Could Instagram Be the Next Big Thing for B2B?

The short answer: not for everyone.

There’s no denying it – at the moment, Instagram is a largely B2C platform. Let’s take a look at the stats.

  • 72% of US teens use the platform
  • 71% of Instagram users are under the age of 35
  • 35% of online adults use Instagram

Clearly Instagram is largely skewed towards a younger audience, and unless there are some genius teens out there running B2B companies, it’s most likely not your audience. However, when you consider that 1 billion people use Instagram every month, that 35% suddenly becomes 350,000,000. Instagram has a strong potential to have a B2B audience- it just isn’t geared that way right now.

With that being said, there are some ways B2B businesses can benefit from Instagram today.

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Hurry Up… And Wait.

Like Twitter handles, once an Instagram handle is taken, it’s gone. We’ve been suggesting to our clients that you get on Instagram and create a company account- if only to reserve your handle.

Make the account look professional, fill out the bio, profile picture, and all the bells and whistles. But—it may not be the right moment for you to start posting. If your goal is lead generation or showcasing expertise, you may want to wait until Instagram becomes more geared to B2B (trust us, it’s coming).

However, there are three goals you can accomplish on Instagram right now.

Three B2B Goals for Instagram:

1.    Recruitment

Take another look at the statistics. 71% of Instagram users are under the age of 35. That means a lot of people just leaving school and looking for a job, or with a few years of experience under their belt. If you’re looking to use social media to create a talent acquisition pipeline for your company, Instagram could be the way to do it.

Instagram is a useful recruiting tool. It allows you to give candidates a behind-the-scenes look at what day-to-day life is like at your company. In order to use Instagram for recruitment, show as much of your current employees as possible. Highlight birthdays, promotions, celebrations. Instagram is a place for corporations to get away from the client-facing professional view and have a little more fun. Your Instagram should still be professional, but it should have an entirely different feel. Instead of selling products or services, you’re selling a culture to future employees.

What would make you want to work at a company?

Scroll through other company’s Instagram profiles, take a look at Hootsuite for example. They do an excellent job of showcasing people, culture, and work perks. They post pictures of Christmas parties, branded merchandise, and people hard at work on comfortable couches and pillows. They do a great job of showcasing the perks of their culture for employees.

2.    Community Outreach

Most companies do some sort of social work. It’s a great PR move, but, more importantly, it’s a great way to give back to your community. Instagram is where you can showcase this.

On platforms that are more copy focused like LinkedIn and Facebook, your company can come across as bragging about community service. But on Instagram, it’s more common for companies to post about community outreach programs in the first place. And because it’s focused on the visuals, you can focus in on some great pictures of employees hard at work in the soup kitchen, or running a 5k for charity, in a way that cheers them on instead of focusing on “look how great we are.”

When using Instagram for community outreach, make sure you remember your original audience. It’s one thing to post a picture of employees at a charity 5k, but it’s another to completely take over your Instagram for community outreach.

For example, maybe your company wants to promote summer reading for kids to improve literacy. It’s one thing to show a picture of your employees reading some books. It’s another to completely turn your Instagram into facts about summer reading geared towards kids for the entire summer. When that happens, you’ve forgotten about your original audience. Your audience, adult members of the workforce, won’t appreciate the simple language and silly visuals that go with posting for children. In favor of one community outreach program, you will have lost your original audience.

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3.    Company Culture

Instagram is a place to have fun and show the world who you are. Posting photos of your company culture is a great way to do that. Remember how you want to showcase your culture for talent acquisition purposes? Well you can also showcase another side of your company culture to display your client-facing values.

Instead of showcasing how dogs are allowed in the office, post some photos of employees displaying company values, whether that’s collaboration, giving back, doing the right thing, or remaining teachable. Build trust with your clients by showing them who they’re giving their money to, not just what they’re getting in return.

Any Questions?

Figuring out when to jump onto a new platform and when to wait can be tricky. How do you know when to take the plunge? How long will it take to build a new following and community?

When you’re stuck trying to decide when to make the leap, give New North a call. We’re proud to offer a free 30-minute social media consultation. Sign up for yours today.

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