Explore Instagram's usefulness to B2B marketers as part of their engagement process.
So you're in the cloud. Your marketing is automated, your campaigns coordinated, your customer information connected. You feel your metrics are meaningful and the insights they deliver are solid.
So what happens when you throw Instagram into the mix?
After all, the photo-sharing app isn't an obvious choice for B2B marketers. Youthful demographics and the cool factor may be useful for celebrities, but many senior marketers like you would give it a miss. (Most aren't convinced even of its parent Facebook's value to serious businesses.)
But that's no reason for you to be just a face in the crowd. The doubts start to disappear when you start thinking of these services not as fun mobile apps... but as part of today's media ecosystem.
SAY CHEESE! ALL ABOUT INSTAGRAM
Instagram, launched in 2010, lets users share photos from their mobile device across various social networks. With a "retro"-style form factor for photographs and the ability to add "filters" to customise an image, It attracts a youthful demographic, with 90% of its 150m reported users under 35. The application was bought by Facebook for around US$1bn in 2012.
Social media isn't about apps, but channels. Instagram (and the communities of interest within it) are media choices, no different in principle to a TV station or newspaper. They've got a target audience and geographical coverage. And their own strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for your marketing plan.
And that's the key. If you know those SWOTs, you can evaluate Instagram's usefulness to your business, just as you would any other media channel.
And if it works, why not use it?
That's why Instagram shouldn't stand apart from the rest of your marketing, however B2B your focus. It belongs in your marketing cloud, because when it's connected to your broader dataset you can measure it, manage it, and make it perform better.
And the benefits of adding Instagram to your marketing cloud (yes, it can be done with surprising ease) aren't just limited to businesses with photogenic subject matter. You don't have to be National Geographic to attract an audience with compelling visuals... as long as those visuals tell an engaging story.
To finish with, here are a few ideas.
1. Look for the hooks!
There might not seem to be many options for creative photography at the average customer engagement event. But think again. If you're running a marketing event in London, why not stir in some scene-setting cityscapes among your delegate sessions? They'll add colour and anchor your event more firmly in your audience's mind.
2. Don't forget the video
Instagram is famous for static images, but it handles video too. Could your marketing messages from other channels - YouTube, slide presentations, your website - adapt to an ultra-short animated format? With a 15-second limit, Instagram video shares a benefit with teenage hit Vine: your audience already knows you won't take up too much of their time.
3. Connect the other channels
Instagram makes it easy to share your pictures and videos across other channels in your marketing cloud. (Although some people who should know better think it can't.) In practical terms, it means you can leverage one asset (the photograph) across a broader audience. After all, some of your customers will be on Twitter, some on Facebook or Google Photos, some on SnapChat. (All right, perhaps not SnapChat). But wherever they are, if you can reach them all with the same piece of visual storytelling, you're strengthening your brand.
4. Open it up to customers
All businesses have their advocates - people who are genuine fans of your services, and cheerlead you to their friends and colleagues. These people are pure gold for marketers in today's social age - and Instagram can help you engage with them more deeply. Why not provide a 'fan slot' in your marketing plan, where your best customers can upload their own experiences in pictures? Such slices-of-life have both story and testimonial appeal.
Those are just four. As you see, there are ways for a serious business to get serious about Instagram without ... seeming too serious. Simply treat the hot app of the moment as a media channel like any other.
- Instagram can now integrate with your marketing cloud
- Instagram isn't just for B2C; B2B marketers can use it too
- Storytelling and visual soundbites can bolster your brand
- Social shareability turns customers into brand advocates
Want to know more about how mobile marketing apps like Instagram can be integrated into your marketing strategy download the eGuide: Mobile Marketing Essentials Guide to Mobile Marketing