Instagram as a social business tool is not a novel concept by any means. 48.8% of brands have embraced it as a key player in their social media strategy; that number is expected to rise to nearly 71% in 2017. For businesses outside of the consumer space, it can be difficult to map out how Instagram can be used to tell their story & assist in marketing efforts. Something like networking technology may not obviously lend itself to the channel’s visual nature.
Yet one trend we’ve seen across several industries – including B2B technology – is Instagram’s ability to drive higher engagement, especially in proportion to the amount of time being spent on the channel (which is typically less than that spent on Facebook, Twitter, etc.). Over the past few months, we’ve worked with a handful of companies on social audits, examining their activity & results. We consistently found Instagram to be one place where, based on their data, they should be dedicating more effort.
Below are three examples representing a brand in three different industries: consumer, higher education, and B2B tech. There are two charts per company – one breaking down the percentage of posts being shared on each channel and another displaying a breakdown of overall engagement per channel. The data encompasses about a year’s worth of social posts.
Higher Education Industry
B2B Tech Industry
In each of the above charts, Instagram is driving a higher engagement return than the time being put into the channel. Particularly in the higher ed & consumer examples, Instagram is driving the second highest amount of engagement – despite these brands spending relatively little time on the channel.
The moral of the story? Don’t neglect Instagram. It may not seem like a natural fit for many, but metrics tell us otherwise. Audiences on Instagram are actively engaged. You may not have more followers than you do on other channels, but they are likely to be more interactive.
This doesn’t mean you need to dive in and start posting 2-3 images per day with five million hashtags that may or may not be relevant to what you’re sharing. (We don’t want to saturate our audience to death.) What it does mean is that it’s time to start paying more attention. It’s time to start dedicating a bit more time to the channel – even if that means starting out with 2-3 posts per week and working your way up as you get a feel for your audience.
If Instagram is new to you from a business perspective– especially if you’re one of our non-consumer friends – here are a few different content ideas to consider that have been met with success.
- Tap into the community. Whether you’re at an HQ or a locally based business, there is some place that you call home. Instagram is a great way to incorporate the local community into your posts. Whether it’s city imagery or snapshots of your employees volunteering at a local event, showcasing your homebase is a great way to strengthen relationships with the community. It becomes less ‘me, me, me’ and more ‘us,us,us.’
- Team up with brand evangelists. Brand loyalists can be your best promoters. Evangelists across all industries have made names for themselves by showcasing their brand love – either within their own niche community or even on a broader front. Tap into them! Have them do a brief tutorial on how they use your product or show off the latest way they used it to create something new. You can create a formal influencer program or start off simple and ask permission to regram a photo. However you chose to start, it’s one way to expand visibility and show love to your biggest fans.
- Show off your culture. This is one example where B2B brands can shine. B2B companies often have some pretty cool office spaces. Show it off! Got a secret meeting room hidden in your HQ? Or a game room that every inner kid inside us would die for? Bring audiences into your workspace. This includes highlighting employees; show off the hardworking folks behind the scenes at work and at play. In doing so, you may also start attracting future talent to your business.
- Bring events to the masses. Many large companies have large user events or attend popular industry conferences. The downside for many is that they can get expensive. Instagram is one way to bring an event to those at home who couldn’t attend. Instagram’s Stories feature, for example, can provide ongoing snapshots of what’s happening on the ground – or even live video from the event (a newer feature of Stories).
Instagram offers a visual experience for your audience. It offers up another way for them to get to know your company outside of gimmicky sales lines. We know people are engaging there; it’s worth a try. If you’re ready to dive in further, here are additional resources for you to help work within Instagram’s algorithm and another perspective on how healthcare brands can use the channel.