February 12, 2019

Instagram for B2B companies

From image building to employer branding: How Instagram for B2B pays off

Instagram is probably the most successful social network of recent years. Founded in 2010 as a check-in platform, the service quickly became a user magnet, especially thanks to free photo filters. After just eight years, the network now has 800 million monthly active users, which means it’s no longer just exciting for foodies, travel nuts, and beauty bloggers. Quite the opposite: 25 million brands worldwide are already on the platform. 80 percent of global users follow at least one of them. That’s huge potential that companies can exploit for themselves. And not just lifestyle brands. The B2B sector in particular offers many opportunities, even if at first glance the channel may have little to do with day-to-day work. The overview shows the areas in which Instagram for B2B companies is worthwhile.

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Insta-Image: Brand building in pictures

Before organizations get involved with Instagram for B2B, it’s important to realize that it shouldn’t be primarily about sales. With its poor linking options, the channel lags miles behind other networks. In terms of image building, however, it is unbeatable. Instagram is about inspiration, identification, and likeability. No one opens the app to browse through offers. People want to be entertained, find new impulses, and take a look behind the scenes. B2B companies have the chance here to polish their external image square by square and to link themselves with appropriate values and passions. A few application examples:

In good company: acquisition through inspiring customer stories

Many B2B suppliers are hesitant to show themselves on Instagram because they simply assume their product is not visual enough. Of course, successful communication on Instagram for B2B always requires good visuals, but this can vary greatly from company to company. The big opportunity: The content feed of users on Instagram is not only shaped by the pages they follow. Through hashtags, brands sometimes become visible to users who would never have become aware of them through other networks.

No matter how technical or abstract your own service is, at the end of the day it provides an essential solution for other companies whose work may be much more tangible than your own. So why not shine the spotlight on your own clients and partners? The benefit: By showcasing existing clients and their individual and exciting business stories, B2B brands can build bridges to potential new customers who may be operating in a similar field and have not yet found a suitable solution.

Shopify provides a nice example of successful customer stories. The company, which offers simple cloud store systems for sales online, in social networks or in retail stores, can’t instaworthyin stage its product itself – after all, no one likes to look at screenshots of user interfaces. Instead, those responsible do something much more effective: they present the users to whom the service enables their daily work. In this way, the technical product quickly becomes an emotional mentor that supports its customers in realizing their own personal business dream. The beauty is that the featured companies become brand ambassadors and, of course, are happy to share their story. There is no more credible marketing.

Next stop: next job – Employer branding via Instagram

Especially in very technical disciplines, the war for talent is extremely brutal. The search for qualified employees is often difficult. However, the chances of finding them on Instagram are high, given the huge user base. For young employees in particular, it’s not just the job advertised that’s relevant these days, but above all the atmosphere and corporate values of potential employers. It is therefore becoming increasingly important for brands to build a convincing employer brand in order to stand out from the competition. Talents no longer just want a job, they want to identify with a company. Instagram offers B2B companies the opportunity to communicate their brand values to the outside world through exciting employee stories and behind-the-scenes looks.

Employees are the most valuable asset for any company. Instagram offers a wonderful platform to show the people behind the work. In addition to general hashtags such as #teamwork or #officelife, which can be used to draw the attention of previously unfamiliar users to the company, branded hashtags can even be used to create individual categories for the team on Instagram. Under #pwccrew, for example, auditor pwc collects impressions from the global teams and thus shows potential applicants what the colleagues of tomorrow might look like. At the same time, the company conveys an impression of the working atmosphere.

Particularly in the case of complicated and technical positions, the network also offers an opportunity to present the job profile via portraits and thus reach a larger pool of applicants who may not even have known that the advertised position is their dream job. A good example of this is provided by the management consultancy McKinsey.

Passion and a sense of togetherness: giving off the right vibes with Instagram for B2B

Of course, creating the corporate image is not just about employees. It’s about corporate values, the passion behind the product, and the motivation to do what you do every day. Although perhaps the actual work of B2B companies cannot always be depicted pictorially, this corporate feeling can be transported in a relatively simple way via one’s Instagram feed. What color scheme does the company use? Which subject areas are presented? All of this gives visitors to the profile a sense of the brand and thus offers identification potential.

Moreover, as the examples show, it is not always necessary to present photos. Simple graphics of inspirational quotes are a simple but very popular stylistic device. Depending on the thematic world in which a company operates, numerous exciting quote sources are available – from famous personalities, business heroes and pioneers to the company’s own employees. If the selected statements match the corporate values, the company’s vision and mission can be presented in a simple way.

Conclusion: Not only for lifestyle brands!

Instagram has become a mega network, which is no longer just an exciting communication channel for lifestyle companies. B2B companies benefit from the visual channel, especially when it comes to branding and employer branding. With good planning, maintaining the channel does not have to be very time-consuming. However, companies should only create the profile if there is sufficient capacity to develop good content. After all, you don’t have to dance at all weddings. If implemented well, B2B companies can cut a really good figure on the Instagram stage.

Julia Beyer
Head of Onboarding bei Mashup Communications
Mit offenem Ohr, geballter Expertise und (fast) unerschütterlicher guter Laune bereichert Julia seit 2012 das Mashup-Team. Wer könnte da besser geeignet sein, um neuen KundInnen und KollegInnen beim Start der gemeinsamen Heldenreise zur Seite zu stehen?