Instagram's popularity has rapidly grown, attracting all ages of users looking for a platform that provides an outlet for visual expression and creativity. Acquired by Facebook in 2012, Instagram is a mobile-driven social media platform that is quickly becoming the best friend of marketers. Since Instagram is primarily utilized only on mobile devices, it has quickly become the preferred social network for anyone with a smart phone. As B2C marketers flock to the app to build their following, B2B marketing on Instagram can be a bit more challenging. Below is our ultimate guide for how you can best utilize the app to achieve your goals and how to grow your Instagram following.
Define your audiences.
The first thing you need to do is to segment your audiences. As a B2B brand, you most likely have multiple audiences, ranging from types of prospects to talent you are looking to recruit. Which of these audiences is most likely using Instagram? If only one of your audiences can be found on Instagram, focus your content on them. If you have multiple audiences on Instagram then you may have content addressing each audience. Sometimes you have to jump in to figure out which audiences are using the app.
Identify your audiences' interests.
Now that you know who you are talking to, it is time to figure out what to say. This can be done by creating personas for each audience. In your personas you will want to indentify the interests of each. What would they find interesting? What do they want to learn about your company or brand? It is possible that Instagram is a recruiting tool, in which case, you will focus on sharing your company culture. You may find that your prospects are on Instagram and they are interested in tips and tricks for using your products. You can share quick how-to videos or text-based images with tips or shortcuts. If you produce quality or highly customizable goods or services, showcase those aspects so your audience can see those characteristics. You want to use visual communication to best showcase your offerings.
Quality over quantity.
One universal truth about the Instagram user base is that they appreciate quality content that is visually stimulating. Quality, creative content will always outperform low resolution stock content. Because of this, you are better served to take the time to generate quality photos or graphics rather than posting frequently. Keep in mind that every piece of content you publish contributes to your building your brand. Our rule of thumb is that you should not post any graphics that you wouldn not be comfortable using in paid ad space.
An Instagram following is not exactly a situation where if you build it, they will come. While posting quality content is a key ingredient, you must take time to interact with your audience(s). This can be as simple as liking posts. There are two best practices for finding the best users and content to engage with. The first is to search relevant hashtags. You can use industry specific hashtags, location relevant hashtags, or hashtags that are specific to an interest. This is more trial and error than anything, but once you find the right hashtags, you'll be on your way. The second way is to target followers and followings of your competitors. They have built up a following that you know must have some interest in your industry, so there is a mutual interest they may share with your brand or company.
Building a quality audience does require some elbow grease. While you could easily build a following with ads for some black hat tactics, those followers will not be truly interested in your content, meaning you will not get as much value from your audience over time. Continuously fine tune your efforts until you find your groove, then you will start to see your efforts pay off.
Social media plays a major role in every brand's inbound strategy. Make sure to set goals for your social media efforts and review the analytics regularly. The analytics will guide you and you will be reaching your goals in no time at all.