Instagram: The Next Big Platform for B2B Marketing?

 

Over the years you’ve mastered Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to increase engagement rates for your company. Now Instagram seems to be taking the B2B marketing spotlight — could it be all it’s cracked up to be for B2B marketing?

Social Media AppsHopping onto the social media train has been pivotal for both B2B and B2C marketers. Today, 42% of the world uses social media (the “world”, as in 3B+ people) and 54% of social media users utilize these platforms to research product purchases. With average daily social media use now exceeding 2 hours, it’s no surprise that it’s now essential to executing a successful marketing campaign.

And each offers something a little different. Twitter provides direct access to audiences and their opinions. Despite its recent controversies, 69% of Americans still use Facebook consistently while LinkedIn is clearly the #1 channel for B2B marketers to share their content. For B2B companies, these platforms offer a direct look at what their customers are thinking and saying — something that was previously very difficult to get.

The Growing Acceptance of Instagram as a B2B Marketing Platform

For a while, Instagram did not carry the same versatility and did not offer the same features as these other platforms. Its reach was much smaller, and posts had to be aesthetically pleasing photos or videos with minimal text. Customers searching for B2B companies weren’t exactly flocking to Instagram and stuck to what they knew — Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn.

But now, with more than 500 million daily users (and 1 billion monthly users), Live Stories, and the ability to create video marketing without diving into YouTube, Instagram has climbed the ranks. Additionally, it’s extremely popular with millennials who now make up more than 35% of the American labor force. Using InstagramBut does it really offer advantages to B2B marketing teams?

Instagram Videos and What They Can Do For You

While video might be taking digital marketing by storm, creating videos with enough content to post on YouTube can often be difficult. Instagram offers an alternative where posting short videos is acceptable (and preferred!) — the average video length is about 30 seconds. This means you can use Instagram videos to post a variety of content, including:

  • New product launches
  • Highlights on existing products
  • Promotions or sales
  • Stories about your product, brand, or company
  • Product demos
  • Customer testimonials
  • Expert interviews
  • Messages or memes that are relevant to your audience

People today are choosing more and more to watch their content instead of reading it, especially busy B2B professionals. Using Instagram’s short-video format to promote any content can increase engagement with your audience.

The Purpose of Instagram Stories

instagram storiesIt’s important to start somewhere. What are Instagram Stories, and how do they benefit your marketing campaigns? Instagram Stories sit on the top of someone’s feed and have similar “FOMO” appeal to Snapchat since they only last 24 hours. You can post videos and images to your “Story” that are only visible to your followers. Stories now serve as a creative outlet for brands to showcase products, events, or customer experiences (and sometimes have a little fun). They may even drive traffic, too!

This part of the platform offers many new and unique ways for you to interact with your audiences. On Instagram Stories, you can post interactive polls or quizzes, previews to longer pieces of content (like YouTube videos), relatable memes, customer stories or images, and more. It’s another way to encourage direct and instantaneous engagement with your customers and stay top of mind.

Are Instagram Stories a good fit for B2B companies?

There’s no argument that Stories-like content across social media platforms has increased customer engagement rates for B2C companies. The real question lies in whether the same increases occur for B2B companies. Some marketing leaders believe this is not the case. Ryan Deiss, CEO, and Founder of Digital Marketer is one of them.

At HYPERGROWTH 2019, Deiss shared three unpopular marketing trends he believes we should all be aware of. Second of these trends posited that “no one is actually ‘following’ you on social media,” it’s primarily used for entertainment and is not a serious search platform, meaning potential customers don’t care to see your total shock B2B marketing or customer stories. A harsh statement that many in B2B marketing may disagree with and not want to hear.

Deiss does, however, recommend paid social across all platforms to guarantee customer engagement instead of utilizing platform capabilities like Stories. In his eyes, creating more valuable and properly placed ads is what will payout in the long run.

What’s the right answer? Share your experiences!

At the end of the day, it’s up to your marketing team to decide on whether they believe in the power of Instagram Stories. It’s an easy-to-use, free application with obvious reach and a high number of users. While some swear by it, others dismiss its effectiveness. So what say you?

Questions? Does your team have experience with Instagram? Let us know what you think in the comments below, or reach out to us anytime!

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