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5 tips to help B2B marketers harness the power of Instagram

5 tips to help B2B marketers harness the power of Instagram

Instagram – it’s where we go to ogle photos of our friends’ meals, scope out new clothes and dream up our next holiday (#wanderlust).

It’s not, however, the app we use to find out more about procurement services, look for a commercial cleaning company or find a supplier for our business – and why not?

The answer may be that B2B companies have largely stayed off the platform – falling far behind their B2C counterparts.

In our opinion, this needs to change. The marketing power of Instagram is immense – no matter your industry. Let’s take a look at why you can’t afford to ignore Instagram and how to begin your B2B marketing efforts on the network.

A post shared by Instagram (@instagram) on

Stop making excuses – Instagram works for B2B organisations

Contrary to what you might think, Instagram isn’t just for makeup tutorials, fitness videos (#fitfam – okay, we’ll stop with the hashtags now) and stalking the Kardashians’ every move.

In fact, there are over 25 million business profiles on Instagram and more than half (60 per cent) of people say they use Instagram to discover new products. 80 per cent of Instagrammers follow at least one business.

There are a number of misconceptions, however, keeping B2B marketers off Instagram. Let’s debunk a few:

1. Sure, posts get a lot of visibility, but you don’t get any leads

This is just plain false.

Three in four users take action after looking at a brand’s post – whether that’s visiting a brand’s website, entering their contact details, signing up for a trial or making a purchase. Few other kinds of content can boast such impressive conversion.

Further, Instagram users are 70 per cent more likely to make mobile purchases.

2. My target user isn’t on Instagram – it’s all teenage girls and lifestyle companies!

Instagram has 800 million active users, meaning it’s nearly impossible your audience isn’t on there.

While teenage girls do love the app, so does everyone else. Australians aged 18-29 are the most popular demographic on Instagram (81 per cent), but 30-39 year olds are close behind (56 per cent).

3. Our products/services aren’t Instagrammable

Do people buy your products or services? Well, then they must be interesting and valuable – you simply need to figure out how to convey this message on Instagram.

Take Mailchimp, for example. Marketing automation isn’t inherently appealing either, but they’ve managed to gain 68.2k followers on their super engaging account.

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Not quite sure how to establish your brand on Instagram? Don’t worry, that’s our next section.

5 tips for B2B marketing on Instagram

1. Find influencers – even if they aren’t hip

You see influencer marketing on Instagram all the time – celebrities using their posts to show off new products and advertise services.

B2B organisations, however, have been slower to adopt influencer marketing. While 55 per cent of B2C organisations report having an ongoing influencer marketing program in place, only 52 per cent of B2B businesses can say the same.

To see B2B results on Instagram, this needs to change. Although it may be more difficult to find well-known influencers in niche industries, it’s an important step in establishing a social media presence.

To connect with the right influencers:

  • Join the conversation and be active in your niche,
  • Use tools like Mediatoolkit to monitor industry terms and hashtags,
  • Scope out your competitors’ accounts,
  • Find the most shared content in your field using Buzzsumo and connect with those publishers.

2. Show off company culture

Don’t know how to make your products and services look good on Instagram? Maybe the secret is to stop trying.

Instead, focus on other factors of your brand, including your employees, company culture and ways you’re involved in the community. This will not only boost the perception of your brand, but hey, it could even help with your recruitment efforts as well.

A post shared by IBM (@ibm) on

Social media is all about connecting with people. In this case, those people are your customers, but that doesn’t mean everything you post needs to be a hard sell.

Find meaningful ways to connect with your audience and show your business has things in common with them. Conversion will follow.

3. Use Instagram Stories to show your expertise

Don’t just tell your brand story through photos. Take advantage of video content as well using Instagram stories.

The benefits of live, ephemeral content aren’t limited to B2C organisations. In fact, B2B businesses can use Stories to show off their expertise through live demonstrations, tutorials and question and answer sessions with followers.

Ephemeral content shouldn’t just showcase your products or services – that’s what the rest of your account is for. Instead, use the feature to give a ‘behind the scenes’ look into your work. Grab your phone and head out on to the factory floor or the planning roo…. Nothing is more engaging than something your followers didn’t expect to see.

4. Don’t be swayed by vanity metrics

Did you know you can buy Instagram followers? Seriously, this is what we’ve come to.

Because of how superficial certain metrics can be on social media, it’s important to take the time to track your analytics and determine what content is really working and what isn’t.

To do this, avoid putting too much weight on vanity metrics – things like follows and likes from spammers who simply want to boost their own popularity.

Instead, measure performance through actual signs of engagement, such as comments and new followers who are involved in your industry. This is a much more accurate indicator of the awareness and exposure your brand is earning.

Most importantly, keep in mind that you probably won’t get everything right the first time. Monitor your posts closely to determine which have the most traction, when’s the right time to post and so on.

5. Make sure everything looks really, really nice

Instagram is a visual app. If your content doesn’t look appealing, you’re better off not posting it – plain and simple.

Therefore, make sure everything you share looks polished, professional and attractive. If that means handing over the account to someone a bit more savvy in the company, do so.

Depending on your industry, you may be fighting an uphill battle. As we’ve mentioned already, it’s a whole lot more difficult to make something like industrial fans look good than it is a new bath product.

That doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. Have you ever seen a gas turbine look as pretty as this one, for example?

Here are some tips for an aesthetically pleasing account: :

  • Use high-resolution images only – nothing will get less engagement than a blurry shot,
  • Ensure photos are well framed – rule of thirds, people!
  • Stick to one or two filters – 60 per cent of the most popular brands on Instagram use the same filter for every post,
  • Instagram has its photo editing limitations – familiarise yourself with other apps if necessary.

It might take some time before you achieve your ‘Insta-fame,’ but we can assure you that your efforts are worthwhile.

Follow these best practices and you’ll be well on your way to achieving your social marketing goals.


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Natalie Fortier About the author