Does Instagram Have Any Value To B2B Marketers?

Chris CrumSocial Media

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Instagram has obviously become a major channel of focus for some marketers, but it would seem that only B2C marketers place much significance on it.

Do you see Instagram as a valuable tool for B2B marketing? Share your thoughts in the comments.

A recent report from Social Media Examiner finds that while it's about on par with YouTube, Google+, and Pinterest for B2C marketers in terms of importance of social platforms, it doesn't even register with B2B marketers.

You would think from this information that B2B marketers see little value in Instagram as a marketing vehicle. It certainly seems to appeal much more to the B2C space. There's another stat in the report, however, that suggests otherwise. While B2C interest still dominates, 40% of B2B marketers intend to increase their Instagram activity.

Beverley Reinemann at Distilled lists some ways that B2B businesses should think about using Instagram, including telling your brand's story, establishing long-term connections, demonstrating skills, humanizing your brand, and creating a community.

"The key to leveraging Instagram as a marketing tool for B2B brands is to not think of it as a marketing tool at all. Instead, you want to think about Instagram as a way of telling your story as part of a larger online marketing strategy," she writes. "Fedex do this very well. Their Instagram feed is full of beautifully composed photos, many of which feature their easily-recognisable Fedex trucks and planes. In fact, you can’t scroll through the Fedex Instagram feed without feeling as though, while you’re idly scrolling, they’re hard at work. The impression, here, is that Fedex trucks are always moving, always delivering, always there. And, for businesses who rely on deliveries being on time, that’s a really important message to be able to take away."

Mention.com content and PR manager Brittany Berger recommends using Instagram to show your company's history, provide demos and tutorials, nurture thought leadership, share company news, promote content from other channels, enhance event marketing, highlight employees, run contests, and give company culture insight.

If you want to go the contest route, Social Media Today happens to have a new article out highlighting some different approaches and brands that gotten it right. Approaches include "like to win" contests, hashtag user-generated content contests, and email-gated contests. The brands that got it right, according to that article, are: Dunkin Donuts, Tony Hawk, and Absolut.

Totems has a nice ranking of the most popular B2B companies on Instagram. I'd sugggest perusing the accounts of some of those to get some ideas on how to approach your strategy.

You might also want to give this brief podcast from Link Humans on B2B Instagram use a listen:

And here's a presentation on the subject from Uberflip. Keep in mind it's from last year, so some stats are a little dated.

A while back, we talked to Gary Jordan of TheInstagramExpert.com, and he shared his thoughts on how businesses should approach getting started with the platform.

“You have to foster a conversation between your brand/business and your followers/customers,” he said. “The closer they feel to the business, the more likely they are to become a superfan. This can be done relatively easy on Instagram by just liking & commenting on the content of other users, and re-posting some of your favorite photos of theirs on your timeline and shouting them out.”

“Another good way to keep your followers engaged is to have them submit their best photos to you, that are related to your business or what it offers, for a chance for them to be featured on your page,” he added. “The best way to keep all submissions in order is by utilizing a specific hashtag that your followers can use to submit.”

There are plenty of other words of advice on the subject in our discussion here.

Do you see significant marketing opportunities in the B2B space with Instagram? Let us know what you think.

Related Reading:

Instagram Ads Getting More E-Commerce Friendly?

How Brands Are Generating Engagement On Instagram

Report Finds Shockingly Low Percentage Of Brands On Instagram

Why Aren’t More Brands Taking Advantage Of Instagram?

Facebook’s Organic Reach Murder Is Sending Brands to Instagram in Droves – But Are They Following a Sirens’ Song?

Graph via Social Media Examiner

Chris Crum

Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.