You’ve probably heard that visual marketing is all the rage these days, driving more interaction and traffic than text alone. Pair that trend with Instagram being the fastest-growing major social network in 2014*, and you’ve got a love affair — or so we thought. However, we were surprised at the lack of marketers, especially B2B, on Instagram.
Statistics on the popular visual social platform in Social Media Examiner’s recently released Social Media Marketing Industry Report were underwhelming, at least to CCC.
Instagram was the 7th most popular social platform for marketers in 2014, with 36% utilizing the site. Platform use did rise significantly from the previous year, with an eight percent increase. However, the disparity came to light when we looked at business-to-consumer (B2C) use vs. business-to-business (B2B) use, as the following chart indicates.
Social platform use differs significantly between B2C and B2B marketers, especially on LinkedIn.
Source: Social Media Marketing Industry Report
OK, so B2B marketers are a little slow to adapt to this platform. That might make sense until you look at future plans. Again, B2C marketers outpace their B2B counterparts with 60% likely to increase Instagram activities (compared to 40% of B2B marketers). What’s making B2B marketers hesitant to devote resources to Instagram?
Two Reasons Why B2B Marketers Aren’t on Instagram
We can think of two reasons to start. One, some B2B marketers feel like a platform or vehicle isn’t worth their time until they can advertise on it. With Instagram opening up advertising to all companies, that should draw more B2B companies to the platform. New ad formats, including a buy button, and enhanced targeting should help as well.
Two, several B2B companies sell services, and they may be having trouble understanding how to utilize the platform to promote what they do. (Even if they sell products, they may be considered ‘boring’ products, such as ink cartridges, paper, industrial cleaners, etc.)
Five Ways To Showcase Services (and Boring Products) on Instagram
How do you showcase services (or ‘boring’ products) on Instagram?
- Sell benefits, not features. Show how your products or services impact people or companies. For example, a picture of a sales letter may not be enticing, but a picture of my client’s happiness after making a sale using that letter conveys human emotion.
Photos with faces get 38% more likes and 32% more comments on Instagram.^
- Utilize picture editing tools. Tools such as Pic Monkey and Square InstaPic, among others, allow you to create professional images to showcase your work. A picture of my blog post on a modern marketer’s tools may not generate much interest, but this picture of the items mentioned in the post was a hit.
- Share behind the scenes videos. Instagram’s the perfect place to ease into video production due to the 15-second maximum timeframe and built-in editing tools. Introduce employees, share an office tradition (bean bag toss break on Fridays!) or record brief tips on what you do. For example, share a marketing tip every Monday or a social media tidbit on Saturdays.
Seventy two percent of marketers plan to increase their use of video in the future.`
- Be creative with built-in filters and editing tools. We’re not telling you to filter every picture you post, but the built-in editing tools that Instagram provides do appeal to users if used appropriately.
Organic Instagram-style photos can increase click-through rates from 2.35% to 8% and drive conversion rates by 25% over traditional photos.^^
- Encourage followers, customers and other users to join your campaign by tagging their photos with a unique hashtag (i.e. #CCCgetssocial) and tagging your account in order to enter a contest or showcase how they use your products or services. User-generated content is powerful because other people are telling your story for you. Plus, Instagram stores photos that tag you in your profile so others can easily see them.
Top brands’ Instagram posts generated 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook and 120 times more engagement per follower than Twitter.**
So what’s a B2B marketer to do? Get visual on Instagram! But remember to put together a strategy first, just like you would with any other marketing initiative. Your customers (and potential customers) will like what they see.
What’s your favorite Instagram account to follow?
Where does Instagram rank in your favorite social platforms?
Do you utilize the Instagram website at all or only the mobile app?
Intimidated by Instagram? Have no fear! We’d love to answer your questions or help you put together an approach to put your best face forward on this popular visual platform. Contact us or leave a comment below to join the conversation!
*Pew Research Internet Project | ^Georgia Institute of Technology & Yahoo Labs
`Social Media Marketing Industry Report | ^^Laundry Service | **Forrester
Have an Instagram-worthy weekend!
Let’s chat (on Instagram, the SMM Industry Report or otherwise):