With thousands of social networks available to marketers, the usual suspects: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn get mentioned first for B2B social media marketing. Instagram doesn't always get mentioned in the same breath for B2B companies. And, Instagram is not always thought of as a place where B2C companies should focus their marketing efforts. But, since Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012, it's popularity has grown exponentially.
Right off the bat, let's also make it clear that B2B social media marketing on Instagram is not for every business. To participate well you must have visual content to share on a regular and consistent basis. And you should consider sharing these visuals in a "light", "entertaining" way. It's the rare B2B company that routinely injects a sense of entertainment into its marketing efforts.
This has to change. Today's consumer has higher expectations of today's business owners. Consumers want more information and personalization from businesses they buy from. This is true in the B2B context too.
With so much competition out there, a lot of buyers are overwhelmed with where to go to find the best deals and the best information on a product or service they are interested in purchasing. They're more apt to connect with a B2B company that has a real personality, and not one still using old fashioned marketing tactics.
With 300 million monthly active users and 70 million photos shared daily, Instagram is one of the best places to demonstrate your company's personality. It's a place where you can nurture storytelling, create compelling visuals and hone your branding, all at the same time. While it's just a lead-in to more extensive information about your products or services, Instagram reinvents the B2B marketing paradigm of using copious words to showcase product specs.
Take a look at how minimalism in Instagram marketing helps bring a new look to your B2B company. Just browse through your Instagram feed for 5 minutes to see what we're talking about here.
Telling A Story In An Instagram Photo
You've no doubt seen major companies use Instagram for their own unique marketing purposes. They frequently post pictures that tell a story with little text. Often, an Instagram video grabs your attention. Think of using Instagram to tell a visual story about your company's product or services.
Here's a great example: I love the way Sharpie uses Instagram to tell a story about its products. They do this by posting images created by their customers with Sharpie pens.
A photo posted by @sharpie on Dec 2, 2013 at 9:41am PST
Think about how they're using Instagram to build community, engage customers and visually show people how their peers are using Sharpie pens. It's brilliant.
Using visuals to tell your story redefines the meaning of storytelling in marketing as it breaks it down to the bare essentials. It also forces the viewer to figure out what's happening on their own, using specific visual clues.
Tell your own story about your background and your mission by posting pictures on Instagram. Don't be afraid to tell your story in a series of visuals over a period of days, weeks, or months. By attracting prospects to your Instagram account from other social networks, you can tell them more about your brand in a clever, and even funny, way.
Showcasing Products Or Services With B2B Social Media Marketing On Instagram
After you tell your story in visual form, start incorporating pictures of your products in your Instagram feed. Here, storytelling still applies as you show your product or service getting used in various situations. With this approach, you also can focus on typical problems businesses face. Show some comedic situations your buyers can easily relate to. As the storytelling continues, you can depict visual situations as they happen, or immediately after. These types of minimalistic visuals get the gears turning in your buyers' heads while viewing your content.
Creating Community with Your Buyers
The best aspect of marketing yourself on Instagram is creating recurring community engagement with your buyers. They'll keep checking you out if they follow your feed. Thanks to Instagram's active comment section, you can also gauge what viewers are thinking as you post pictures regularly. You want to nurture relationships with your current customers so they consider you part of their family. This fosters loyalty so you can turn to those customers whenever you have slowdowns in sales.