Instagram is a social business tool that 48.8% of brands have embraced as a critical component of their social media strategy. This figure is expected to rise to 71% in 2017 and beyond. While it is evident for B2C companies to map out how Instagram can be used to share and tell their brand stories, Instagram for B2B companies is not as easy to map out. For example, a B2B technology company or SaaS company doesn’t naturally lend itself to Instagram’s visual and video nature.
One social media trend we are witnessing across several industries including B2B technology and SaaS companies – is Instagram’s unique ability to drive increased user engagement and reach, in comparison to the amount of time being spent on the channel (which historically is less than time spent on Twitter, Facebook, etc.). Over the past year, Dreamweaver Brand Communications social media marketing team has worked with both B2B and B2C on social media audits, examining activity, reach, engagement, network referrals, results, and ROI if it involved social media advertising. Based on our client’s data, a consistent theme began to emerge, additional time, effort, and budget should be focused on Instagram.
These are three examples representing a company, across three different industries: consumer packaged goods, fashion, and B2B technology. For each company, there are two charts – one dissecting the percentage of posts shared on each of their social channels and another chart dissecting the overall engagement by channel. At a minimum, this data encompasses close to a year’s worth of social media posts.
Consumer Packaged Goods Industry
B2B Technology Industry
Instagram, in each of the above pie charts, drives an increased rate of engagement return than the time allocated into managing the channel. Particularly in the consumer packaged goods and fashion examples. Despite these brands allocating very little time to Instagram, this channel is driving the second highest amount of engagement.
What does this data tell us? Do not neglect Instagram for your business! While it may not seem like a natural fit for all industries, the data says otherwise. If you don’t believe this data, look at NASA’s Instagram and how they are reigniting people’s interest in space. Audiences on Instagram are actively engaged because it is visual and has a simple user interface. While you might not have as many Instagram followers as you do on your other social media channels, Instagram users tend to be more interactive.
By no means are we suggesting that you dive in head first and start posting 4 to 5 images a per day with 25 unsearched hashtags or go crazy with unscripted Instagram Stories live video. What the data does mean that it is time for your B2B and B2C company to dedicate more time to Instagram. Start slow, even if that means 2-4 posts per week, or even hiring an external marketing agency to manage all your social channels and build your Instagram audience and engagement.
If it is still difficult to understand why Instagram is important from a business perspective or if you are considering bringing on an integrated marketing agency to handle all of your social media channels here are a few thoughts to guide the initial conversation or to help you convince a reluctant CEO.
1) Highlight your company or brand’s culture
Bragging about your business or brand is never easy. Instagram is a fantastic platform where both B2B and B2C brands can shine. B2B technology companies have some pretty impressive office spaces where the magic happens. Show it off! B2C companies usually have some beautiful showrooms. Show those off. Does your business have a game room that every inner kid inside us all would die for? Bringing audiences into your workspace, highlight employees, interview key executives, show off the hardworking team members making the magic happen behind the scenes, or even do a series of short explainer videos about innovative services or products. By highlighting your culture and team members, you might attract new talent into your team and also introduce your products and services to a whole new audience you never knew existed.
2) Become part of the community
Whether you’re at the corporate headquarters, a subsidiary of international business, or even a locally based business, there is one location that is your home base. Instagram is a fantastic avenue to incorporate the local community into your posts through city imagery or videos of your employees volunteering at a local charity. Don’t forget to use the right hashtag, so your images or videos get found easier and then shared throughout the greater Instagram community. Your Instagram page can strengthen relationships within the community and could also lead to new business and brand awareness organically with minimal effort. Overtime, it becomes less “me, me, me, and more “us, us, us.”
3) Team up with social influencers
Social influencers can be your best promoters. Social influencers across all industries have carved out niches and made names for themselves by engaging and highlighting brands they love. Team up with them. Influencers can also do a brief tutorial on how they use and engage with your product or have them do a product review. For midsize to large organizations, it is important to create a formal influencer program, with a leading influencer marketing agency to supplement your integrated marketing and public relations campaigns. Influencer marketing expectations continue to soar in 2017 and beyond!
If you are a small business, you could start by asking permission to “regram” a photo. Just make sure that the social influencer you choose aligns with your company’s core values and the social influencer properly vetted. However, you decide to begin your social influencer campaign; these campaigns are an excellent way to increase brand awareness and engage with niche communities on Instagram filled with brand evangelists.
4) Everyone loves an event
Event marketing is very popular and many large and medium size corporations participate in or attend industry conferences or special events. Since attending trade shows, industry conferences, or special events is expensive for most, Instagram is a tool to bring the event to those that couldn’t attend. Instagram’s Stories feature allows you to share video snapshots of what is happening in the moment or in some cases even live video of the event (a newer function Stories).
Instagram provides a visual experience for your audience. It affords you another opportunity to for potential customers to know your company outside of the usual website or brochure and humanizes your business or brand. The data supports that potential customers are engaging there, so give it a shot!