Instagram, a platform solely for the use of B2C businesses, right? Think again!
The mindset that Instagram is created without B2B in mind is the exact reason why social media marketing is slow moving for many businesses who forget that social media is all about people!
What many B2B marketers fail to remember is that there is value in every post they create because there is a human at the other end ready to make decisions, lend a recommendation or make a purchase. Contrary to popular belief, Instagram can be a highly effective marketing channel for B2B companies. After all, Instagram’s user base is continuously growing, so the target audience for B2B marketers is also expanding.
With only 30% of B2B companies leveraging Instagram for content marketing, there’s plenty of room to take advantage of the space and stand out! If you are struggling to figure out how you can promote your B2B business on Instagram, let’s take a look at 13 B2B Instagram content ideas to spark your creativity!
While Instagram isn’t a primary sales-driving channel for B2Bs per se, there are tons of benefits to investing your time and efforts into social media platforms like Instagram. For example, Instagram can provide opportunities to:
- Strengthen your brand image
- Create brand awareness
- Humanize your brand
- Spark engagement with your brand and create positive customer experiences
- Share educational opportunities about your services/products
- Collect insights you can use to inform marketing campaigns
Since 75% of American businesses use the platform, there are many reasons to jump on the Instagram train to create a strong social media strategy aside from your sales and promotional content. Here’s what you should be posting on Instagram to really get ahead:
13 B2B Instagram Content Ideas to Spark Your Creativity
All that being said, it can be hard to come up with great B2B content ideas for Instagram…which is where we come into play. Here are 13 different ideas you can try as you look to jumpstart your B2B Instagram strategy.
1. Create Unique B2B Content
Sure, at the end of the day you are a business and you need to do everything you can to roll the dollars in, but Instagram is not another “selling” platform.
Of course, it’s tempting to use Instagram as another channel to broadcast your promotions, but you won’t gain a ton of traction if you rely solely on this plan. In fact, 56% of consumers believe that marketers spend too much time trying to push them to buy and not enough time thinking of ways to make consumers pay attention!
To be successful, you need to be strategic and look towards the more human experience of marketing. Instagram should uniquely be about connecting and building relationships with your target audience. Think about how Instagram can fill in the gaps of your existing marketing strategy and make use of the connections.
Struggling with product feedback? Take it to Instagram story polls!
Wanting people to understand how your products/services alleviate problems? Share your solutions in a fun, relatable way using video content!
Instagram will perform best when you create content uniquely for the platform.
2. Don’t Be a #Basic Thought Leader
We live in a world where everyone is trying to be an influencer, an Instagram model, or in the professional sense, a THOUGHT LEADER.
Since becoming a thought leader is the #basic goal of literally every business on the block, it’s so overworked and useless when it comes to Instagram.
As many people see the intrigue of creating “market dominance” or “savvy”, it’s important to create human connection paired with education.
As Instagram is primarily thought of as a B2C channel, B2B brands can still create content that Instagrammer prefers that focus on engagement and interactive elements. By using emotion-based and visual content to support hard business data, you can be a lot more successful than just blasting your audience with infographics without supporting content, CTAs, hashtags or relevant context.
If you are carving out your placement in the market then you are already a thought leader. If you take it to the next step and create interactive, emotional content to support those things, you are building a more important connection many businesses miss out on.
3. Let People Into Your Business Life
Instagram stories is a feature many businesses dabble with and you as a B2B business owner can also take advantage of it. Since the content you share is only up for 24 hours, this is a great way to share content that hypes people up for promotions, sales, big events, activities, product unveilings, etc you have coming up.
Sneak peeks are an extremely successful strategy for businesses wanting to create a more humanized and connected experience with their audiences. For example, many fashion apparel companies share sneak peeks into the upcoming line by sharing an Instagram LIVE video or stories feature. By sharing some of their favorites from the line, they create:
- Product recognition
- Plans to purchase
- Humanized experiences putting faces to brands
- Trust that products are quality as you see them
- Connection by allowing customers to feel “a part” of the business
Building a buzz using Instagram Stories creates instant feelings and onus on your audience to engage right now as the opportunity won’t be there tomorrow. By grabbing attention like that, you can subliminally push your brand narrative, increase excitement around offers and mostly create a sense of exclusivity many want to act on.
4. Get Your Employees Jazzed
Although you should have a pretty solid Instagram account for your business, that is not the only place you should rely on content distribution. Believe it or not, employees are some of your biggest, and most underutilized, referral resources from a content standpoint.
In fact, did you know that:
- Employees have an average of 1,090 social connections (and growing)
- Employees have 5x more reach than corporate accounts
- Social followers of your employees are 7x more likely to convert
- 67% of consumers surveyed say they are likely to purchase an item or service they see on their social feeds. (B2C)
- Brand messages reached 561% further when shared by employees vs the same messages shared via official brand social channels (MSLGroup)
- Earned media (press, word-of-mouth, peer-to-peer referrals) drives 4x the brand lift as paid media.
With numbers like that, you should be asking and helping employees feel confident in sharing not only your business content, but sharing their experiences working with the organization. Most times, you’ll find that many of your employees are thrilled to post about your company on Instagram, so take advantage of their passion and repurpose their posts for your account!
To make things easy, provide ready-made content visuals to simply re-post!
Many B2B businesses are sharing all types of fun employee centered content. One of the most unique is REI who offers gear rentals and discounts and learning activity classes and two annual “Yay Days”: paid-time-off to go outside and use the outdoor gear they sell for such activities as hiking, biking, climbing, camping and skiing. The outdoor outfitter cares about the health and work-life balance of its enthusiastic and adventurous employees. You can see that in the employee advocated content below:
REI not only created content that highlights their brand mission and products but helps people see the type of company they are: one that focuses on stewardship and giving back.
Like them, you can have employees share what they love about your company, highlight a campaign, etc. The best spokespeople for your business online are not always your copywriters, they are your cubicle-sitting receptionists, accountants and sales reps!
Give them the spotlight and they will reap great benefits for your business which will also inspire new content creation!
5. Get LIVE-ly
Yes, I think many people are tired of seeing people sitting in cars chatting about a “cause” they care about or makeup tutorials you never asked for on Instagram Live but there is still a lot of value that feature can provide to B2B businesses.
But when it comes to going live, B2B content is a bit more substantial as it’s professional and it is talking about legitimate things a business is providing/doing. If a well-known business is imparting wisdom, smaller businesses are probably turning in to learn more from the “Titans.”
For example, if Herman Miller was going LIVE about a certain topic, wouldn’t smaller design firms tune in to benefit from the knowledge they are sharing? So, like this example, you can create Instagram LIVE opportunities to reach and connect with other businesses.
Some ways you can do this are:
- Trade show features
- Interviewing industry leaders or key speakers at events your business attends
- Spotlight employees who are demoing your products
- Sharing CEO tips on understanding the industry
- Sharing trends to look out for etc…
Instagram Live provides a lot of tangible experiences many businesses are not creating for their audiences. Get ahead of the game and plan out live sessions that will inform, inspire and educate people about your business.
6. Hashtags are Your Friend
On top of creating actual content pieces, it is also important for B2B businesses to consider making brand, culture and campaign specific hashtags. By using hashtags specific to your business in those three levels, it creates public content curated and organized in a way that puts not just your brand’s story but your customers’ stories front and center.
For example, Lyn Christian of Soul Salt is a business coach in Salt Lake City and she has developed hashtag groupings that greatly brand and benefit her business content.
For example, her brand hashtag is #InspiredBadAss but she could also create traffic related hashtags that make her B2B content easily found by people trying to find it like:
If she wanted to create a campaign around her passion of anti-bullying, a common topic she talks about on her blog and social accounts, she could create a hashtag like #SaltOfTheEarth and inspire people to share photos of being “different” and kind to one another.
Like this example, by threading together the stories of services, brand and customer-created content, you are socially interacting with the public in a way that is engaging and organized.
7. Make Your URL Link Work
Instagram is awesome as it allows you to share one URL link in your business page bio but if there was a way to get more out of a single link, you would take advantage of it, right?
Well, considering Instagram does not allow you to link to websites within captions or posts your bio is the sole place to direct traffic from the platform to your intended content place.
Your business bio link is a great place to share your latest blog post or offers but you can also max out your content opportunities by integrating apps like Linktree to create a custom link that includes a page with more links, allowing you to share up to five links and get the most out of your bio link!
8. Be a Story Teller
On Instagram, the businesses that tell the most interesting stories build the largest audiences. If you want to attract people to your business and get them to engage with you, you need consistent visual storytelling that cuts through all the noise on Instagram.
For example, Intel did a movement called #ILookLikeAnEngineer that broke engineering stereotypes and shared the story of their talented employees. Jumping on this viral bandwagon with such enthusiasm called attention to the strength of Intel’s corporate culture and surely went a long way toward helping its recruitment efforts.
Like them, do not limit yourself to sharing your company timeline story. You can share all types of content stories from:
- Breaking stereotypes
- Sharing historical fun facts about your business
- Explain the business name or slogan
- Creating campaigns around common FAQs and have fun with it
- Starting hashtags highlighting a unique company culture element
- Visual images from clients
When strung together well, a business can create an interesting story that will draw people in.
9. Be a Show-Off
What better place to show off new products or feature updates than on Instagram where people can find and share information quickly!
Instagram is a great place B2B businesses can showcase revamped websites, products or new announcements! For example, Adobe shares new features and how you can use them in their Instagram stories!
By throwing in a bit of creativity, you can stand out in the marketplace with your products and services!
10. Create Some Throwbacks
Everyone loves looking back, hence the popularity of #ThrowbackThursday so as a B2B business, dig into the archives and look for old content to share!
By sharing historical images, you can show people how long you have been in business which creates in some way a special type of social proof or professionalism and growth. There are tons of big and small businesses alike that have a ton of fun with this content share:
So, whether you are brand spanking new in the B2B world, or you definitely have content like this in your business archives, start collecting photos, ads, and related materials now—it’s never too early to prepare for whatever nostalgia marketing we might be doing in the future!
For #TBT and beyond, people love doing business with companies that clearly have a long history!
11. Show Some Love
Many times B2B businesses do not take advantage of the glowing reviews they get, so a great low hanging content fruit is to share your clients’ success stories! This is an effective way to build credibility and trust within your audience as everyone loves themselves a review to trust and stand by.
By having people rally around your cause, these stories/videos/quote images.etc will help create the feeling that you are a legitimate business with real-life success.
What’s more, they can also boost people towards those final sales! So, whether it is sharing quoted visual images, getting testimonial videos, etc, make the most of the positive things people have to say about you!
12. Let Influencers Influence
Sure, influencer marketing has historically been a B2C tactic, but not anymore! Believe it or not, many B2B businesses are dabbling with the idea of hiring or partnering with influencers to improve the brand impact they have on social media.
Like B2C businesses, influencer marketing is a strategy that focuses on using these social influencers to drive your business message to a larger market instead of marketing directly to them yourself. Since social proof spreads like wildfire through social media these days, influencers are an easy way to add fuel to the fire! Influencers have the social power to persuade their large audiences to promote, buy and follow a brand they discuss or feature on their pages.
American Express, for example, partnered with influencers on Instagram for its #AmexAmbassador series, which targeted C-suite executives in charge of business purchasing decisions. These campaigns helped build contextual ethos for the brand and acted as a form of social proof, with external sources validating the product/service at hand.
So, to find the best influencer for your B2B business, look for a relevant figure within your niche who has upwards of 50K followers so you can be sure your reaching a large, engaged audience. If you’re having a hard time investing in bigger influencers, dip your toe into the strategy and look at micro-influencers that although are smaller in following, they are often more niche.
BONUS: Set Up Google Alerts
A tool to help you create relevant content on recent topics in your industry is using Google Alerts.
It is a free tool that lets you easily monitor the web for interesting topics you can use for content ideas! To get notifications about new, relevant content, you need to create your alerts based on keywords. Let’s say you want to monitor the web for creative suite news from adobe to comment on as a smaller design firm. In this case, type “adobe” or “adobe suite” into the search bar and click the “Create Alert button.”
Your alert will appear in the list below the search bar. Click the pencil icon to tweak the settings for your alert. Once your alert is set up, you’ll receive regular notifications about the topics of your choice on your email address.
If you get them sent to you in the morning, you can easily read through and create a Instagram story asking opinions on recent topics!
B2B Instagram Content Ideas to Try
With the ideas we’ve covered here, you can take a fresh approach to your B2B marketing efforts on Instagram that will help you stand out in the market with content outside of the sales approach!
Creating unique content might stretch you out of your comfort zone, but with a smart strategy and a willingness to connect with your audience, you will find the awesome tactics needed to drive incredible results to your B2B brand.
If you have questions or want some help brainstorming content ideas, I can totally help! Reach out to me here for any B2B questions you have. We love working with B2B at Disruptive!
What are some of your favorite Instagram posts from B2B businesses? What did they do right and how did it change the way you wanted to share content online?
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