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Instagram for B2B companies: practical tips for a successful presence

Alongside platforms such as LinkedIn and Xing, Instagram is becoming increasingly important for B2B companies.
Image: © wachiwit / Adobe Stock

B2B marketing: why you should use Instagram as a business

With over a billion users worldwide and more than 20 million users in Germany, Instagram is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms. As a predominantly visual channel, Instagram provides the ideal environment for the B2B sector to thematize and communicate complex issues in a simple, easy-to-understand, and targeted form using photos and moving image content.

Some 25 million companies now leverage the opportunities presented by Instagram to give their business a face, generate awareness, and emotionalize their brand, product range, and service portfolio more intensely. It’s clear to see why:

90%
of users follow at least one company on Instagram.

Impactful content: According to Brandwatch, Instagram users engage with brands about 10 times more than on Facebook and even 84 times more than on Twitter. Analyses conducted by Futurebiz have also found that a third of the most-viewed stories come from companies and brands. This can most likely be explained by the fact that a large proportion of Instagram-savvy millennials are increasingly stepping into influential roles at companies.

B2B communication on Instagram – What goals can be achieved on the channel?

Although it should be obvious that the platform’s format probably won’t enable you to directly sell B2B products or services, it can be used as an excellent discovery tool for creating emotional touchpoints that build a customer relationship, especially in the early stages of the customer journey. B2B Instagram marketing is the way forward if you’re pursuing the following goals:

  • Brand awareness and brand building: Instagram opens up a creative and completely new way for companies to present themselves, especially if they are extremely technical in nature. Complicated technical texts make way for fascinating visual worlds that make a brand truly visible, accessible, and tangible.
  • Product information and communication: By sharing intriguing insights into your product world, you can get people interested in your business and thus gain additional opportunities to interact with potential customers. However, a simple photo and promotional text won’t cut it. Instead, you have to set the scene for your products and offer users a special experience in order to stand out from other posts.
  • Employer branding and recruiting: When researching new potential employers, job portals aren’t the only place people look anymore. Instagram is the perfect stage for your employer branding and recruiting because you can catch the attention of prospective candidates, give authentic and interesting insights into the day-to-day work of your company, and shine the spotlight on the people behind your brand.

Aldi Süd’s dedicated careers account is a successful example of employer branding and recruiting on Instagram. It oozes charm, humor, authenticity, and a personal touch to give job seekers a taste of what it’s like to work for the company.

Every B2B strategy should start with an Instagram business profile

Your Instagram business account isn’t just your digital business card on the platform, it’s also the only place where you can integrate a permanent link, for example to your website or specific landing pages. This link is essentially your key strategic resource, since it directs users to the desired target page from any story or post. Keep it short and sweet: when it comes to giving your company a face with an Instagram business profile, you only have 150 characters to sum up what you have to offer.

Use Instagram for your business by posting content that counts

In your content strategy, you should define what content you want to use to achieve your B2B Instagram marketing goals. Importantly, the content you share kicks off the customer journey, along which you want to spark interest among relevant decision-makers in addition to building and strengthening trust. So, depending on your goals, you need to showcase your corporate culture and associated values, your products and services, or your expertise and thought leadership as appealingly as possible.

To reiterate, Instagram is a visual platform where everything boils down to the picture you paint of your company – literally.

Captivate B2B decision-makers with creative and authentic content on Instagram

While we’re on the topic of pictures, remember that stock photos or contrived ad banners will not go down well with the Instagram community. What counts is authentic and creative communication that revolves around the story that you want to visually tell. Basically, you need to come up with formats that have entertainment value, evoke emotions, and draw people in.

For example, compact infographics make it easier to digest otherwise unexciting facts, figures, and concepts. A targeted glimpse behind the scenes, e.g. in the form of an Insta story, in turn brings out the human side of your company and makes users form a more personal bond. Live videos and live streaming formats are the epitome of authenticity and show your customers that there are real people with gripping stories to tell behind your perhaps rather technical or abstract brand.

A soft spot for heavy machinery: Liebherr’s Instagram account gives visually powerful and impressive insights into the construction equipment manufacturer’s world of work. Unique motifs, interesting perspectives, and a diverse selection of snapshots of diggers, cranes, earthmovers, and dumper trucks in action not only demonstrate attention to detail, but also take users on a fascinating voyage of discovery through Liebherr’s portfolio.

Wow your target group with diversity and variety

Instagram offers you a vast array of options for presenting your content. Aside from the photo and video feed, you can use the stories feature to transport your company to a new context and creatively package your messages. Instagram TV and Instagram live streaming let you broadcast longer video sequences in order to demonstrate products and much more. You should alternate between all these options to make your storytelling as varied as possible and keep your target group in suspense.

Distinctive Instagram B2B marketing

Alongside content variety, a high recognition factor helps boost your company’s brand awareness. This can be achieved by carving out a unique style through your choice of imagery and processing techniques and by using various CI elements, such as logos, fonts, colors, and layouts.

This kind of common thread runs through the Instagram business profiles of Vodafone and thyssenkrupp, who use consistent color themes. While red tones dominate or are picked up on in Vodafone’s posts, Germany’s biggest steel manufacturer thyssenkrupp gives its motifs a metallic look using a subtle blue filter.

It’s all about interaction and hashtags

Like any other social media channel, Instagram is not a one-way street. Interacting with your community and other users/companies should therefore also play an important role when setting up and expanding your Instagram business account. And that doesn’t just mean quickly responding to messages or comments. You also have to actively communicate by liking and commenting on other posts – that is essential for stimulating interaction.

Thoroughly researching your hashtags will help you identify relevant players and precisely channel your content, which is fundamental to your reach and interaction. A popular and useful approach is to develop and use your own catchy branded hashtags that are easy to remember and can ideally be applied across all your channels.

Making the most of Instagram ads

While posts and stories mainly have a branding effect, ads have a much greater impact on your conversion and lead generation in the context of Instagram B2B marketing. Just like on Facebook, Instagram ads offer a wide range of segmentation options for targeting, for example in terms of narrowing the target group down to geographical locations or focusing on demographic characteristics, occupations, or interests. Especially if you’ve only recently set up your Instagram business account, paid ads can also prove effective in significantly improving your reach.

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