Instagram is the hottest social media channel going with an estimated 75 percent of U.S. marketers using it in 2020, says Hootsuite. Estimates have the number of users on the channel close to a billion; you can bet your customers are there, too. If you aren't including this important channel in your marketing plan, you may want to re-think the opportunity. Here are a few tips to help you maximize your efforts and impact.
10 Instagram Tips For B2B Marketers
- No more stock images that hide your brand. It used to be that buying an image from a stock photography house was acceptable. You cropped it, added a good caption, posted it, and all done. Not so much any more! Instagram users want to see inside your company in real time. That means using authentic, in-the-moment content like stories and streaming to show off your brand and culture are preferred.
- Feature your VIPs. If you’re trying to humanize your company, there’s no better way than to feature someone in your organization to be the face of your brand. Maybe it’s the CEO, perhaps it’s a product manager; either way, you can feature people in a story, or on a 60-second video post. The thing to remember, though, is consistency. Create a schedule, say two posts weekly with people who have relevant things to say to your customers. And, stick with it!
- Don’t be shy. If you’re new to Instagram, even a few years in, it can be overwhelming. The way to overcome potential shyness is to engage. Social media is not a one-way street, ever. It requires give and take: you post, you browse, you comment somewhere, and you earn attention from others in your target market. The really neat thing about engagement and having brief conversations with others is that you’re showing your brand’s personality. People, prospects and customers like to know you’re accessible to them.
- When you create a business profile as a business and brand, your bio allows one link. That link can be first to your website and then you can drill down with a specific link as needed. If you’re running a campaign with a landing page, switch out your link to point to that page. You’ll be able to track analytics from there, too. While it may be a hassle to continuously switch out links, it’s worth the time and effort in the end.
- Assign someone to the Instagram beat at your company. If no one is capturing pictures, then there’s no one posting them, either. There are a number of ways to promote your brand and culture: you can have a team of roving photographers take pictures at the company picnic, on volunteer day, when a new product is coming out of production, if there’s a celebration, or a company announcement. Certainly, the content needs to be approved in marketing before it goes live, but you get the idea.
- Make sure your profile photo makes sense, is visible and sized correctly. Instagram profile pictures, sometimes called avatars, are small circles that display 110 x 110 pixels. Upload a file that is 320 x 320 pixels so it looks good. Instagram will allow you to upload a slightly larger image.
- Your future employees are likely to be on Instagram. Among those billion users on Instagram, a majority are in the age range that you hire: 25+, right? That means your Instagram marketing should not only be attractive to potential clients, but potential employees, too. Think about what appeals to current employees working at your company, and then feature several in a marketing campaign to promote your company as a “best place to work.”
- Know when to post. Hootsuite has analyzed more than 259,000 posts from 11 different industries. Here are the best posting times for those industries, according to their research:
- Travel and tourism: Friday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Media and entertainment: Tuesday and Thursday, 12 to 3 p.m.
- Food and beverage: Friday, 12 p.m.
- Retail: Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, 12 p.m.
- Professional services: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, 9 or 10 a.m.
- Non-profit: Tuesday, 10 a.m. or 4 p.m.
- Non-retail e-commerce: Thursday, 4 or 9 p.m.
- Pharma and healthcare: Wednesday and Sunday, 9 a.m.
- Personal care: Thursday and Friday, 1, 2, or 3 p.m.
- Technology: Monday and Tuesday, 2 p.m.
- Education: Thursday, 4 or 5 p.m.
9. Pay attention to hashtags. You may think hashtags are frivolous, as you’re permitted 30 hashtags per Instagram post (but very few do that). Do some research to see who’s using the hashtags that apply to your business (these are your customers) and then begin crafting authentic content featuring these hashtags.
10. Use SEO techniques with keywords in your bio, hashtags and captions. Your brand will benefit because your customers will find you and vice versa. Every day, 2 million Instagram users surf the channel using search and Explore. There are 14 category tabs in the Explore feature that your brand can be featured in with the keywords you choose to use.
Essentially, the more creative you get, the better your brand will present on Instagram. Know your audience, find them on Instagram, and start building an interesting feed to build your followers. And, don’t forget to have fun with it, because it is fun!