Instagram. Whether you love it or loathe it, it's more than just an app for taking photos of your food. But is it right for your social media strategy?
We’re all familiar with the benefits of social media marketing. More exposure for your business, increased traffic and leads, improved sales, developing loyal fans, and so on.
Common sense would argue that if you want to generate awareness of your brand, then the more social media platforms you infiltrate, the better.
On the other hand, could you be better off putting your efforts into one or two social media platforms that are the best fit for your business, and not worrying about the others?
LinkedIn is an obvious choice for B2B companies. Facebook is the most used social media platform, so the potential reach is vast. Though it can be more effective for B2C brands.
Then there’s Twitter. Usage may be falling, but it’s rare for a B2B business not to have a presence.
And what about Instagram?
As the fastest growing social media platform, could your B2B business benefit from investing in an Instagram marketing strategy?
How do you know if it’s right for you?
Instagram marketing trends
First, let’s take a look at some Instagram marketing trends.
According to the Social Media Marketing Industry Report 2019:
- 66% of B2B marketers are using Instagram - up from 57% in 2018
- Instagram is now considered the second most important social platform for marketing (behind Facebook), surpassing LinkedIn for the first time
- Instagram has become the number-one platform marketers want to learn about
But why all the fuss?
Benefits of Instagram marketing
There are more than 1 billion monthly active users of Instagram worldwide, roughly 60% of which access the platform every day. That’s more monthly users than both LinkedIn (610 million users) and Twitter (321 million users).
Mobile internet usage has overtaken desktop and laptop usage. And unlike Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, Instagram was made for mobile. It was the only one of the ‘big four’ originally conceived as an app. Although the others have all invested heavily in their mobile apps, Instagram’s minimalist interface is far more intuitive and easy to use for mobile users.
Of course, it’s not just followers, likes and comments that you’re after. You need leads, right. Research shows that 70% of Instagram users will use the platform to check out a brand they’re considering. What’s more, one in five organic Instagram stories shared by businesses gets a direct message.
How to know if Instagram marketing is right for your B2B business
Though Instagram can be a fantastic tool for building engagement with potential buyers, it doesn’t make sense for every B2B business. So how do you know if it’s right for yours?
Here are three questions to ask yourself to determine whether or not Instagram marketing is worth your time and effort.
Are your ideal customers on Instagram?
Before you dive headfirst into setting up an Instagram profile, it’s important to figure out whether your ideal customers are using it. Depending on the demographics of the people you want to attract to your business, Instagram may not be the right solution for you. If you know who your ideal customers are, you can determine if marketing on Instagram would be beneficial for you.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Instagram skews towards younger users. Approximately 71% of Instagram’s users are under the age of 35. A visual platform like Instagram is a must for targeting younger generations. But this isn’t to say you won’t reach older audiences on Instagram. That still leaves 29% of Instagram’s 1 billion users who are aged 35 and older.
Looking at gender, while there are more women than men using Instagram, among active users there is an even gender split, with 52% female and 48% male.
So do your research. Think about your buyer personas and what you know about their demographics and psychographics. Are they the type of people that might use Instagram?
Are your competitors using it?
If you haven’t already done so, you should take a look at whether your competitors have an Instagram presence. If they are on Instagram and they have developed a following, it will confirm to you that your ideal customers are using Instagram. In which case, it’s almost certainly worth giving it go in the hope of both connecting with potential buyers and keeping pace with competitors.
However, Instagram requires a careful strategy. Be wary of diving straight in before doing some proper research and planning. The last thing you want is for your ideal customers to make negative comparisons of your Instagram efforts versus those of competitors’.
Do you have engaging content to share?
Instagram is all about visuals. For this reason, it may be best suited to companies who sell products that can be captured via images. Think food, fashion and homeware brands, for instance. But also, for designers, digital marketers, web developers and other creatives, whose products aren’t physical objects, Instagram is a great place to showcase what you can do for your clients.
However, there’s a lot more you can share beyond just your products. According to HubSpot, this is the type of content companies should be sharing on Instagram:
- Behind-the-scenes content
- User-generated content
- Inspiring or motivational quotes
- Interesting statistics
- Timely or current events posts
- Humorous images or videos
- Compelling drawings or graphics
Instagram is your chance to show your prospects and customers who you are; your personality, your values, and your people. For professional services companies, for example, your ‘product’ is your people. Buyers will want to know who you are before committing to partnering with you, and Instagram gives you an opportunity to show them.
Instagram can be a fantastic marketing tool - but only if it helps you to grow your business. If your ideal customers are using Instagram, your competitors are leveraging it, and you have some great ideas for content, then don’t wait to get started. Set out a strategy and let your creativity flow.
If you're wanting to get started, you might find it helpful to read some of our previous articles on the topic:
- Instagram Marketing for business - what you need to know
- How to tackle B2B Instagram marketing
- How to use Instagram stories to generate leads