Chances are, if you’re responsible for B2B marketing and social media, you’re already using Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter for your marketing. Those are the most important platforms for B2B businesses, right? Not always. While Instagram has been coined a platform primarily for B2C, it’s filled with ample opportunity for B2B businesses.
Not all social platforms are created equal. Facebook is great for curated content and blending educational with entertaining posts. Twitter is the rapid-fire platform where timing of posts matters most — it’s all about what’s trending now. LinkedIn is the buttoned-up platform with ample job listings, workplace culture, and shared articles relevant to your industry.
Instagram is the platform to tell your story. The mobile-dominant app with videos and photos is centered around visually appealing content. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not just a lifestyle app crawling with influencers. Instagram reports that there are over 25 million business profiles worldwide. Better yet? Over two hundred million users visit at least one business profile daily.
There’s a good possibility that Instagram users want to hear from your business, you just have to know who your audience is, and deliver content that will disrupt their continuous scroll.
Ready to dive in? Here are our tips on how to use Instagram to boost your B2B business.
USE THE ONE URL STRATEGICALLY
Unlike other social platforms, Instagram will not hyperlink URLs in posts. There’s only one designated place for a hyperlinked URL: on your profile page.
In order to make the most of this URL, think strategically. Create content that drives traffic to that one URL. The URL doesn’t need to be your brand’s website homepage, in fact, it shouldn’t be. It should be strategically related to your Instagram stories or posts. Meaning, the purpose behind Instagram posts and stories is to drive users to a specific external page or link with additional resources that serve as an extension of the content you’re sharing through the Instagram platform.
Plenty of businesses use the copy “link in bio” to redirect readers to their profile page, where they can find the link that post references, see ZenDesk’s example below.
When people click on the ZenDesk icon, it redirects the user to its company profile.
The hope is the user clicks the link, shown above, to learn more about what was mentioned in the post.
Here’s a few ways you can use that URL spot:
- Use the URL spot to drive Instagram story views promoting a job opening to the application page for a potential candidate to apply for the job.
- Use the URL spot to drive Instagram post views about an upcoming event you’re attending or hosting to a landing page with more information.
Since the URL isn’t explicitly in the caption or comments, be sure to write “link in bio” to call out the URL. Instagram users are used to seeing this, and expect to see this call to action to redirect them to additional information.
POST INSTAGRAM STORIES FREQUENTLY (IT WILL ONLY HELP YOU!)
Instagram stories are video and photo posts that show up at the top of each user’s Instagram feed and disappear after 24 hours. To see new stories, just tap on their profile image with a rainbow gradient circle around it to view the story (see below).
Instagram stories have over 500 million daily viewers! These stories are great to post an abundance of content without cluttering someone’s feed.
This is a valuable opportunity to post about what it’s like to work at your company, behind-the-scenes shots of how a project came to life, provide tips or advice in your businesses’ area of expertise, post quotes, promote events, etc. It’s important to remember these Instagram stories are called stories for a reason, they are viewed in a linear, storytelling fashion — you can build up to something to share an engaging and interactive narrative. You just have to be creative in crafting a posting strategy that makes sense for your B2B business.
Take a look at how HubSpot uses their story:
Through this example Instagram story, Hubspot provides educational information with CTAs on each frame for users to click-through and read on. The last frame features a poll, asking for user engagement. Polls are just one of the many ways you can get viewers involved. Instagram stories offer options to embed questions, branded hashtags, mentions (when you @ someone to tag them), and much more to boost engagement and ramp-up exposure.
Instagram stories have come a long way, and if you’re interested in learning how to make the most of them, subscribe to Later’s blog. Later is an Instagram scheduling platform that shares the ins and outs of what makes Instagram tick. Everything from explaining Instagram’s complex algorithm to providing hacks on how to brand your Instagram stories, Later is an excellent resource for B2B businesses.
START USING INSTAGRAM HIGHLIGHTS — IT’S YOUR DIGITAL PORTFOLIO
If you’re not using Instagram highlights, it’s time to start. One of the best app updates Instagram has provided is the ability for users to save Instagram stories into collections for users to view any time through a brand’s profile. These easy-to-find moments are saved to the profile page under labeled categories.
Take Buffer’s Instagram profile for example, they use clear, colorful icons to indicate what type of content a user will see if they click on it. One is dedicated to Q&A with the digital community, one is #BufferLove that showcases user-generated content (more on this later) and another is Stories Creator, a step-by-step guide on how to use a product Buffer offers.
You can get creative with how you categorize your highlights. You could categorize by client or project name and show a reel of all the products or services delivered to that specific client. In this instance, highlights can be extremely powerful for your business — it can act as a portfolio of your company’s completed work. Or, if you work within a national or international business with offices in multiple cities, perhaps you showcase what each office looks like, who the employees are, what they do, etc.
Take HubSpotLife for example:
The best thing about Instagram highlights is you build them over time. The more stories you post, the more highlights you can potentially add. But remember, not every story needs to be saved to a highlight.
TAP INTO USER GENERATED CONTENT
Ah, user generated content. This is practically one of the best tools for businesses because it builds credibility and cuts down on time to post . User generated content (UGC) is any form of visual media that is created by a user on social media. In other words, it’s promotional content that someone else posted willingly about your brand.
Think about how powerful UGC can be for your brand. You didn’t have to pay this person to promote your business, they are true believers in your product or service and they want to share it with the world. Even better, when a user posts photos promoting a brand, it builds word of mouth marketing. Followers of that user will see the post that is advocating for your brand and may start to engage with you themselves, building organic trust and engagement.
Take a look at Hootsuite’s use of UGC:
The user Hootsuite tagged in this photo had (which you must do to pass on credit) posted this on his personal Instagram, and hashtagged #hootsuitelife. Hootsuite found it and wanted to share it. They not only used a branded hashtag to find UGC content to post, but they’re also building brand recognition and engaging with the online community. People love to see brands post their photos!
Here’s another example of Intuit using UGC:
Refinery29 created this custom illustration to promote an episode of #MoneyDiaries where there’s an ad promoting Intuit. To promote the podcast, Intuit simply posted the illustration and tagged Refinery29. Job done!
Here’s Adobe’s strategy and use of UGC:
Adobe dominates the UGC B2B game. They have created a formula for ongoing UGC after acquiring an impressive following. Almost every post Adobe shares comes from third-party users.
For the month of April, Adobe branded a hashtag to easily encourage and find UGC, and then repurposed those images on their business feed to raise awareness for endangered animals during Earth Month.
Take a look at their bio:
Here’s one of their latest posts:
By promoting the branded hashtag, #Adobe_Wild, they’re able to get their hands on pictures like this one to use for their feed.
Instagram is a powerful tool that many B2B businesses shy away from. B2B brands that have embraced Instagram are going against the status quo. They’re challenging the belief that Instagram is only valuable for B2C marketing. The brands mentioned in this article lead by example, using the platform strategically to their benefit.
While the platform is cluttered with B2C interactions, the playing field of B2B is wide open. Instagram is B2B businesses’ best kept secret. We’re a B2B business — we practice what we preach. Take a look at our Instagram profile for examples of the tips listed above, and follow us to stay engaged!
How does your brand use Instagram? DM us @batescreative.