The most popular social media platform to conduct, influence and market your business is Instagram. The platform, which was founded on October 2010, has more than a BILLION people using it worldwide (as of march 2020). More than 500 million of them are active users; everyday, they are browsing content, posting stories or posts, commenting on other people’s content, messaging each other, video calling and having a good time. Interestingly, 56% of users are female while only 44% are male. For businesses, the important part is, more than 75% of Instagram population is below the age of 40. This means, a whopping majority of the people that businesses should be targeting right now are on Instagram! An entire target population, in one place, eagerly waiting to look at new content.
But what happens if a business is purely selling its products and services to other businesses? Such as a parts manufacturer, an ERP software company, a mergers and acquisitions firm, or the hundreds of other companies that help associate businesses perform their day to day operations? These companies are probably unknown to the public eye. The vital question now is, does a business, which solely manufactures products or provides services to other businesses, run and maintain an Instagram account?
The answer is YES.
There are numerous types of content that B2B businesses can share. However, since many businesses are mindful that, unlike B2C companies, a sale or contract (between two businesses) is nearly impossible through content and discussions on a social media platform alone, they completely go without having an Instagram account (or no social media platforms at all!). This is an enormous blunder on their part as they are missing out on a lot of opportunities to get information out to anyone who is not part of a sales meeting or discussions over coffee and can bring in revenue at a later period.
1. Company Vision and Mission
Since Instagram is solely thought of as a marketing tool, businesses tend to bombard their customers and followers with products, services and related content. What they fail to share with their target audience is a central message or theme that represents their business, thereby bringing out a ‘personality’.
The company WeWork does this correctly. Their mission is “to create a world where people work to make a life, not just a living,”. Therefore, their Instagram follows the theme of being passionate and excited about life with photos of funky office decorations and their employees at concerts and parties.
2. Showcasing Employee Engagement
Narayana Murthy once famously said “Our assets walk out of the door each evening. We have to make sure that they come back the next morning”. How about showcasing how happy your assets are?
Humanizing the work done can bring people closer. Subconsciously, seeing a happy workforce sends across a strong message that acts as an extremely powerful adhesive that binds people closer – current and potential employees, businesses, vendors and clients.
A lot can be learnt from IBM on this. Its Instagram account has the highest engagement rate of 4.1% of all B2B business Instagram accounts and they focus frequently on employee engagement at their offices.
3. Thought Leadership
Businesses are always looking to get ahead by keeping their shareholders happy and beating their competition. Always attending conferences, discussions, road shows, talks and other events to learn new facets that they can take back to their offices. Why not share thought provoking ideas and discussions as content on your Instagram account? Bring the discussion to your space to inspire intellectual engagements and associate your brand with knowledgeable content.
DELL does this skilfully. While it may appear that it’s completely filled with products and related content, they often post content inspiring debate and discussions on their account.
4. Behind the scenes
A lot of work goes into making a product or service come to life. Why not post ‘behind the scenes’ images or short clips to your followers demonstrating the care you as a business take and the effort that goes in making the final product? Short clips and non-confidential processes can be posted to garner interest online. This also humanizes the workspace (see point 2 – showcasing employee engagement), solving two problems at once.
Microsoft does a brilliant job in showcasing ‘behind the scene’ content. They not only are able to ensure subtle product and service placement, but also able to show and tell their audience what is it that their money is buying and products/ services that they can expect from Microsoft in the near future.
5. Company News
Are you one of those people who still reads the newspaper in the morning with a hot cup of coffee in your hand? If you are, you are a disappearing breed. Instagram accounts are most active early in the morning and late at nights. You would be surprised as to the number of people who are getting their news from social media platforms. Although offline news is still effective in getting information across (traditional readers make a healthy section of the 40 year+ population), social media platforms, especially Instagram will help you spread the word extensively and to corners of the world you wouldn’t expect information to travel to.
Not only can you share company news, businesses can also promote events and ask people to sign up via their Instagram accounts. Oracle has been doing this for a long time now. Not surprisingly, Oracle also tops the charts in B2B Instagram marketing through its effective strategies.
Considering that Instagram is the 2nd most engaged network in the world, and with the majority of the users being between 18-35, businesses should no longer even have a doubt of whether they should be on Instagram or not. And, there are a million ways to showcase creativity. Businesses may assume what they do is dull and uninteresting to people. However, all it takes is a little bit of imagination and a dash of colours to bring people together to engage with your content.
Like we always say, “Involve yourself to be inspired to innovate”. It’s that SIMPLE!