Using Instagram for B2B lead generation
In 2021, the belief persists that Instagram is only suitable for B2C marketing purposes. However, when used skillfully, Instagram can also be a valuable and successful tool, which can help by creating a successful social media presence for B2B companies – as long as you adapt to the conventions of the platform and consider a few key points. After all, interest in audio-visual content is also growing in the B2B sector. Instagram provides a platform that is still growing in popularity.
In addition to the trend towards audio-visual formats, B2B companies should be alerted by the sheer reach and steady growth of the platform alone. Over one billion people worldwide use Instagram at least once a month, 21 million of which are in Germany, and the trend is rising. According to Instagram data from 2017, 80% of Instagram users follow at least one company, 200 million people visit business profiles every day (two out of three are not followers of the company). 500 million use Instagram Stories daily – one third of the most viewed stories come from business accounts. Instagram currently has the highest growth rates in the social media sector, besides TikTok. Which is why it could be beneficial to be using Instagram for B2B lead generation.
Product and manufacturer research and purchasing decisions are also shifting more and more into the digital space. It should be kept in mind that Instagram is a medium for inspiration and discoveries. In the first awareness phase of a customer journey, Instagram can therefore be a good trigger – even if it is unlikely to develop into a sales channel to the same extent as for many B2C companies today, like people using airbnb lead generation for example.
The general trend also seems to be that more and more companies are thinking “Business to Business” rather than “Business to Person” – which is also likely to affect communication. After all, real people stand behind companies, customers, and employees – and they are increasingly online and on Instagram. The Instagram user base is too young? Studies show that B2B decision-makers are also getting younger and, with an average of less than 35 years, are certainly part of the Instagram-affine target group. Even if they are primarily on the platform for private purposes, it is still the same person. Employees who follow the account are also interesting stakeholders and provide additional reach. The target group argument is therefore becoming increasingly irrelevant. How can Instagram be used in the B2B sector and what should be considered?
Visually appealing and consistent concept
No other social network places as much emphasis on aesthetics as Instagram, which is also why people are trying to figure out how to start a permanent jewelry business or how to start a crystal business on instagram. To be successful, you can’t avoid a visual concept – even for B2B companies. Unlike other platforms, this point must be taken into account on Instagram, but is often neglected. For B2B companies, this is often particularly challenging visually. Even in the recruiting area, this can be difficult because images in which people are only background are usually more successful than images of people or events. But even here you can be creative and develop your own ‘look’ – whether through a certain type of editing, recurring colors, motifs and perspectives.
The aesthetic character of Instagram does not mean that you should always use high-gloss images – on the contrary! Only a concept should be recognizable. This should be one of your main points to look for in your best practices for social media marketing for small businesses. Creative, unusual and visually appealing as well as striking images are suitable, stock photos are not suitable. Rather, Instagram can also use homemade mobile photos and videos that have been created without much effort – see it as a beautiful, creative challenge. Think about what motifs would appeal to the target group and how you can stand out with your motifs in the feed. Technical facilities, themes and products can also be creatively and/or visually staged, as some of our examples demonstrate. Use, for example, a preview app to give your profile a consistent look and design the feed visually. Develop your own, recurring formats with your own style, using templates, the carousel or stories function, quote tiles, etc. Test which motifs are best received. And always remember: On Instagram, companies have the opportunity to present the company in a different and new, authentic way. Take this opportunity!
Employer Branding & Recruiting
Looking for a job and recruiting have moved online and companies need to go where their target audience is. Many B2B companies have recognized the potential of Instagram in the area of recruiting and employer branding and are focusing on this area on Instagram. Due to the younger target group, companies can use the platform especially to address trainees or young professionals, but basically it is more about building a strong employer brand. Showing the company culture, presenting locations, providing insights behind the scenes, telling employee stories – all of this can contribute to giving the company a face, being perceived as authentic and likeable, and thus positively influencing potential employees. Lastly, the Instagram account can be used specifically as a service channel in recruiting to engage with users in dialogue.
Optimize your profile
In addition to the strategic and thematic points mentioned above that focus on a visual and content concept, your Instagram profile can also be optimized with relatively little effort, as seen in the case of airbnb lead generation. It is important to have a simple and easy-to-understand description in the profile bio that gets to the point and makes people curious about your company. This may sound easy, but for B2B companies, it is often not. Profile bios are often too technical and wordy. While it is also important to pay attention to relevant keywords in the bio for SEO reasons, many companies’ text consists only of these keywords or hashtags. It’s worth checking if you can optimize this. Also, the ability to link in the profile should definitely be used.
The use of hashtags is central to Instagram, as the Instagram search still works that way. We’ve used hashtags for our main airbnb lead generation for years. To increase potential reach, regularly research and use thematically relevant, appropriate hashtags. (There are studies and tests on the ideal use of hashtags on the internet). Another point that enhances the profile, increases dwell time and makes people curious are the Story Highlights, which are displayed in the profile. Therefore, create Story Highlights on different topics. Possible are for example highlights on “about us”, on the topic of training, on jobs, fairs and events, on locations, innovations, products, topics such as climate change, tips & tricks, on blog posts and much more – depending on the strategic focus. Last but not least, the Instagram channel should also be used specifically for dialogue, whether to respond to comments and messages or to interact with other accounts’ posts.
Unlike B2C brands that consumers actively search for, B2B brands are often relatively unknown outside of a specific target audience. Therefore, targeted Instagram ads are especially recommended in this area to raise awareness of the profile in general or specific actions and themes among selected target groups. While regular posts are more suitable for attention and branding goals, Instagram ads offer interesting possibilities for conversion and lead generation through targeting and links.
Allthough you could always buy lead generation packages, it is still good to try these steps out for your business. Get listed today!