Instagram is home to 1 billion active users -- 80% of whom follow at least one business. This shows the amazing potential for B2B companies, with the right Instagram PR and marketing strategy, to get amazing results.
There is no arguing that this network is different from other social media networks that have come before. It lacks the professional atmosphere of LinkedIn and feels distinctly different from both Facebook and Twitter. But despite these differences, Instagram has become a force to be reckoned within the B2B marketing landscape.
Because Instagram is such a departure, some initially hesitated to implement it for B2B businesses. Time has shown that when it comes to creating a strategy for Instagram, B2B businesses find just as many advantages as their B2C counterparts.
Whatever your goals -- whether it's B2B lead generation, brand awareness, or more website visitors -- Instagram can help you to reach them.
Let's take a look at why and how you should use Instagram for B2B PR and marketing strategies.
Why Use Your Instagram for B2B PR and Marketing
Instagram was long believed to be a purely personal social network. You would use it to keep up with family and friends. Using it for B2B brands was the last thing that came to mind. However, as Instagram has evolved with new features and algorithms, it has become the perfect space for B2B companies and their PR strategies to thrive.
The essence of good PR and marketing comes down to storytelling -- and the visual nature of Instagram has become the perfect storytelling platform. Used right, visual content like photos and videos engages audiences and helps them to feel more connected to brands and their stories.
Instagram provides the ideal place for your audience to learn more about your brand. Every photo is an opportunity for your audience to get to know you better. It could be a photo of your team that shows how diverse and inclusive your brand is. It could be a photo featuring a cause for which your brand is passionate. It could even be an image that shows the wacky and fun side of your brand.
The bottom line is that every Instagram post gives your audience a small taste of who you are and why they should use and trust you. This feeds into the very goals of PR and marketing.
Let's look at how you can create a PR and marketing strategy for Instagram that helps you to reach your goals.
10 Ways to Power Up Your Instagram PR & Marketing Strategy
1. Know Your Audience
Now it's your job to dig deeper. Discover more about your target audience. What are they interested in learning? What type of content in your industry gets the most likes and comments? Understanding this will help you attract your target audience to your brand.
As your audience grows, use Instagram Insights. With this Instagram tool, you'll understand who is following you, including age, gender, and geographic location. Reflect on how this information can shape your content and your interactions.
As you post, note what content gets the most engagement. As you do more, you will discover what makes your audience tick.
2. Polish Your Profile
Instagram limits you to 150 characters for your profile bio. Use these characters wisely. The purpose of your bio is two-fold:
- Showcase your personality.
- Spark action.
Ask yourself: What makes you different? What do you want your audience to do when they see your profile? Even when you use your profile to promote a new product or service, you can do it in a fun way.
Take Intel's Instagram bio as an example: "Intel* -- The asterisk* means there's something more than what's seen on surface. Whether it be you* or our new class of laptops*, we are all #MoreThan we seem." Even as it introduces you to a product, it harmonizes with Intel's general theme and shows a kind of deep introspection that fits with their overall Instagram feed.
In your profile, use everything Instagram offers. Use call and email buttons to make it easy for your audience to contact you.
The link in your bio is also a piece of prime real estate, especially since Instagram only allows you one clickable link. With it, you can link to your website or a landing page. it's also good to vary this link depending on what you feature in your feed. Another option is to use a service like LinkTree or TapBio, which dramatically opens up your link potential, bringing your users to a landing page where you can feature multiple links and calls to action.
It's true that Instagram profiles are shorter compared to other social networks, but this lets you shine. Shorten your message to the essentials and make it count.
3. Visuals, Visuals, Visuals
If you've dealt with Instagram on any level, you know that visuals are a major part of what makes Instagram tick.
Many B2B companies use the visual nature of Instagram to give their audience a behind-the-scenes look at their brand. It is also a great way to shape how people view your company.
For instance, General Electric Healthcare has used Instagram to bring its audience on GE's global journey and witness how technology is advancing medical progress around the world. its feed not only features advancements in technology, but also the personal stories of people affected by the technology, and the overall issues affecting the healthcare industry.
Some B2B businesses might hesitate to use Instagram, thinking that their industry is not "visual" enough. But this shouldn't stop you. View it as a unique opportunity to shine light on your company culture and issues at play within your industry.
For example, you could create posts about...
- Individual team members and their story
- Innovations that impact your industry
- Changes to your brand
- Issues that you're passionate about
- Company events
- What happens behind the scenes
- Customer stories
And the list goes on and on. Our best advice is not to allow preconceptions about your industry to put you in a corner.
4. Use Hashtags
Hashtags (keywords that are prefaced by a #) are a key way for people to find your brand and content. Create your post the way you normally would, and add relevant industry hashtags at the end of your post. Audiences who follow those hashtags will gain exposure to your brand.
Not sure what hashtags to use? You can use a free tool such as keywordtool.io's Instagram search feature. Simply enter a basic keyword and then the tool will provide relevant suggestions for you to use.
You can even use hashtags as a research tool. Simply go to Instagram's search section and enter a common industry search term (for us, it would probably be #b2bpr or something similar). Instagram will then show you a range of content (both recent and trending) that you can sift through to see what's going on and get inspiration for future posts. Instagram even allows you to follow hashtags so this information will pop up in your feed.
Another way to use hashtags to your benefit is to create a branded hashtag. This doesn't have to be fancy. Some examples include #shareacoke by Coca Cola or #myanthropologie from Anthropologie. It's a chance for you to be creative. This kind of hashtag can encourage followers to share photos and videos about your brand and is an easy way for you to round up user generated content down the road.
5. Create Instagram Stories
While your normal feed is an important place to engage your audience, the Instagram Stories feature is another powerful tool to bring to the table.
What is it? Instagram Stories allows you to post special content that appears at the top of your audience's feed and disappears within 24 hours. This can be used to feature a special sale, promotion, or limited time offer. This is also a good place for behind-the-scenes videos, tutorials, or introductions to members of your team.
While you don't want to flood your audience's feed with multiple stories per day, it is a good idea to plan on regular Stories that will keep your audience engaged.
Instagram TV (IGTV) is another handy feature. It resembles stories, but allows B2B companies to upload longer video content (up to one hour long) that won't disappear after 24 hours. This feature is great for brands who have more in-depth tutorials or explainer videos that they want to feature outside of their feed.
6. Use the Location Tag
Tagging a location has become very popular among Instagram users in recent years. And this is an especially important feature to get in on if your business has a physical location.
How do you even create a location tag that people can use? Here are the steps to create one:
- Go in through your Facebook account and click "Check In."
- Enable location services.
- Name and add your location.
- Choose a category.
- Pick your actual, physical location.
- Claim your location.
Why go through this process? Because it is a wonderful way to gain exposure for your business. Encourage people to check in at your location on their Instagram posts and stories. Their followers will be able to see their location and learn more about you. Having a location associated with your business also helps you within Instagram's algorithm and makes you more visible to potential followers.
7. Get Creative with Captions
The captions of your posts are not the place for dry, formal, industry jargon. Even in B2B, your Instagram strategy needs to leverage captions that are snackable and relaxed. This is not the space for a veritable whitepaper-esque description.
Probably the best advice for your caption is to be conversational. Phrase your caption like you're talking to a good friend. And make sure that it includes value for your audience. This could be in the value of insight, advice, or even encouragement.
8. Pay Attention to Insights
Deeper insights are available once your Instagram business account reaches 100 followers. These insights help you to visualize your audience and individualize your marketing strategy for Instagram.
Here's a run-down of the information in the Insights section:
Audience: This tells you the people following your account, including age range, gender, and geographic location, including country or city.
Activity: This shows you how many people have interacted with your account lately. It includes how many have discovered your brand and visited your profile, as well as how many impressions your content has generated.
Content: This shows you your latest posts and stories, as well as what promotions you are currently running.
While each piece of information might not seem like much by itself, together this offers you ammunition to improve your strategy, reach more people, and engage more with your audience.
9. Time It Right
Posting times vary from audience to audience. Take the time to experiment on days and times to post that will help your posts get the best reception.
Use your Insights to see what days and times people are most engaged with your content. Consider what time zones people live in as you schedule your posts. If you have a considerable amount of people following you in Europe, for example, it's smart to schedule some posts during a time that is convenient for them.
10. Engage Your Audience
Don't leave your audience in the lurch. if someone comments on your post, reply as soon as possible. If you're not able to commit to regularly interacting with your Instagram audience, then you should find someone who can. Otherwise, you'll most likely lose your audience over time.
What if people leave negative comments? While your first inclination might be to ignore it and hope they go away, you need to address such complaints and criticism head on. Be tactful, polite, and kind. Remember that other potential customers will read the comments as well as your responses. The way you respond can have a positive impact on your future business.
If someone raises a serious issue in your comment section, kindly ask them to send you a direct message in Instagram so that you can help resolve the issue. This creates more of a one-on-one environment and gets the negativity out of your public feed.
11. Research Your Competitors
Your competitors offer a valuable yard stick to measure your own strategy. And this is not just a contest of who gets the most likes and followers. This can give you valuable insight into strategies and tactics that you adapt to your own strategy.
Look at what they post. Do they have user-generated content? Do they offer contests? What kinds of Instagram Stories do they post? This can give you ideas for posts to create down the road.
Investigate their hashtag strategy. You might be able to find new hashtags you never thought of before, but which might give your own strategy a boost.
If you need more information than you can gain through your personal observations, look into a tool like SocialInsider. This tool and ones like it gather all of the information on competitors that you need, with suggestions on how to best adapt your strategy.
12. Work with Industry Influencers
Influencer marketing has gained a lot of popularity in recent years, especially in Instagram marketing strategy, because it work. In fact, in a 2019 study, 79% of respondents ranked Instagram as an important channel for their infuencer marketing campaigns. Bringing an influencer into your Instagram marketing strategy can increase your audience and gain more overall exposure for your brand.
But it's important to note that not all influencers are created equal. When choosing an influencer for your brand, do your research. Choose influencers that fibyour industry. Make sure their personality and values match your own. And that their audience fits your target audience parameters.
13. Use Social Ads
No marketing strategy for Instgram is complete without paid ads. Consider again that 1 billion people use Instagram. That number offers quite a potential for your brand. Instagram's ad platform and audience targeting tools provide access to that audience. It can be used to expose people to your brand, generate new leads, and motivate people to use your brand.
Formats for Instagram ads can be used in many ways and include:
- Photo ads
- Stories ads
- Video ads
- Carousel ads
- Collection ads.
Each ad format offers a number of call to action options, including Contact Us, Book Now, Download, and Learn More, depending on what you choose to promote.
You can access the ad platform within Instagram itself, or, if you'd rather, through the Facebook Ad Manager.
14. Post on a Regular Schedule
Consistency is everything in social media. While a couple of months of not posting might not seem like much, it could be enough time to lose the attention of your audience.
Keep yourself on track by creating a schedule for your social media posting. Writing out your schedule can help you to visualize it and see where potential holes exist. It can also help you to keep a good balance of content, so you don't focus too heavily on one topic.
Remember that your audience probably comprises several time zones. Look at your Instagram Insights to see what countries and cities people are from, and be mindful of that when creating your posting schedule.
3 Amazing Instagram Marketing and PR Examples
Harvard Business Review is one of the go-to publications for businesses and entrepreneurs. But its Instagram marketing strategy goes way beyond simply sharing the publication's content or testimonials from readers. It delves into important issues that face all of us.
For example, take the following post, where HBR considers the choices of graduating college students, analyzing ones who prioritize either time or money when choosing careers -- and how each decision affects their future happiness.
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Do you prioritize time or money? In 2015 and 2016, researchers asked this question of 1,000 graduating college students in Canada. They found that — regardless of their parents’ wealth or how much they cared about owning fancy things — those who valued time chose career paths that made them happier one to two years later. This isn’t because they worked less; it’s because they were more likely to focus on how gratifying their future career might be and chose jobs they actually enjoyed. Though the study was exclusive to college grads, there is a lesson we can all learn from the findings: When we are deciding whether to take a job, most of us focus too much on salary and prestige and not enough on enjoyment. Of course, sometimes we need to choose the better-paying job and sacrifice having more time to socialize with our friends and family. But when we have the ability to prioritize one over the other, the data is clear: Valuing time is likely to bring us greater joy both in the moment and in the long term. — Adapted from "Are New Graduates Happier Making More Money or Having More Time?" by Ashley Whillans. Artist credit: Virojt Changyencham/Getty Images
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McKinsey is a management consulting firm that specializes in helping brands reach their goals and transform their business to be ahead of the curve. And within their strategy for Instagram, B2B businesses find a lot of worthy tactics to imitate. One shining example is how they use the platform to visualize solutions to some of the biggest issues today.
Take the following example where McKinsey addresses the issue of women's equality in the workplace. Themvideo post below emphasizes the need need to help women transition in the automation age. The post doesn't simply state dry statistics or talk about the need to hire more women. It highlights real ways to address this important societal issue.
WeWork is an international company that helps small businesses and entrepreneurs find shared workspaces at a reasonable price point. This Instagram account goes beyond simply highlighting its locations and company culture. Its followers get a potent taste of how to achieve work-life balance.
Consider this example, with the hashtag #selfcaresunday, where WeWork encourages its followers to share their best ways to unwind. Its constant, underlying message? While work is important, you also need to find ways to unwind and relax.
It's obvious -- every B2B brand needs an Instagram PR and marketing strategy. We hope these Instagram marketing tips help you to make the most of this outstanding social network,
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