innovations, and those still ahead on your roadmap. Capture them. Share them. Celebrate them.
Here’s an excellent example of this tactic in play by General Electric:
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The world’s largest jet engine just took its first-ever flight. With a fan diameter over 11 feet tall, the GE9X is 100,000 pounds of thrust, ready for takeoff. GE engineers designed the 9X with the most advanced technologies and materials, reducing the engine’s weight while improving fuel efficiency. Swipe through for a behind-the-scenes look at the GE9X in action for the first time, and head to the link in our bio for the full story. #GE9X #MojaveDesert #aviation #aviationlovers #engineeringmarvel #innovationthatexcites
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Old photos and footage from the archives will give your customers a sense of how long you’ve been in business (and maybe a laugh too). Thursday is a particularly good day for posts like these; use the popular hashtag #ThrowbackThursday to share old screenshots of your product or old photos of your office. Needless to say, people love doing business with companies that clearly have a long history.
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Conferences can help you make new connections. Unfortunately, not everyone can attend conferences. That’s where Instagram can play a huge rule in helping you build relationships and connect with people from coast to coast. Clips and images from conferences will help you reach a new audience, drive brand awareness and boost customer loyalty.
Look at this example from HubSpot:
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From Halligan’s Law to Growing Better and the Customer Code, this year’s #INBOUND18 from @brian_halligan and Dharmesh Shah was their best yet. See the full Keynotes at our link in bio . . . . . . #ourflywheel #growbetter #customercode #inboundmarketing #live #inbound #boston #hubspot #marketing #sales #customerservice
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Does your audience prefer coffee or tea? Mac or PC? Biggie or Tupac? iOS or Android? All these simple questions can result in massive engagement with your audience. Hosting friendly debates is a great way to stir up a dialog and promote a positive connection with your brand.
Brands can use Instagram Stories to run polls and share the results.
Reaching out to your clients and getting their thoughts is a powerful technique—and Instagram’s fun and active platform allows you to do it in a way that’s less formal and more intimate.
Everyone loves a good story, and sharing good stories on Instagram is bound to draw a crowd. Sprout Social, a social media tool for B2B customers, has been using the hashtag #NoTwoDays to share a day in the life of various marketing professionals. The hashtag comes from “no two days are alike,” a popular response when marketers are asked to describe what they do every day. By creatively co-opting this phrase, the team has been able to successfully engage their audience—marketers who use their tool.
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From face to face #TeamSprout trainings to being the voices that power #SproutWebinar and our Helpdesk – #NoTwoDays in Product Education are ever the same. Meet Keenan, Amanda, and Mazi, the team responsible for expanding learning to every corner of our #HomeSproutHome and beyond.
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Whether it’s a cause they are supporting or a new feature they’re launching, reposting content from your partners helps strengthen those relationships. This kind of content is perfect for Instagram Stories—in 24 hours the post will disappear but the interaction will have a lasting impact.
Following a popular hashtag and creating on-theme content is a good way to break the monotony of self-promotional posts. For example, use the hashtag #MotivationMonday to share inspirational content and promote positive vibes among your followers without explicitly promoting your brand.
There are 15 million business accounts on Instagram.
Yup—that’s a lot.
But here’s the thing: Most of them share the same type of content as everyone else—very rarely do you see content feeds as diverse as the list above. You’re now 19 post ideas ahead of the game. Pick even a few of these ideas and you’ll easily differentiate yourself from the industry.
Most marketers will scan this list, feel inspired, close the tab and never think about these ideas again. You don’t have to be that person. You can take your content marketing efforts to the next level as soon as you close this tab and start planning your content for the month.
It’s all on you. And I’m confident that with this list, you’ll be able to drive meaningful and measurable results through your Instagram account. I’m also leaving you with an all encompassing guide that will help you grow your Instagram to up to 10,000 followers in two weeks.
Go get ’em.
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