It’s no secret that B2C and B2B marketing are critically different - and this is perhaps even more apparent when it comes to how B2C and B2B companies approach certain facets of their social media marketing via Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and others. For the most part, Instagram is a really cool application. Not withstanding the over abundance of photos of yummy food, Instagram has proven to be an excellent non-traditional outlet of the social network ecosystem. Despite their continued succecss, Instagram will likely never be useful for BtoB companies.
How dare I? How dare you Sir... or Madam.
Impressive Statistics About Instagram
When it first launched in 2010, Instagram was a photo-sharing app with a server that too-often crashed. Today it is one of the most successful apps in the world.
Over 500 million active users are on Instagram every month
To date, an est. 40 billion photos have been shared since 2010
An average of 95 million photos and videos per day our shared
80% of Instagram users come from outside of the U.S.
Instagram is used by 31% of American women and 24% of men
Instagram is used by 48.8%of brands - a number that is expected to rise to 70 by end of 2017
B2C marketers are significantly more likely (6%) to increase Instagram activities than B2B marketers (48%)
Posts with at least one hashtag average 12.6% more engagement
Can The Value of a B-to-B Solution Be Captured in a Picture? Nope.
I'd argue that there's virtually no B2B solution whose value can be effectively captured in a photograph. And sharing pieces of it, out of context and augmented by filters, will only serve to divorce your product from the total value it brings to customers.
Instagram is Narcissistic
As beautiful and handsome as they might be, no one will subscribe to see photos of your employees working, or customers using your product. They want to see beautiful results in the form of numbers – like, you know, success metrics and the actual value behind purchasing your service or product. I'm begging you, no sepia-shaded Instagrams of Cory from ACME logging onto your SaaS solution. That would be like force feeding sub-part stock photography to your customers. Just to clarify, images of your clients, employees, and partners have an important role in bolstering your brands awareness, but Instagram isn't the vehicle for doing so. Instead, leverage your corporate website to effectively showcase the important and diversified faces that make up your organization's unique brand.
Instagram Was a Natural Shift for B2C Content
While Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn serve up an ongoing deluge of news, job opportunities, etc. along with networking, Instagram is basically a cloud-based photo album in real-time. Businesses have evolved successfully with social networks because it was a relatively natural shift from traditional content to content created to match the expectations of social users. BtoB has never used stand-alone photographs to market their solutions, whereas content marketing has a lengthy and rich history of doing so.
I guess there's the possibility of Instagram picking up the infographic craze – though hasn't Slideshare and Pinterest already grabbed and dominated that medium? Plus, I believe the Instagram format would require graphics suited for their platform, which would add cost to creating critical graphics that could otherwise be repurposed across other social networks.
No really... Make Your Use-Case
I don’t see Instagram picking up the infographic craze – Slideshare and Pinterest have already grabbed and dominated that medium. Plus, the Instagram format would require graphics made specifically for the platform, adding more cost to creating graphics that could otherwise be repurposed across networks. According to IDC, at the end of 2016 less than 30 percent of B2B marketers were using Instagram to connect with customers and/or advertise their solutions.
What’s Your Use-Case?
It’s highly possible I have missed what business to business clients actually expect from a company’s presence on Instagram, or the value of Instagram to B2B sales and marketing teams. In fact, I'm aware there are plenty of BtoB companies killing it with their use of Instagram. Still, the majority of B2B companies are seeking a bigger bang for their buck instead of executing other marketing practices. So, while I'm not saying B2B marketers should utterly neglect Instagram, I do believe that the smaller to mid-sized company should go about applying their marketing dollar spend and key resources elsewhere, and for the time being, move on down the road when it comes to Instagram.
Let us know your use cases that points to the ongoing gain of new customers via Instagram.
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