Instagram : a window of opportunity
Instagram : a window of opportunity
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In business, Instagram is an extremely valuable tool for a brand to engage with the consumer, whether it be directly from business to customer, or indirectly through affiliate marketing, but what about using the platform to reach other businesses?
‘My audience is not on Instagram.’
‘Instagram is for lifestyle businesses and dog lovers.’
These are are common concerns for many B2B marketers, but with over 25 million business profiles on Instagram the platform shouldn’t be overlooked as a useful tool to present your brand to other businesses.
It’s important to remember that behind every business there are people, and with 1 billion users currently on Instagram, it’s likely the decision makers you want to sell to will be using the platform.
Consider Instagram as an opportunity to build a presence, develop new relationships, nurture existing relationships, engage with your audience and build awareness for your business.
We’ve pulled together some tips to help your brand engage with other businesses via Instagram.
Post with purpose
It is useful to keep your social media content consistent with your brand. It can be bold, loud and colourful, or reserved and understated. The content that you post should reinforce and be relevant to your business; this will be what the audience first sees when discovering your brand so first impressions count!
Did you know a post on Instagram using hashtags averages 12.6% more engagement than a post with no hashtags?
Using hashtags is one is one of the best ways to get discovered on Instagram and can translate into more engagement, followers and ultimately customers!
Hashtags work by organizing content into categories. Using a hashtag will add your post to the hashtag page which will be followed by Instagram users and therefore increase visibility of your post amongst new audiences, even if they aren’t already connected to you.
Be specific with your hashtags - research shows it is better to keep hashtags to no more than 10.
Keep them concise and relevant to your business and brand.
Investigate what is trending at the time before posting. Trending hashtags can attract more attention and increase the traffic of your page and profile.
Pro-fun-sional: Keep it professional - but fun!
Instagram serves as a window into a business’ soul. Your audience is interested in your brand and the products and services you offer, but they will also be curious about the people and values behind the brand, so use the platform to reveal what goes on behind the scenes. This will help your audience relate with your brand and ultimately build trust, engagement and loyalty.
Keeping your Instagram professional by including clear and cohesive content regarding your business is paramount but it is equally important to jazz it up! Try to avoid falling into a conveyor belt of monotony with your posts - change it up!
As a starting point, aim for equal parts original content, personality, and shared content: your business/services/product might be the absolute best but variety is key! Alternate between different kinds of posts.
Me, Me, Me
It is not all about your business. A common pitfall for businesses is trying to use Instagram to hard sell their products and services. Taking this approach can lead to diminishing interest and engagement from your audience. Instead, offer solutions and provide value; post FAQs, share tips and techniques related to your products and services, and post some of the good work being done by your current customers (with permission of course). Sharing relevant industry news and content can also help increase engagement, whilst also placing you as a thought leader within the market. This will prevent your audience from mentally checking out from your content.
As a business you will want your media content to be visually high-quality. If you’re posting high quality images and video content (rather than blurry or poor-quality content), your brand will come across as high quality. Sometimes, the regular Instagram filters just do not cut it. It is important to spend some time and structure your posts and stories, making them visually cohesive and aesthetically pleasing. Using your brand logo or colour palette is a nice touch to tie your posts to your brand. There are programmes and apps that are free and user-friendly (such as Canva) to help you to create high quality media with less hassle.
Find, Follow, Engage
If your business is new to Instagram, you’re probably wondering the best way to start quickly building your audience.. Begin by following businesses you already have a relationship with. You can also build new relationships by following profiles of companies that are relevant to your business. Chances are if you find and follow a company that you believe will benefit from your services, they’ll be happy to follow you back.
And remember numbers aren’t everything. Having a huge follower base on the platform will of course make you more appealing to new audiences, but engagement is key. It can be just as effective to have 300 followers all of which are brand advocates or actual potential customers, rather than 10,000 unengaged followers!
The next step is to engage.
Engagement is a crucial part of strengthening your presence. This can be done in several ways.
Collaborate and mention others: Use the platform to engage with other business’ posts and stories. Showing that you appreciate their work through engagement on Instagram will highlight your values, build relationships and your network, and hopefully encourage the same in return.
Polls: Set polls on your page asking your audience to make a choice or a preference that is relevant to your brand and to your audience. This is a fast and effective way of obtaining direct feedback from your audience! Not only does this allow you to gain knowledge, but it also enables your audience to have their voice heard and appreciated.
Questions: These could be attached to captions of your posts. Your audience would then comment in response to questions and begin a discussion. This could generate further engagement amongst your audience which can help boost your presence.
IGTV: Consider IGTV as a kind of YouTube channel. A portfolio of videos that you can post, that do not disappear (such as live streams or stories). Frequently used for posting tutorial videos or documenting events, you can use this function to answer questions and demonstrate skills. The sky is the limit, allow yourself to be creative - add a jolt of energy and fun to your profile!
Live streaming: Often when an account begins a live stream, the application sends a notification to any subscribers or followers. This can act as an automatic response to a prompt which will draw the audience directly to your live stream. Live streaming can also create a sense of urgency. Like stories, they disappear after 24 hours, so it gives your audience a deadline to engage.
Stories: Instagram places stories strategically on a page so that they are the first thing the user sees. Stories are used as a tool to engage with your current followers whereas posts are used more to help discovery by new audiences. You can use stories as a way to check-in with your current audience, draw attention to a new post you have published, reinforce posts or a particular theme or concept you may be sporting at a given time.
Requests and follow-ups: Through engagement (whether through posts, stories, or polls), you can ask your audience for requests and follow them through. By doing this, you show that you value your audience and are able to deliver what you have been asked for. Finally, follow up! Ask your audience for feedback and apply it.
Instagram can be daunting for brands new to the platform but let this be a positive opportunity for your business. Your B2B brand can and should be on Instagram, you just need to approach the platform with a strategy for best communicating your message. If you’d like help setting up your business on Instagram, creating a strategy for the platform, or would like support with your social media management in general, chat to one of the SWW team today.