Many B2B marketers stick to tried and true social marketing platforms. Typically, marketing efforts are focused on leveraging LinkedIn and Twitter to reach business audiences, with Facebook a minor consideration, and Instagram not even on the list. Most B2B marketers see Instagram as a personal photo album, or at best, a B2C tool.
But, things are changing. There has been a shift in the way B2B companies market themselves online, especially with social media. And Instagram is moving from being one of the most overlooked social platforms to a valuable addition to the B2B marketing process.
Consider the Numbers
The latest statistics tell us that Instagram supports approximately 1 billion active users every month, and 500 million of them use the platform every day. At last count, more than 25 million companies around the world were using Instagram for business marketing. The research also shows that Instagram has a 22.5% content engagement ratio for B2B content, which is higher than any other platform, including LinkedIn.
These are the kinds of numbers that can’t be ignored. So, why should you consider Instagram an important part of your B2B marketing process?
A Potential for Large Organic Reach
The research tells us that 7 out of 10 hashtags used on Instagram are branded and that 83% of Instagrammers say that they discovered a new product or service through Instagram. This means your audience is probably already on Instagram and engaged with businesses in your industry. So, if you are not already using Instagram, your business may be missing out on an opportunity to connect with your audience.
By using hashtags wisely, you can potentially reach thousands in your target audience without having to purchase ads.
Businesses Are Being Catered to
Beyond organic reach, Instagram offers programs that cater to business marketers.
Instagram for Business allows your brand to have a special profile that grants access to business-oriented marketing tools and the analytics you need to track engagement. Ultimately, this allows you to better integrate the platform into your marketing strategy and processes, and gauge success.
An advanced business profile also provides your business with the tools and leverage it needs to connect with your audience in a more direct and targeted way. The visual nature of the platform itself allows your brand to be creative and “show” rather than “tell” your products and services. With more creative marketing tactics, you can reach your target market and nurture your leads at a completely different level than traditional marketing efforts.
It’s Not All About the Immediate Sale
Instagram also enables marketing that goes beyond just selling to enable brand engagement.
Social media platforms, or other digital marketing tactics, shouldn’t always be used for direct lead capture or e-commerce purposes. Audiences are astute. They will understand if brands are always just pushing content for the sake of making a sale. Eventually, they will get discouraged with the brand and tune out.
Because it is photo-based, Instagram offers a great opportunity for your business to showcase more than just products or services. It gives you the opportunity to humanize the brand by revealing the real people behind the company’s offerings. Audiences of all sorts appreciate businesses that take that extra step to personalize their online presence and develop a connection with them.
Part of an Integrated Strategy
Of course, Instagram shouldn’t be the only tool in a B2B marketer’s social marketing toolbox. But, by offering the potential to reach your audience in more creative ways, it should definitely be in yours.