An Unfiltered Look at Instagram in B2B Marketing
When Facebook purchased the photo-sharing site Instagram earlier this year for one billion dollars, they certainly earned their fair share of sideways glances from the business community. One billion dollars for an app that lets you add filters to photos? Talk about an, “I wish I’d thought of that,” moment. However, despite the early criticism and skepticism surrounding the acquisition, it appears Zuckerburg and co. may have known what they were doing all along.
If you are a B2B marketer who subscribes to the philosophy that “you go where your audience is,” then your business should have an Instagram profile. A few weeks ago, it was reported that Instagram had surpassed Twitter in daily users. Perhaps even more surprising, “Of those who have an Instagram profile, 83% use it at work, again surpassing even Facebook and YouTube by a long shot.” With engagement and growth of this magnitude, Instagram is absolutely a resource worth taking advantage of.
A B2B marketer might take a look at Instagram and say, “How am I supposed to use this to promote my company? Our products/services don’t really lend themselves to visual content.” While this may be true for many, it does not mean that your business can’t leverage Instagram to increase brand awareness and customer engagement, with minimal effort to boot.
Instagram can be a great way of communicating your company’s culture, and give your customers a more personal, behind-the-scenes perspective of what you do. Candid shots in the office, employees giving presentations, and company parties can all offer opportunities to help humanize your brand. Another great idea, which I found via KoMarketing’s blog, is to use the service to highlight your employee’s charitable endeavors. As they write, “At its best, your cause might hit home with the values of another company a front runner for the sale.” Even if this is not the case, your employees spread goodwill and helped out the community, a true can’t-lose scenario.
Another way your business can harness the popularity and reach of Instagram is by asking your customers/followers to submit their own photos. Don’t be afraid to get creative. Ask them to send in photos of themselves “hard at work” using your software and give out prizes to the best shots submitted. If there’s one thing people love doing online, it’s sharing pictures. Harnessing user-generated content through Instagram is an inexpensive and effective way to develop the relationship your brand has with its followers.
Admittedly, Instagram may not have the same potential for definitive ROI as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, but this does not mean it is without value. Between brand building and customer interaction, it has proven itself a force to be reckoned with on the social marketing scene; one that marketers can take advantage of with a time commitment of less than an hour a week.