With over 1 billion people using Instagram every month and over 200 million users visiting at least one business profile every day, Instagram means business! At present time, 96 percent of businesses of all sizes and industries are using Instagram to promote their products and services and see return on investment as 75 percent users take action – such as visiting a website after seeing a brand’s post.
At first glance it might seem that the social network is designed for individual influencers and B2C brands, but B2B brands are just as well positioned to see the full benefits Instagram has to offer. Instagram’s visual nature and mobile functionality is great for digital storytelling, allowing you to share in-the-moment experiences and tell your brand’s story, connect with your target audience and attract their attention. Here are few of our tried and tested tips to create a successful Instagram marketing strategy for your B2B brand:
1. Understand the Instagram algorithm
Instagram relies on machine learning based on your past behaviour to create a unique feed for everyone. The Instagram algorithm was built to show you high-engagement posts first and tries to predict what photos and videos are the most important to you, using three main factors to determine this: interest, timeliness, and relationship. This means that even if you follow the exact same accounts as someone else, you’ll get a personalised feed based on how you interact with those accounts. The truth is that the algorithm will change again, so the only true way to make a lasting impact is great content, knowing your audience and engaging with them regularly and keeping an eye on the latest algorithm updates.
2. Engage with your target audience
Social media is about engagement, not self-promotion. One sided conversations will only get you so far. In addition to interesting, visually attractive posts and captions pay attention to your target audience. The more you interact with others on social media, the more visible your posts and your own profile will become. Follow others, share and like their content and you will see that by helping others, you will help your own brand too. In addition, reply to comments on your posts and engage in a conversation to show there is a human behind your brand who cares about feedback and wants to be in touch with their audience. Following the latest algorithm update, if you reply to comments left on posts within 60 minutes, Instagram will reward you for making an effort to connect with your followers and will generate more exposure for the post.
3. Build a brand community
If your followers or customers are posting photos relevant to you, repost their photos. Showing engagement and interacting online will give your Instagram brand extra exposure, especially if combined with hashtags and location. Tag the person who originally posted the photo (using the @ sign) and add a hashtag that indicated this is a repost – #regram or #repost are good ones to use. Encourage discussions, run competitions or introduce a hashtag unique to your brand to turn your target audience into a brand community on Instagram.
4. Use Instagram stories
Stories are used by 500 million users daily, both individuals and businesses and their disappearing nature means they are perfect for live broadcasting and attention-grabbing visuals. 50% of businesses on Instagram worldwide created at least one story during a typical month. Since the new algorithm may not show your post to everyone, adding a story guarantees that more of your followers will see it. The algorithm takes into account all actions of engagement, so the more engagement, the more likely your posts will show up in the feed.
5. Add relevant hashtags
Posts with at least one Instagram hashtag average 12.6% more engagement than posts without a hashtag. Hashtags work in a same way as search terms when you are looking for information via the search engine. They help your content to be found by new followers and create brand consistency. Using relevant hashtags means that users will be able to find your post and profile without following you and it’s an effective way to organically grow your followers. You have 30 hashtags to use in any one post, you can also use up to 30 hashtags in your comments and have up to 15 in your Instagram stories. It can be tempting to use all 30, highly popular tags, but that is not your best route. Sure, you will see a surge in likes and followers the first couple of times you use them, but that won’t last. Concentrate instead on using hashtags that have been used anywhere from 50,000 to max 500,000 times. It will help your content stay more visible for longer. In addition, consider long tail hashtags. With millions of users filling up common hashtags with their posts, you’ll have less competition with long tail hashtags and your post will stay on the hashtag feed longer.
6. Include geotags
A geotag is a form of metadata attached to an online update showing your location. If your business is located at a specific address, add the location in your posts. Geotags are an effective way for users to share their whereabouts with other users and can help businesses to share information about their location, so that customers can find their brick-and-mortar shops and offices. Similar to your hashtags, it will make your posts visible in local searches and help your potential visitors to find you. Share your business location in your social media posts and stories, so it’s easier for your consumers to find you and create a photo map to demonstrate the extent of your brand reach and engage with local followers.
7. Stay true to your brand
60 percent of the top brands on Instagram use the same filter for every post. By having the same filter your style will become recognisable to your followers. Create a visually consistent profile that aligns with all your other visuals such as your website and any other marketing collateral related to your business. Instagram offers a variety of options, so use them to your advantage to tell your brand story. Further to a standard image of which you can post up to 10 in one post, you can also post a minute-long video, create a story with many filters and gifs, and then there is IGTV. Use the type of content that best represents your business and focus on how you want to be perceived by your target audience.