Scroll through Instagram and you'll find yourself in a sea of photos and videos featuring beautiful travel photos, coffee shops, fashion and handbags, cycling and outdoor adventures, and more. It's easy to get sucked into the visual experience of this powerful platform.
But what if your business isn't that visual?
You may be thinking, "How do I use Instagram if my business is, well, kinda boring?"
That's a fair question. And it's a common roadblock to B2B companies utilizing Instagram to its fullest potential.
According to Instagram, more than 80 percent of all accounts follow a business on Instagram. In the last year, Instagram has grown from 1 million advertisers to two million and counting.
That’s power worth capturing!
Just because you don't have beautiful travel photos to share doesn't mean Instagram isn’t a powerful platform to connect with your audience.
To capitalize on this opportunity, you'll need to do some creative brainstorming to turn your otherwise “boring” business into an exciting, visual environment that cultivates interest on Instagram.
Let's dive into Instagram feed ideas for B2B businesses.
Introduce your team.
Traditionally, B2B companies publish press releases when they add new team members to their roster. Instead, why not highlight them on social media? Spreetail does this well and they go on to highlight individual employee stories in their Instagram account as well.
Today was a great day to add 8 #NewSpreetailers to the team. Take a gander at this cool new crew! Alex Kuhfahl - Returns and Resell Quinn Small - Product Manager Nicole Shulman - Business Development *Recently moved from Denver back to Lincoln Elizabeth Berrick - Product Content Lead *Recently moved from KC back to Lincoln Nate Smith - Customer Experience Sawyer Davidson - Business Development Tom Hall - Project Manager, Operations *Recently moved from Raleigh, NC to Lincoln Rob Norris - Business Development
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Focus on the story of each employee.
We love this example from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The format of this post and the types of questions they ask students make it very personal. This concept could easily be applied to a B2B company to feature employees.
Meet Allison Black (@alblackie). She's a junior economics, political science and sociology major from Lincoln, NE. Take a peek at her interview responses and be sure to catch her Snapchat Takeover today! ... Favorite place on campus? I love to read outside the union by the fountain ... The Coffee House or The Mill? The Mill ... Favorite activity in Lincoln? I love going to concerts! Most recently, the Lincoln Calling festival was super rad. ... 3 words to describe living in Lincoln? Friendly, growing, and active ... Three people alive or dead that you would like to have dinner with? The BFFs Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia, and Howard Zinn too! ... Best way to decompress? Going to the rec center and running, then hitting the sauna! ... Interested in a Takeover? Shoot us an email at email@example.com! #UNL
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In carrying out this tactic, you'll want to develop a consistent list of questions you can ask employees.
Craft a list of 20-30 questions and choose a unique combination of 4-5 for each feature to keep it fresh. Bonus idea -- send out an employee survey with these questions so you have an employee feature library to choose from each week!
Host an employee takeover.
Invite an employee takeover Instagram for a day and showcase a “day in the life.” Have them post photos and videos, but also utilize Instagram stories to demonstrate a true employee perspective.
Hello from Dalian, a beautiful city by the sea and a major tourist destination in Northeast China. Now it's my turn to thank you and hand over @feelfinnair account to a next employee. It has been a great experience to spend these couple of days with you. Thank you for your comments! Stay tuned and follow what's coming next on @feelfinnair. You are welcome to follow my personal account @hannenystedt Have a great week everyone!☀️😊 #feelfinnair #finnair #employeetakeover #dalian #china
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Don’t forget to alert your email subscribers and social followers on other platforms that they’re going to be taking over the account for a day! Use your interactions on other platforms to drive engagement.
Even better, make this a predictable feature and choose one or two days a month that takeoevers always happen, such as the 1st and 3rd Fridays of the month. The predictability breeds trust and makes it easier to execute internally and plan out the employee features for months at a time!
Hint: If you're looking for the process of how to run a successful employee takeover on Instagram, check out this post from Buffer: How to Host a Takeover in 6 Simple Steps.
Introduce a customer.
A short sentence about your customer and why they decided to build their own business or use your product/service will connect on a personal level. Focus on great photography and use shortform copy to carry the message. Quickbook uses this strategy regularly on their Instagram account.
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To carry out this idea effectively, plan 2-3 months at a time, and focus on one customer spotlight a week. For better organic reach, focus on customers who also have an Instagram account that you can tag. Create a spreadsheet with the text and hashtags for each post. You can even create your own hashtag such as #companynamecustomers and promote that in your other marketing efforts.
Another benefit of this idea is that you can easily translate the effort to other mediums, such as a customer spotlight on your blog on your website or on Facebook.
Showcase a client case study.
Make this a regular feature by developing an icon that says "case study" and focus on the visual that will drive engagement. The post below from Freshbooks is a good example of this, though you could take this a step further by featuring a carousel of photos that dive deeper into specific aspects of the case study.
#FBcasestudy: "If I could help create the habit of using FreshBooks while they're a student of mine, hopefully they'll be able to carry that with them as they finish their studies and start to practice." - Elizabeth David-Dembrowsky, Good Counsel Services Inc. . . . . . Tap link in bio to read more. #fresbooks #casestudy #legalprofessionals
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Your carousel ad might feature one photo of the customer in their office, one photo of the customer working with a member of your team, and one photo of your customer doing what they love since your product/service simplifies their life and helps them focus on what they do best!
Oh, and don't forget to actually put the link in your bio!
Design an industry quote.
Your industry is loaded with good advice, statistics, and interesting insights. Use these to create compelling graphics featuring this information. Video hosting and analytics company Wistia does this by combining employee spotlights, behind the scenes, and advice and quotes like this:
When featuring quotes and stats, design a consistent set of backgrounds and styles that reflect your brand colors, fonts, and icons. These features will help reinforce consistency while switching out the content regularly.
Feature a light-hearted inside joke.
Do a quick search on Twitter or Instagram and you'll find a variety of "spoof" accounts that are designed solely to share funny insights or jokes about a particular topic or industry. While your Instagram account does not exist to serve this purpose all the time, you can bring an entertaining twist to your posts from time to time by featureing a meme or play on words. Hubspot does this well with their lighthearted memes about common sales/marketing wins and challenges.
A post shared by HubSpot (@hubspot) on
Pay special attention to the tone of your brand as some GIFs and videos can go a little too far if your brand is very conservative. However, you can find pop culture examples that create common ground to share a laugh or an inside joke like this.
Announce new campaigns, programs, or ideas.
Good social media marketers recognize the oppotunity to cross post content to drive engagement for new ideas in other areas. In this example, blogger and author Michael Hyatt uses Instagram to announce his new podcast.
A post shared by Michael Hyatt (@michaelhyatt) on
In order for this to work effectively, you should be following a marketing plan that helps you plan out your activity in advance. Otherwise, this comes off as a reactive type of post rather than part of a planned campaign. If you need help writing your marketing plan, head over to our full guide on how to write a killer marketing plan.
Don't forget the basics.
While there are many different ways to utilize Instagram for business marketing, don't forget the basics of Instagram marketing, including:
- Writing good, compelling captions
- Using at least 10 relevant hashtags on each post
- Incorporating a blend of photo and video content
- Seek opportunities to collaborate with influencers and partners
- Utilize Instagram Ads to boost engagement and visibility
- Create visual consistency through specific filters (and not too many!)
- Establishing a consistent posting schedule
For more Instagram feed ideas and inspiration, check out the Simple Strat Instagram feed, where we feature a variety of behind the scenes photos, videos, and content ideas each week. And if there are any ideas or questions you'd like input on, leave a comment below!