Source: Pixabay

Source: Pixabay

B2B marketers have been slow to join Instagram. Yet the businesses that have embraced this social platform see gains in brand awareness and engagement as well as enhanced relationship building. Use these seven steps as a cheat sheet to get your B2B IG off the ground. 

#1 Understand the potential

Instagram is projected to hit 1 billion users by October of this year. In fact, the social platform is growing faster than ever. The channel gained its last 100 million users even faster than its first 100 million.

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#2 Recognize the audience

You may think Instagram is only for young people’s selfies and pictures of food, but in fact the fastest growing user segment in 2017 is females 40 – 50. Bet one of your B2B buyer personas is a woman in the business within that age range.

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#3 Know your target audience

If you don’t have the buyer personas just mentioned, get them. OK, now that you know your target audience and their pain points and passions, you can effectively leverage Instagram. Understanding your business customer base, you can focus on stories that speak to their interests and needs. Be engaged with them, too: Like their posts. Ask questions. Offer thanks for their engagement. Remember this is a social media — so, be social!

#4 Decide on an IG voice

Just as your other content marketing strategies have a brand voice, you’ll need to decide on your Instagram voice. Make it consistent. Your customers should be able to identify how the images you are curating reflect your brand’s image. Consider your values and mission and make content choices accordingly. You don’t need to re-gram every reference to your business; focus on those that help communicate the story you want to tell.  

#5 Always be #branding

Use branded hashtags on posts promoting new products or services and promotional opportunities. Offer attractive limited time deals, again with branded hashtags. These boost your discoverability and encourage engagement.

Another way to gain traction for a brand hashtag is to encourage employee engagement with the business IG account using the tag. Follow your employees on Instagram and encourage them to tag posts related to your company’s culture that help provide a well-rounded view of your brand.

#6 Curate user-generated content

You know your target audience and have followed them on Instagram to gain insight into their behaviors. Be on the lookout for user-generated content (UCG) that you can repost to further establish credibility. Repackage customer content to demonstrate your understanding of what they care about and how your product or service suits their needs. Again, use that #branding we already discussed.

#7 Don't be dull

It’s true of any B2B marketing. Regardless of your industry, you want to post content that is visually stimulating and creative while still relevant to what you do. Tara Wilson Agency (client plug) does a great job creating visually stimulating and educational content for Samsung’s B2B Instagram account. I’ll close out with some great examples of B2B brands finding fun and unique ways to stand out in their audience’s feed.

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Bonus Tip: Get to know the lingo. Can your brand plan to leverage #WednesdayWisdom or #FOMO “fear of missing out” when planning the content calendar? Employing IG slang can help your business join a larger, social conversation.