Instagram might not be the natural choice for promoting SAAS and B2B firms, but with the right approach, it can be an invaluable addition to your overall social media marketing strategy.
Social media marketing is all the rage right now and for good reason. Leading platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have been adopted by the masses, and millions of users log in every single day.
The sheer numbers make them the perfect medium to reach people online, and with the ability use hashtags and paid ads with a multitude of demographical options – you can target the exact audience you desire in a way that has never previously been possible.
When we look at the top platforms, Facebook and Twitter get a lot of the hype. However, Instagram is actually now more popular than Twitter and research suggest its users are also more receptive to marketing and engage at a higher per-post rate than any other social network.
According to data compiled by Website Builders for a new infographic on Instagram facts, the app has over 500 million registered users, 300 million of whom log in daily. Half of the users follow at least one business and 5% say they take action (like visiting a website, making a purchase or referring a friend) if they are inspired by a post.
The user-base is also extremely broad. More than half of 18 to 29-year-olds in the United States use the app, yet 80% of its users are based outside of the country. These numbers cannot be ignored from a marketing perspective, especially if your target audience is the US or global. Indeed, 48.8% of brands now have a presence on Instagram. By the end of this year, this is expected to hit 70.7%!
Traditionally businesses and marketers have struggled with Instagram because unlike its rivals, the focus is almost solely on visual content. It works for Nike and Victoria’s Secret, but it can be a challenge if you are used to writing marketing copy or don’t typically have anything physical to show off.
Therefore the approach has often been – register a profile, make some random posts, and hope that you benefit from simply casting the net a bit wider. Unfortunately, that doesn’t bring much success and may be a complete waste of time.
The struggle is even more pronounced for SAAS and B2B companies, who often have nothing physical to show off and aren’t even targeting the general public. They rarely bother with Instagram for that reason.
However, with a little common sense and some creative ingenuity, the image-centric platform can be a nice addition to your overall social media marketing strategy.
After all, despite selling a service or product to other businesses, these businesses are still owned and operated by people. Masses of people are on Instagram, therefore you can still reach them with the right approach!
With that in mind here are ten top tips and insights for utilizing Instagram for your B2B and SAAS companies:
1. Infographics Are Visual
Just because you can’t get Selena Gomez using your product while posing beside a swimming pool, doesn’t mean you don’t have anything visual to show off. In fact, even if you literally cannot take a photo of your product or service, you can still create visual content relevant to your audience. For example, most B2B SAAS companies have data that is of interest to potential clients, which can be compiled and displayed visually as an infographic. The most creative might even be able to come up with an industry specific meme. The point being, ‘visual content’ can be as broad and outside the box as you make it. Although it might not be the best approach, some marketers even share written copy itself as an image.
2. Brand and Community Building
Until shoppable links are rolled out to everyone, as it stands you can only leave a direct link to your website on the Instagram bio page (which of course should have a short call to action). This does, however, mean that direct-selling (‘go buy my product now’) isn’t really possible. Therefore many marketers take to Instagram to develop their brand image and build a loyal community.
How is this done? One of the most successful ways is to showcase the ‘behind the scenes’ or inner workings of the business (sometimes called community culture). Take photos of happenings in the office with fun captions, screenshot the latest software developments, or get even more personal with a selfie as you are one the way to do something business related. IBM once ran an internal campaign called #ViewFromMyDesk where employees took photos of their surroundings. This went viral.
An approach like this portrays you and your company as friendly and accessible, something all businesses can benefit from.
Although you absolutely do want to focus on connecting with clients and potential clients, social media is also a chance to network with others in the industry, including developers, event organizers, your own team, and yes even the competition. You’d be surprised the opportunities that can arise simply because you are connected to somebody else (even tacitly) in the field.
4. Be Proactive
Don’t wait for people to comment on your posts, go and comment on theirs! As long as you can legitimately contribute and aren’t looking to spam, you can only increase followers and leads.
5. Use Hashtags Correctly
Hashtags are often misunderstood across all social media and Instagram is no different. Yes, they can be used for fun (such as #BusiestDayEver), but the point is to reach people who may be interested in your company and get them to follow you. Hashtags are actually a link to a feed of posts that have all used that tag, and users (regardless of whether they follow you) can follow these tags are a search for them. This means if you use a popular and relevant tag, you can reach people you wouldn’t be able to otherwise. If you’re smart about it, you might also be able to latch on to something current like a news story or entertainment/sports event, but try not to go overboard. Appearing spammy can turn people away.
6. Promote Events and Tradeshows
If you are taking part in some kind of event or tradeshow where you’ll be showing off your product or service to potential clients, Instagram provides the perfect medium for promoting and covering the event. It is highly recommended that you schedule your Instagram posts in advance so that you do not have to spend the run-up to the event on social media. However, make sure that you have someone in the team closely monitor comments and engage with your followers.
Prior to the event, you’ll want to connect with the organizers and anyone else involved. This will get you on the radar and also allow you to receive updates. You’ll also want to go full throttle promoting your presence, letting followers know the place, time and what you’ll be doing there.
When there you can create a steady stream of photos, videos or even live stream all the happenings at your both and around the event. You can even hold contests for your follows (e.g. ‘the first 10 people to our stall who take a photo and use the following hashtag get a discount’).
Remember to follow for following everyone you can and promote all of your social media accounts with a sign or business card.
7. Play To Existing Customers
Just because you are looking to get more followers and customers, doesn’t mean you should add value for existing customers. This means being attentive to questions and queries, but also creating extra content that benefits them. Could you perhaps record video tutorials for your software or do a live stream announcing some new features?
If you’re doing well, at some point one of your followers is going to post about your product. If this isn’t happening organically you may be able to encourage it simply by asking. Either way, sharing or re-posting this content is a great way to further engage with said follower but also demonstrate social proof for your other followers. You can even pay businesses to use your service (or offer it them for free) with the agreement that they share info about it and give their honest opinions. It’s even better if you can show them using the product visually, demonstrate how it benefited them, or you could even interview them in a video about it.
9. Paid Advertising
If you are not having much success on Instagram organically or want a head start when you first open an account, they now offer paid promoted posts. This allows your post to reach users that aren’t currently following you, and you can target who sees the post based on a wide range of demographic information. There are currently around 500,000 paid advertisers on the platform, so you can still get in on the proverbial ground floor. Many more tools are expected to be released in the coming months as the concept gathers more steam. According to the data, 70% of performance campaigns generated statistically significant increases in conversions.
10. More Features Than Expected
In the beginning, Instagram was an image-only social network that made it difficult for some marketers to adapt to, however since being purchased by Facebook the platform has evolved into a well-rounded marketing solution. Yes, there still isn’t a focus on written content (even though you can post lengthy captions), but you can now post animated gifs, videos, broadcast live, and create Snapchat style ‘stories’ that expire after 24 hours. Tooled with the above tips and a little creative flair, there’s no reason why Instagram can’t become an important part of your overall social media marketing strategy.
If you’d like to learn more about Instagram, its demographics, statistics, and data that you can utilize for your marketing campaign – be sure to check out the full infographic from Website Builders