With over 300 million users as at the end of 2014, it’s time for every business that hasn’t got a presence on Instagram to consider (or reconsider) this giant social media provider.
Back a couple of years ago, there was huge debate over the types of products which should utilise what kind of social media platform, or whether it should utilise any. Marketers went to great extent in analysing the typical user profile for each platform and how businesses should pick and choose the right platform(s) to ensure they talk to the right target audience.
There is also a popular and long-standing belief that certain industries are just unfit for social media by nature (except perhaps LinkedIn), such as most B2B industries. In regards to Instagram, many people tend to think it’s only suitable if the product or service can be presented in the format of unique and sharable pictures.
Instagram for B2B Industries
I disagree with this line of thought profusely. Any business can utilise Instagram if the business marketer is able think creatively. Your business doesn’t need to look or sound pretty and you don’t have to run a B2C business to take advantage of Instagram. Regardless if you are a plumber or sell mechanical parts to other business, nothing prevents you from achieving success on Instagram.
It’s all about creative thinking. What I mean is there is always at least one facet of your business that’s photogenic for Instagram. It could be the great personality or interest of your staff, or the smiling face of a customer. You need to look for the bits and pieces in every dimension within and around your business that can create a good visual story on Instagram, as well as, generating positive associations back to your business.
Every business is made of at least one person. Instagram is full of people with various life experiences. It’s always possible to connect your business to the potential customers on Instagram, as long as you communicate to your audiences on human terms and present what they are interested in seeing. Instagram is a social network site after all.
Benefits of Instagram for Your Business
I know some of you might wonder - if my business only sells to other businesses, is there a point being on Instagram? Again, think creatively and outside of the box. For every business, Instagram provides you the opportunity to showcase your culture and fun elements of your business, which you might not find 100% suitable for LinkedIn. Christmas parties, business functions or staff holidays make great posts too.
As a B2B product owner, you can also utilise Instagram to make an impact on your end customers (who are the customers of your B2B clients) and get them interested in your client’s offering which is made from/enabled by your own product.
Intel, the global semiconductor chip maker, has a large following of 126k on Instagram. Instead of focusing on the boring-looking images of their products, Intel’s Instagram page showcases the more colourful aspects of their brand - sponsored events, sexy gadgets with Intel chips embedded, and happy customers of everything that’s ‘Intel Inside’.
Last but not least, have some faith in your customers’ imagination. The good thing about visual storytelling on Instagram is that you don’t have to spell everything out. Use metaphors, cues and parodies to add interest to your content. Use filters to create a tone or make things look legendary. Leave the rest to your audience’s imagination.