Instagram recently added a segment to their app that allows businesses to tell their unique stories. Read on to learn how to use Instagram to better connect with your target audience.

B2B businesses can benefit from Instagram.

Now that all businesses worldwide can run ads on Instagram, small businesses and B2B companies have been taking advantage of this easy and powerful way to reach and engage with their target audiences. Instagram recently created a new account called @instagramforbusiness to be a “source of inspiration for the business community,” according to Instagram’s blog.

Instagram launched the account to help businesses understand how they can use advertisements on the app to share their company’s story. This is the first time that Instagram has fully integrated advertising, since earlier attempts angered users who didn’t want commercial messages clogging their feeds. It is even said that Kevin Systrom, Co-Founder and CEO of Instagram, took on a slow-play ad strategy where he personally reviewed all ads before they became public on the app to make sure they didn’t look too much like noisy advertisements.

Why Your B2B Business Should Leverage The New Account

The @instagramforbusiness account will highlight both paid and organic advertisement successes on Instagram and will share behind-the-scenes stories about Instagram marketing by brands, creative agencies and small businesses. The new account also provides the ability to place call-to-action buttons on business ads to drive customers to the business’ website. Here are a couple best practices to keep in mind when launching these Instagram ad campaigns:

Effectively reach your target audience

  • To ensure that your Instagram campaigns attract the right audience, try aiming for a new customer base using lookalike audiences within Facebook Power Editor. Power Editor is a tool designed for larger advertisers who need to create multiple ads at once and have precise control of their campaigns. Power Editor has a feature that allows you to create a lookalike audience, which is a way to reach new people who are likely to be interested in your business because they’re similar to your current customers. To create a lookalike audience, you can upload the email addresses from your current customer base to the Facebook Power Editor tool. Then, with Instagram’s precise targeting insights, you can target new people with similar behaviors and attributes.

Test out different strategies

  • With Instagram’s ad interface, you can see which posts got the highest interactions and drove the most sales. @instagramforbusiness allows you to choose from multiple ad objectives and formats, including a website click campaign that can drive traffic to your website. You can test image and video ads that include call-to-action buttons such as “Shop Now” to link people directly to your website. Test out different photos and videos to see which ones get the most engagement and highest conversion rates.

Why Your B2B Business Should Use Instagram

B2B and small business brands need to realize and take advantage of the fact that Instagram is one of the better social media platforms for reaching target audiences without the need to overspend on advertising. People are typically more inclined to follow their favorite brands on Instagram compared to other social platforms, especially those that post appealing pictures. That’s why Instagram created it’s own business account, so that brands, small businesses, and creative agencies could post their ads in a way that won’t have users rolling their eyes.

Another reason why businesses should use Instagram is because engagement on Instagram posts are far greater than on other social networks. A study from Forrester looked at more than 3 million user interactions with more than 2,500 brand posts on seven social networks. The study found that Instagram generated a per-follower engagement rate of 4.21% compared to less than 0.1% engagement for Facebook and Twitter combined. This means that Instagram delivered brands 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook, and 120 times more engagement per follower than Twitter.

How B2B Businesses Can Overcome The Instagram Challenge

For some B2B businesses, Instagram can be challenging because creating a relatable visual identity is difficult when you don’t sell physical products or services. Especially because a vast majority of B2B content marketing involves providing industry tips, tricks, and other information, these brands need to be even more creative about providing value to users within the limitations of a single photograph. However, @instagramforbusiness can help B2B businesses give people a glimpse into their internal culture and offer interesting and creative ways to demonstrate how their products and services make a difference in the real world. Here are a couple strategies:

  1. Take fun pictures of the company staff to help prospective clients get to know the people they could be potentially working with.
  2. Share tasteful photos of your office space to help followers imagine themselves in those offices.
  3. Post photos of events your business attended to show that your team members are active in their communities and have connections.

A good example of a B2B business excelling on Instagram is Boeing–a prominent aerospace and manufacturing company whose Instagram profile is full of beautiful photos of aircraft in the air, on the runway, or approaching different scenic places. Boeing does a great job of switching up its photos to allow the company to promote its own work without clogging feeds with advertisements.

Boeing’s Instagram account is a prime example of a social media community that is consistent with its brand personality. This is a lesson that all B2B companies should learn and implement so that you can give your audience a good idea of that they can expect from you on a regular basis. People use Instagram as entertainment in their spare time, so it’s important for marketers to make sure they put their follower’s interests first.

Instagram can be tricky for B2B businesses, but definitely worthwhile if you need creative ways to reach your target audience. And now with the new business account as a reference, it’s easier than ever to get inspired. Check out the account for some great examples and ideas. If you have any suggestions or know of any awesome and successful business accounts on Instagram, please leave a comment below.

Image by Bjorn Hovdal and Front Page Google via Flickr CC