How to Use Instagram to Ignite Your B2B Strategy
With 700 million monthly users worldwide (and 15 million in Germany alone), it’s no wonder Instagram has become the top social media tool for people and advertisers alike.
So why Instagram for B2B?
B2B companies often face the challenge of offering complex products for specific target groups – so the only way to break through to the customer is with emotion and authenticity. Assuming that companies have previously developed a strategy that they want to achieve with Instagram, the following actionable insights prove why Instagram can pay off big time for B2B companies.
Additionally, with the countless B2B Instagram accounts that are seeing success and ROI on the platform, the boundaries between B2B and B2C strategies do not always need to be clearly defined.
Why Instagram for B2B?
After being founded in 2010, the platform had 700 million active users by 2017 - including 15 million companies with their own accounts. In Germany, according to Facebook, about 15 million people use Instagram (as of August 2017). Thus, Instagram has not only seen impressive year-over-year growth, but it has also become the most important social media platform for everyday life.
Unlike classic online platforms, users rarely search for information. Instead, they prefer to discover it. And this is exactly where the opportunity for companies on Instagram lies: they can surprise you. Companies can use pictures and videos to express emotions and uncover insights, which turn their perception of everyday life from 'dry' or 'boring' to 'fascinating' or 'impressive' - without diluting corporate identity and brand essence. And in B2B communication, there are still a lot of moments that a 'lifestyle lift' would be good for.
Developing Your B2B Strategy
In the B2C business, leads can be generated via Instagram. In B2B this is already more difficult - and with it the question of ROI. Therefore, place yourself exactly in your target group and set realistic goals. Are mail inquiries, newsletter subscriptions, interested comments or calls really an expected result of your posts? Or is it more about awareness and a change in perception?
Develop a simple content and distribution strategy based on your realistic target group knowledge. That means: what content? And how do we bring them into the feed of our target group? Our dealings with Facebook show that the boundaries between B2C and B2B are now blurring in social networks.
Using Instagram for Employer Branding
If younger employees apply for a new job today, chances are they probably already checked out your company’s Instagram. This is standard practice for many, in addition to perusing your company website, corporate blog, Facebook and Twitter. How is your company represented? What kind of culture and spirit does it convey? These are questions you should be asking yourself.
Instagram serves as a barometer for how strongly a company 'manages' itself and what lifestyle/culture new employees can expect. For companies that want to secure top employees in the 'war of talents,' a suitable Instagram account can be the door opener and show a convincing work environment that has otherwise remained hidden.
It is important to address the applicants and interested parties more emotionally (for example, about people and humour) and to provide a realistic insight into your daily work routine. A good example of this is provided by Implexis. The Nuremberg agency for software solutions gives insights into the company, including pictures of team events, trade fair visits, employee activities and more. Employees are also encouraged to hashtag their personal photos with #implexisbulli, which allows them to share and collaborate on social media in a cohesive and unique way.
Whatever your idea is, do not push your employees, but inspire them! Let Instagram become a playground - of course with discretion. Here’s a classic example: launch an internal competition on a topic (i.e. ‘summer in the office,’ 'my workplace,’ ‘my favourite colleague,’ 'my commute,’ 'why I love my job’). The submitter who collects the most likes wins a prize. The best part is that it does not have to be expensive – even a funny coffee cup can drive creativity and become a cult object and the subject of other creative endeavours.
Instagram from a Branding Perspective
Through their imagery, companies can determine how exactly they can be conveyed on Instagram. The absolute priority, though, should be picture/video quality – pixellated or blurred images are simply unprofessional. In order to stand out from the rest and develop a visual language that is both homogeneous and recognisable, creativity and unique ideas should be top of mind when creating an Instagram strategy.
At gyro, we have found our own black-and-white imagery with yellow elements as well as special formats to be successful in Germany. By incorporating our own unique branding into our posts, we are able to transfer the corporate identity of gyro into our own visual language with a high recognition value. These self-developed formats (for example, the photos of our employees in the ‘animal screen’ mode) provide the framework for almost infinitely creative approaches.
My advice: take hold of one of the two key elements of your corporate identity and let them form the visual framework for your content strategy. Work out your themes and messages beforehand and let your creativity run wild. Most of all, don’t forget the 'Insta' in 'Instagram!'
Claudia Leischner is GM at gyro Munich