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Is Instagram necessary for B2B brands?

Jun 17, 2022

You know it. You love it. You've probably been using it for a decade for pretty food shots, outfit inspo (no, just me?), and of course keep up with friends and family.

But when it comes to "serious" purposes like marketing a business-to-business (B2B) company, Instagram can feel like a frivolous waste of time compared to platforms like LinkedIn.

This goes for organizations in the sciences, engineering, technology, you name it.

Where leaders tend to get tripped up is misunderstanding the platform and its role in the buying process.

Instagram generally won't:

  • Be a set-it-and-forget-it tactic
  • Get you customers instantly
  • Be the right place for sales-y messaging
  • Randomly "go viral"
  • Earn your business millions
  • Take zero time to manage/maintain

But it's a powerful, "top funnel" tactic that lets you get in front of a fresh audience (who influence the buying decision) and build a niche community around your business.

So Instagram for B2B brands: yay or nay?

I say yes, but with a caveat: you have to understand what it will and won't do for your business.

There is a right way, a wrong way, and a mediocre way - and it's that mediocre middle that will lead you to wasted time and resources.

Here's my take based on 14 years in corporate B2B, plus working with clients in my marketing agency.

Instagram isn't going anywhere.

It’s one of the most popular platforms used by billions, and most people check it several times per day. But that’s not enough on its own.

Others come and go, or even remain popular (like TikTok), but as Instagram adds features to compete (i.e., reels), it makes it more likely for users to stick with Instagram.

It's used by those who inform the buying decision

Though it’s used by a younger demographic (Millennials, Gen Z) than your typical B2B decision-makers, these groups work alongside and influence those decision-makers (and ultimately will BECOME them).

This is key.

Instagram is for B2B just as much as B2C

Companies selling services or products to other businesses can use Instagram to highlight a less formal side, post creative content, show off corporate personality, and participate in events that get shared on the platform.

The kicker is there are ALREADY a ton of B2B brands—including scientific ones—on there and building a following.

Plus your competitors are on Instagram already

And if they’re not, that’s an opportunity to become the go-to in your space on this platform.

Use Instagram to build an audience, educate about your offer, and drive interest in your business.

Use Instagram as a top-funnel awareness strategy

Establishing your brand there early is a “top-funnel” awareness strategy. It helps your other marketing by letting you get found from search, hashtags, locations. It supplements all your other efforts and touchpoints.

It's not about selling or closing deals on its own (that's the job of bottom-funnel marketing like free demos or sales calls).

That said, social selling can be a powerful tool - a topic I'll cover another time!

So rather than dismiss Instagram completely from your B2B marketing plan, implement it strategically with effective content (more on that later) to build brand awareness in its younger but influential user base.

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