October 9, 2012: This is the first of a two-part series on B2B best practices for photo driven sites by Erica Bell of Business.com
When it comes to B2B marketing, businesses are often driven by content marketing and PPC advertising. Applying those same strategies to photo-sharing sites can be an obstacle. Because of that, leveraging image-driven social sites isn’t always a high priority for B2B marketers. It should be.
While your strategies for each social media site vary, you shouldn’t write off any network until you’ve applied the best practices and analyzed the results each has on your business. If you’re wondering how to promote your business with platforms like Instagram, we’re here to help.
B2B Best Practices for Instagram
Instagram is a mostly mobile platform and it’s great for connecting with individuals or other businesses that may be in need of your service. When using this social media channel for B2B marketing, it’s important to keep in mind that your images are about visually influencing prospects.
Before you start snapping away, there are a few questions you’ll want to ask yourself:
- Who is my target audience and what do they want to see?
- How can I get them to engage with my photos – a contest, a hashtag, a trend?
- What will get people talking about my photo and my business?
As your marketing team develops a plan on how to best leverage this platform, consider how you can reach other businesses and what they will find most valuable. If you want to be humorous, go for it! If you want to show off happy customers, do it. It is up to you, but you need to make sure each image is geared toward your audience and fostering their engagement.
There are a number of ways you can use the personal and emotional approach of Instagram. While posting frequency and integration with other social media channels is entirely up to you, here are a few suggestions for B2B marketers using Instagram.
1. Show off the staff.
Most businesses have events that build teamwork, company culture and/or demonstrate appreciation. Snap a photo of your team in action and post it to Instagram to show the people behind the scenes.
Your B2B company can take a cue from Maersk Line by showing off staff at work. A great angle, filter or colors instantly make a photo more interesting and Instagram worthy.
2. Show off the product.
Whether you’re in the SaaS industry or retail, show off how your product is made, chosen, tweaked etc. Other businesses want insight into your company and what you do. Showing your production process is interesting and educational to other businesses.
GE showcases their diagnostic capsule production area. Not all that interesting, you say? This photo received 1,012 likes and 27 comments.
3. Snap a quick photo of your team doing some good deeds.
Many B2B businesses have programs in place that encourage employees to give back or go green and it could be a factor that sets your business apart from others. At its best, your cause might hit home with the values of another business and make your company a front runner for the sale.
4. Like and comment on images from businesses.
This social network doesn’t leave much in terms of engagement beyond liking and commenting, so make sure you do both to generate impressions and boost the interactions between yours and other companies.
5. Geo-tag locations to connect with local businesses.
If you’re working a tradeshow or hosting an event, using tagged images is a great way to promote your business. Other businesses in the area who are in need of your product or service can find you easier when you do.
Take a look at the Salesforce team. While working Dreamforce, they snapped a photo and used their location to let customers and businesses know they were at #df12now.
6. Create your own hashtag.
Whether it’s your business’s name or a campaign-driven keyword, your own hashtag is a branding opportunity and way to monitor who’s interacting with your account and business.
NBC News took advantage of creating their own hashtag: #HC_FallFoliage and encouraging interaction among businesses and individuals about the fall foliage. By using this hashtag, users could be featured Monday in their #NBCNewsHashtagCollection. This is great PR if your pic gets picked!
Remember that photo-sharing sites are social channels. You can’t just populate your account with your own content and expect success. You need to be social, no matter if it is with individuals or businesses.
Worried about ROI?
Marketers are always looking for a way to track their efforts and SimplyMeasured offers up an Instagram Analytics tool. Keep in mind, however, that Instagram efforts are more than numbers.
As a B2B company, Instagram presents a great opportunity to humanize your brand or business. Photo-driven social networks are a great place to share valuable information while connecting with other businesses on a more personal level.
Stay tuned for Part 2: Pinterest!
About Erica Bell