For too long, marketers have thought of Instagram as strictly B2C turf. It’s time to put this misconception to rest.
The truth is, Instagram is a B2B goldmine. It can help distinguish your brand, build your audience and promote customer loyalty. In short, B2B brands need to be there.
If you’re still not sure about Instagram for B2B, get ready for a perspective shift. Keep reading for all the proof, strategies and tools you’ll need to get on board.
Why should B2B brands be on Instagram?
Most marketers want to see data before making strategy adjustments. Luckily, there’s tons of research that supports the power of B2B Instagram marketing. Here are three quantifiable reasons to bring your brand to Instagram:
It’s where your customers are
Consumer social media usage is through the roof. More than two-thirds of consumers across generations (71%) find themselves using social more than ever before.
All this time spent on social isn’t exclusively for connecting with friends and influencers. People use social to connect with brands as well. In fact, more than 50% of consumers follow brands on Instagram, making it the second most popular network used to follow businesses.
Whether you’re working with a single buyer or a team of 10, you’re likely talking to an active Instagram user. A strong network presence can secure your spot at the top of their mind from the awareness stage all the way to contract signing.
Visual content supports every stage of the buying process
Marketers rank video and images as the top two most valuable content formats for achieving their goals. Short, digestible content is the secret to expressing your value propositions in a way that sticks.
You might see this and think that it’s skewed toward B2C brands. After all, they have more flexibility with product demonstrations and user-generated content. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
A recent Forrester study found that short-form video plays a major role in the B2B buying process. It can even help brands land a spot on a coveted vendor shortlist. Between video posts, Reels and live-streaming, Instagram can support every stage of a B2B buyer’s journey.
Instagram ads are brand awareness game changers
Instagram ad campaigns generate recall that’s twice as high as Nielsen standards for online advertising. A consistent Instagram ad strategy can make sure prospects remember your brand when it counts.
4 B2B Instagram marketing examples we love
Now that you know why your brand should be on Instagram, let’s get into the how. There are tons of creative B2B marketers that you can turn to for inspiration as you build your strategy. If you’re not sure who to turn to, check out these four brands that have mastered the art of Instagram for B2B:
Conversational marketing platform Drift produces five different podcasts that cover everything from the art of business conversations to operational excellence. With each one publishing new episodes multiple times per month, they are constantly churning out high-quality content.
Thankfully, they’ve figured out how to repurpose that content so it lives beyond its original medium. The Drift social team cuts podcast recordings to use as clips for Instagram feed posts. This allows them to promote their shows across a new platform while creating a near-endless well of Instagram content.
The takeaway: Between sell sheets, case studies, white papers and other marketing endeavors, B2B brands have an abundance of content to work with. Understanding how to use that content to support an Instagram strategy can help brands scale their presence on the network without much strain on capacity.
Email marketing platform Litmus uses Instagram to share their expertise. When dealing with complex topics like email deliverability and performance insights, that’s easier said than done. Still, their team pulls it off using Instagram carousels.
This specific post packs a ton of value into a 1:1 square. In just nine tiles, they share 18 tips on subject line composition. They’re even able to include advice from team members and subject matter experts. All this information helps position their brand as an leader in the space while providing followers and potential buyers with high-quality information.
The takeaway: According to socialinsider.io, carousel posts drive a higher engagement rate than standard posts. This is a huge win for B2B marketers, who can use the extra space to break down complex topics without sacrificing quality.
If anyone knows anything about conversions, it’s the Unbounce team. When it comes to driving traffic conversions on Instagram, the landing page solutions provider relies on Instagram Stories Highlights.
Unbound publishes Highlights that cover a range of topics, including new product information, employer brand stances and content promotions. Because Highlights can be rearranged, removed and added at any time, they’re able to constantly revamp their profile to stay timely.
The takeaway: Instagram Stories are packed with additional engagement functionality like polls, links, quizzes and more. With Stories Highlights, B2B brands can take those engagement plays beyond their 24-hour limit, getting the maximum use out of their creative efforts.
4. Chili Piper
Chili Piper helps sales teams streamline their workday with solutions that automate appointment scheduling. Their product speaks to the needs of sales professionals and their Instagram content does, too.
If you look at the Chili Piper Instagram feed, you’ll see posts about mental help, remote work and productivity. While these topics may not have anything to do with sales software, they do speak directly to the interests of their end users.
The takeaway: B2B Instagram marketing isn’t all about driving immediate sales. It’s about building relationships with potential buyers. To prove your account is worth a follow, share content that taps into buyer pain points and goals.
6 tips on using Instagram for B2B marketing
You’re almost ready to go forth and craft your strategy, but there are still a few things to learn. Here are the Instagram B2B marketing tips you need to know before you schedule your new content:
1. Clarify your goals and audiences
Notice how both are plural. You can use Instagram to support several B2B marketing goals beyond awareness. For example, you could try to connect with potential hires by using the network as an employer brand tool. Or, you could be conversion-driven and experiment with methods of driving more site traffic.
Regardless of how you plan on using the network, you need to know who and what you’re aiming for to succeed. With this defined, you can work on nailing the right content mix to support your goals.
2. Create a link in bio
Instagram Business profiles can include links in Stories but they’re still not allowed in post captions. To get around this, you’ll need a link solution. Many brands rely on link in bio tools to create webpages that mimic Instagram feeds so people can access links that correspond with specific posts. This is critical for driving traffic conversions on the network.
Sprout users looking to consolidate all their metrics in a single platform can use our link in bio offering, SproutLink. Once it’s set up, marketers can access pageview information from within the Sprout platform for quick and easy reporting.
3. Dust off your most recent content audit
Rolling out your B2B Instagram marketing strategy is an opportunity to look at your content with fresh eyes. As you look through your marketing content library, imagine how existing assets might support the creation of new Instagram content. Here are some ideas to get your mind moving in the right direction:
- Sell sheets can be used to create educational Instagram Stories that share the value of your product.
- Blogs and white papers can be recycled into carousel posts for maximum engagement.
- Case studies make for excellent testimonial graphics.
- Owned research can support the creation of countless infographics.
4. Outline a paid strategy
You need to experiment with paid marketing to get the most out of Instagram. According to the 2021 Demand Gen Report, 32% of B2B buyers notice ads and are positively influenced by them. Understanding and outlining the role paid will play in your Instagram strategy early on can help you scale your presence on the network faster.
As you build on your organic strategy, keep an eye on post-level performance data to see what’s driving the highest impressions and engagement. You’ll want to start with those posts when it comes time to put funds behind your performance.
5. Get up to date on timely trends
Memes thrive on Instagram, especially topical ones. Cultural moments can inspire an abundance of timely content before the moment has even passed—and for good reason. Those moments generate engagement.
Although these moments can present opportunities for fun and levity, they can also present risks. Before you jump into the day’s hottest trend, be sure to use a sentiment analysis tool to understand how people are really feeling about the topic.
6. Test and learn
The only constant in social media is change. There will always be new features, tools and algorithm adjustments, so your strategy is never totally done. To stay ahead, you need to embrace creative testing.
Routine A/B tests can help you identify what your audience craves from your brand. Dedicate time to testing out new creative, copy and hashtags to see what is making the biggest difference in your performance. Soon, you’ll be able to use your Instagram analytics to become the next standout B2B brand on Instagram.
Instagram is the place to B2B
Puns aside, you need to be using Instagram for B2B marketing. Instagram’s diverse content formats support discovery and delight across the buyer’s journey, increasing your brand’s favorability and stickiness.
Now that you know the why and how of B2B Instagram marketing, you’re more than ready to create a strategy that supports shared marketing goals. If you need some extra help along the way, lean on this B2B content plan worksheet. It will help you plan and create engaging content that drives prospects through your marketing funnel all the way to a signed contract.