10 tactics to bring Instagram into your B2B marketing strategy

By Felicity McCarthy, digital marketing trainer & consultant.

The incredible growth of Instagram in the last 2-3 years has given reason for all marketers to sit up and take notice.  For marketers who are targeting and working with consumers, the use of Instagram is pretty logical and clear.

However, for many business to business (B2B) marketers, it can be a little trickier to figure out if Instagram is the right platform, and what’s the role it plays in the marketing mix.

There are many ways Instagram can be an incredibly valuable asset in B2B marketing, so let’s look at the huge variety of ways Instagram is really well positioned to support your B2B marketing goals.

Source: Canva
  • Employer branding – in times of high levels of employment across so many industries, the scramble for talent is real, to ensure that your company can attract the very best candidates and employees for roles. Many organisations use Instagram to showcase the human side of the company, what it’s like to work there, showcasing career paths, and offering Q&As and live events for specific employee acquisition efforts e.g. Graduate programs etc. e.g. Grant Thornton
  • Inbound lead generation  – this tactic is being more widely used now by B2B technology/software providers, especially companies targeting Small Businesses. There are excellent opportunities on Instagram to reach your audience with a hook or lead magnet – perhaps it’s a report or a tool or a guide, which decision makers in your industry would value. By reaching them on Instagram, they become aware of your valuable resource (lead magnet), and download it by providing you their email address, which provides a valuable and relevant lead to your business. E.g. Hubspot
  • Corporate Social Responsibility – it is well documented that clients and customers want to align with the values and ethos of the businesses they deal with. This creates an opportunity for organisations to be able to shine a light on initiatives they may be running to support charitable organisations, community groups, or educational initiatives, perhaps in their region or in their industry
  • Humanise the brand – In the B2B space, we are at risk of thinking only of the businesses who are clients, rather than considering the people who are the decision makers. As we consider those people who are the key decision makers, it’s important to remember that people do business with people, so every opportunity you have to humanize the brand can bring people closer to that brand. On Instagram you have the opportunity, especially with Instagram Stories, to show the humans within your business, perhaps featuring your employees or clients to share and showcase expertise, to host and engage with clients in a new and innovative way. E.g. Sage’s #humansofbusiness campaign
  • Build brand authenticity – Instagram stories in particular provides excellent opportunities for organisations of ALL sizes to show a little more of what happens “Behind the scenes”. These glimpses of what’s happening behind the scenes are extremely effective a clear authentic view of the brand and values of an organisation. Instagram Stories suit this well because they disappear after 24 hours, so they don’t need to be so polished as a standard content on the Instagram grid/feed. Don’t let that put you off Stories, though, as you can keep stories on your Instagram  profile by adding them to Highlights. These Highlights bubbles allow you to ensure that the best and most compelling Stories content, will still be available to your community long after the initial 24, but only if you choose to add them to Highlights.
  • Share your company/product’s heritage: Instagram is a super storytelling platform, so it can be a great opportunity to share good quality content about the background of your business- helping people connect with your heritage and values, giving you a real competitive advantage over new entrants or challenger brands.
  • Be creative & add value – Instagram does not lend itself to hard selling messages, so you may need to challenge yourself to share insight or knowledge, become a thought-leader, showcase your team solving client problems, share positive client stories and testimonials.
  • Create highly engaging content – videos & images. Aim for quality over quantity here, which applies on most Social Media platforms to be honest, but even more on Instagram. To improve the quality of visuals, there are great imagery and video tools such as Canva for images and WeVideo for video content.
  • Hashtags are critical – leverage the hashtags you, your clients, & your industry stakeholders use on other more traditionally used B2B platforms, for example LinkedIn and perhaps Twitter. Gather these to include them in your Instagram activity, as it will help join your posts with others about those similar topics, which can help you to reach more people on Instagram who may not already be aware of your brand/products.
  • Advertising on Instagram – Because Instagram ads is built on the Facebook ad platform, the ability to target people is very advanced even in targeting a B2B audience. You could target people on Instagram using the “interest” based targeting, in the Detailed Targeting section. You can target Interest > Business & Industry > and you can select an industry or sector from agriculture to aviation to retail to science. Using this targeting could help you reach people who for example are interested in construction or engineering, or entrepreneurship or people who are ‘small business owners’.

The great news for B2B marketers is that Instagram has opened up some new opportunities, it’s not quite a busy or noisy (yet) as some of the older social platforms. This will get more competitive and so the time to start building community and engaging with the Instagram audience is now. One key consideration is that creativity, and the quality of the content, will be more important than ever!

About the author

Felicity McCarthy has worked on the cutting edge of the technology sector for 20 years, leading European digital marketing teams in companies such as Facebook, eBay & Dell.

As founder of Sparkdigital.ie, Felicity now works with businesses at various stages of their life-cycle to help them develop digital marketing strategies, and guide them to execute those plans by providing digital marketing training & consultancy services.


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