Businesses have always looked for creative ways to make buyers aware of their products. This has never been more true than our current environment, where competition for buyer attention and mindshare is stiff.
Today’s business marketers have a lot of tools available for them to target and fine-tune their efforts, from databases and list parsing to surveys and eye tracking software. The list of tactics is long, too. These can effectively inform, guide, and advance buyer decision-making when appropriately mapped across the journey a segment may take.
The underlying objective, of course, is to influence and persuade buyer choice in ways that are favorable for a brand. The first milestone is sales, with retention and advocacy serving as objectives for the longer term.
In consumer marketing, influence and persuasion are increasingly playing out in ways involving visual content. Channels including Instagram and SnapChat are a conduit to users at times they are proactively seeking stimuli or input. Mobile users have a perpetual itch to refresh feeds, ping others with the latest bit of news, and share inside looks. This need to constantly interact and know more presents great opportunities to brands that choose to capitalize on consumer behavior.
The “all broadcast, all the time” phenomenon translates nicely to B2B marketers as well, but there are important rules of the road to acknowledge. Just as websites shouldn’t have been an online version of a brochure back in the ‘90’s, Instagram isn’t the place for businesses to push out sterile, prepackaged sales collateral or clips of product promo videos in 2016.
Here are a few things for B2B marketers to keep in mind on Instagram:
Five Things B2B Brands On Instagram Need To Remember
1. Don’t try too hard to appear perfect. Instagram is powerful because images can convey what takes a hundred words to describe. Photos needn’t be Pulitzer Prize material to share big messages about a brand’s culture or guiding values, or the people who make it go.
2. Keep it simple, stupid. Instagram isn’t a channel to overthink. Concepts should be clear with the value to the viewer obvious. Going back to the ‘90’s website reference, don’t try to cram everything you want buyers to know into a single post.
3. Entertain me. While Instagram can be a place for a poignant or introspective post, the primary fuel for the feed should be casual, candid, and real. Brands can be professional and buttoned up without coming off stiff or unapproachable.
4. Erase boundaries and limitations. Instagram transports people, it makes them feel included and gives birds-eye glimpses. Brands can bring viewers along for inside looks and showcase its people and products in the wild.
5. It’s not all about you. It can also be about those your brand serves, and the issues and themes related to the industry. Brands have the responsibility and opportunity to surface interesting and key topics for the greater user base to discuss.
So Which B2B Brands Are Getting Instagram Right?
A few B2B brands know how to use Instagram to connect with customers by demonstrating the lessons described above.
Walker Mowers is a manufacturing company specializing in commercial lawn equipment. The brand’s Instagram feed is fine example of the brand essence. The tone and content is candid, friendly, casual, and inclusive. In addition to showcasing Walker products in action, viewers can come to know dealers, customers, and employees.
- Embodies lesson number one
- Instagram feed: https://www.instagram.com/walkermowers/
CloudPeeps is a marketplace for businesses looking for creative contractors and freelancers in search of clients. Advocates of the virtual workstyle, CloudPeeps uses Instagram to showcase coworking facilities and collaborative mindsharing.
- Embodies lesson number two
- Instagram feed: https://www.instagram.com/cloudpeeps/
Grammarly is a tech product that helps keep your writing error-free. The brand uses Instagram to share useful tips and rules for better writing. It keeps things from feeling too academic by giving us something to chuckle at – common flub-ups and blunders.
- Embodies lesson number three
- Instagram feed: https://www.instagram.com/grammarly/
Rockwell Collins is an electronics and information technology company that supplies technology to diverse projects in global markets. The brand uses Instagram to share glimpses into finished products in situation, its leaders and thinkers at events, and the evolution of the company.
- Embodies lesson number four
- Instagram feed: https://www.instagram.com/rockwellcollins/
Buffer is an app that allows users to efficiently plan and share social media content. The product is simple, elegant, and pairs nicely with related products Pablo and Respond to take the headache out of publishing content and nurturing an online community.
- Embodies lesson number five
- Instagram feed: https://www.instagram.com/buffer/
What lessons might you add to this list of B2B brands on Instagram? Which brands do you think serve as shining examples?