With more than 800 mil­lion month­ly users, Insta­gram is a force to be reck­oned with. If you’re a B2B brand, you might think the hype isn’t rel­e­vant to you — but in 2018, it most cer­tain­ly is.

As it stands, there are thou­sands of brands and a num­ber of high-pro­file B2B orga­ni­za­tions using Insta­gram to dri­ve brand aware­ness, engage with their audi­ence, and ulti­mate­ly, to attract new cus­tomers.

To inspire you to take your Insta­gram game to the next lev­el this year, our team at The B2B Mar­ket­ing Lab want­ed to share some con­cise, action­able tips you can put into prac­tice right away.

1. Use authentic, real-time user-generated content.

For­get stock pho­tog­ra­phy and staged pro­mo­tion­al pic­tures — it’s time to go real-time. On Insta­gram, your prospects and leads want authen­tic con­tent that offers a per­son­al glimpse into your com­pa­ny’s cul­ture and prod­uct offer­ings.

Real-time con­tent, such as live video/live stream­ing, is unfil­tered and 100% you. It adds a much-need­ed human ele­ment to B2B busi­ness­es, and helps you form a gen­uine con­nec­tion with your audi­ence and poten­tial cus­tomers. Extreme­ly pro­fes­sion­al-look­ing con­tent can often feel cold and dis­pas­sion­ate — your cus­tomers want to know there are real peo­ple and real sto­ries behind the brand­ing.

2. Go fast, and mix it up.

Insta­gram makes it incred­i­bly easy for you to post pho­tos or videos on your phone direct­ly through its appli­ca­tion. Just fire the appli­ca­tion up, press the add but­ton and select the pho­to or video you want to upload — it’s that sim­ple.

The advan­tage of this is that you don’t have to spend ages cre­at­ing con­tent. You can upload a vari­ety of con­tent wher­ev­er, when­ev­er, with­out much pre-plan­ning or edit­ing required. Dif­fer­ent types of con­tent will not only attract and appeal to dif­fer­ent mem­bers of your audi­ence, but also show dif­fer­ent sides to your busi­ness. No one wants to just look at images or just quotes on Insta­gram all day now, do they?

3. Get involved in your niche.

Stop look­ing through the win­dow at what’s going on inside. Join the par­ty.

Just like any oth­er social media chan­nel, it’s impor­tant that you not only post con­tent to your feed, but also par­take in the wider con­ver­sa­tion. Don’t just post images and videos, reply to your com­mu­ni­ty when they leave a response. Take the time to check out oth­er Insta­gram pro­files, have a browse, like some con­tent and maybe leave a friend­ly com­ment here and there.

If you take the time to engage with oth­ers, they’re more like­ly to take the time to engage with you.

4. Make the most of the link in your bio.

While Insta­gram doesn’t let you link to web­sites with­in the cap­tions of posts, you can include one in your bio. You can include up to 150 char­ac­ters in your Insta­gram bio — includ­ing a link. Your bio is the per­fect real estate for a link to your lat­est blog post or offers. You can also use tools such as Link­tree to cre­ate a cus­tom link that includes a page with more links, allow­ing you to share up to five links and get the most out of your bio link!

Alter­na­tive­ly, Insta­gram Sto­ries are a great way of includ­ing links with your con­tent. How­ev­er, sto­ries only last for 24 hours — this is a lim­i­ta­tion, but also a fan­tas­tic tool for you to pro­vide real-time offers and val­ue.

5. Tell a story with every single post.

On Insta­gram, the busi­ness­es that tell the most inter­est­ing sto­ries build the largest audi­ences. If you want to attract peo­ple to your busi­ness and get them to engage with you, you need con­sis­tent visu­al sto­ry­telling that cuts through all the noise on Insta­gram.

Don’t lim­it your focus to your gen­er­al pho­to and video feed. Instagram’s Sto­ries fea­ture allows you to cre­ate a slideshow or mon­tage of pho­to or video. When strung togeth­er, tell a sto­ry and pro­vide your audi­ence with a more per­son­al expe­ri­ence.

6. Stay away from vanity metrics.

Van­i­ty met­rics don’t tell the whole sto­ry. While an increase in clicks and likes are ben­e­fi­cial, they don’t tell you if the right peo­ple are actu­al­ly inter­est­ed your con­tent. Instead, look for indi­ca­tors of real engage­ment, such as peo­ple com­ment­ing on your posts and new fol­low­ers in your niche. These two met­rics give a bet­ter indi­ca­tion of how well you are per­form­ing and how much expo­sure your busi­ness is actu­al­ly get­ting.

Take the time to consider Instagram.

While it has pre­dom­i­nant­ly been used by B2C brands up to this point, it holds great poten­tial for B2B busi­ness­es when uti­lized cor­rect­ly — and with the points above in mind!