For many moons, B2B mar­keters have focused their social media efforts on chan­nels like LinkedIn and Face­book. So it comes as no sur­prise that, accord­ing to a Track­Maven analy­sis of 316 lead­ing B2B brands, the medi­an B2B audi­ence size for those chan­nels is 109K and 34K, respec­tive­ly. The largest of all the social chan­nels. But is this a chick­en or egg sce­nario? And how impres­sive is a large fol­low­ing if no one is engag­ing with your con­tent?

Con­tent engage­ment is a much more pow­er­ful met­ric than fol­low­ers or page likes. It means your con­tent is com­pelling enough for your audi­ence to take an action: Click, like, com­ment, share, even vis­it your web­site and, dare I say it, con­vert. So let’s take a deep­er dive into which chan­nels actu­al­ly offer the most engage­ment for brands:

B2B brands have the largest audi­ence on LinkedIn — 36 times the medi­an num­ber of fol­low­ers they have on Insta­gram. But B2B brands get 20 times more engage­ment on Insta­gram than on LinkedIn.”

In the past, Insta­gram has been over­looked by B2B mar­keters as a B2C mar­keters play­ground. The truth is, that mind­set is start­ing to shift. 33% of B2B com­pa­nies are now on Insta­gram, and increas­ing year over year. One rea­son for this shift is that mar­keters are remem­ber­ing that B2B deci­sion-mak­ers are humans at the end of the day. Gary Vayn­er­chuk says it best: “behind every B, there’s a C”. You’re still mar­ket­ing to peo­ple and Insta­gram has proven to be a pow­er­ful chan­nel when it comes to con­nect­ing with your audi­ence, human­iz­ing your brand, recruit­ing like-mind­ed top tal­ent and pro­mot­ing brand aware­ness.

Won­der­ing whether or not your B2B brand should be on Insta­gram? Here are some things to con­sid­er as well as inspo from a few B2B brand who are already killing it.

  1. There’s less B2B com­pe­ti­tion on Insta­gram. With only a third of B2B busi­ness­es on Insta­gram, there’s a greater chance your brand will get noticed com­pared to oth­er, more sat­u­rat­ed chan­nels.
  2. Insta­gram can be a dis­cov­ery and acqui­si­tion plat­form. Let’s look at some num­bers shall we? Insta­gram has over 700 Mil­lion month­ly active users and about 60% of them say they dis­cov­er new prod­ucts and ser­vices on the plat­form. Over 50% of them will fol­low those brands. ‘Nuff said.
  3. Get more bang for your buck when adver­tis­ing on Insta­gram. There are 500,000 adver­tis­ers cur­rent­ly grow­ing their busi­ness on Insta­gram. Over 70% of these adver­tis­ers are see a sig­nif­i­cant lift in online and offline sales as a result of their cam­paigns on Insta­gram.
  4. Future updates will make Insta­gram more B2B friend­ly. Slow­ly but sure­ly, Insta­gram has been rolling out more busi­ness-friend­ly fea­tures. You can now shop, call and email a busi­ness, all from with­in the app. And soon there will be even rich­er ana­lyt­ics. It’s only a mat­ter of time until more B2B-friend­ly fea­tures are devel­oped, and you don’t want to be behind the curve when they’re rolled out.
  5. B2B engage­ment is up, way up, on Insta­gram ver­sus oth­er social media plat­forms. Although LinkedIn dom­i­nates as the top social chan­nel for B2B in terms of fol­low­er­ship, the engage­ment ratio is low at 1.98 (that rep­re­sents num­ber of inter­ac­tions per post per 1K fol­low­ers.). Com­pare that to an engage­ment ratio of 22.53 on Insta­gram and it’s clear which chan­nel is a more pow­er­ful lever to pull to encour­age brand aware­ness and affin­i­ty.
  6. Visu­al con­tent is so hot right now. Whether you’re in B2B or B2C land, videos and oth­er visu­al con­tent are where it’s at. Accord­ing to a recent report by Ascend2, video and motion graph­ics have the sec­ond high­est con­ver­sion rate of any con­tent type at 44%. And it doesn’t get more visu­al than Insta­gram.
  7. Mobile video con­tent helps you con­nect with your audi­ence in-the-moment. Plan to attend or host events this year? Some­one in your com­pa­ny speak­ing on a pan­el? Have an excit­ing prod­uct announce­ment? Look­ing to hire top tal­ent? I’m guess­ing you answered YES to at least one of those ques­tions. Fea­tures like Insta­gram Live and Insta­gram Sto­ries allow you to cre­ate more per­son­al­ized expe­ri­ences for your audi­ence who can’t be there in-per­son. Accord­ing to Insta­gram inter­nal data:

Year over year, the time peo­ple spend watch­ing video on Insta­gram is up more than 80%, while the num­ber of videos pro­duced per day on the plat­form has con­tin­ued to increase by 4X each year

BUT… Keep in mind:

  1. Sim­ply hav­ing an Insta­gram account isn’t a mag­ic recipe for success–you need qual­i­ty con­tent to back it up. The Track­Maven study showed a dis­crep­an­cy in social media engage­ment across indus­tries. For exam­ple, soft­ware ser­vices have the low­est engage­ment rate across the board on all social media chan­nels. So it appears that, while they may be great at acquir­ing fol­low­ers, they either don’t gen­er­ate qual­i­ty con­tent or don’t have the right con­tent deliv­ery strat­e­gy in place.
  2. As with any social media chan­nel, it’s only worth hav­ing if you have the time and resources to invest in it. With Insta­gram, you get out what you put in. So if you don’t have the resources to con­sis­tent­ly post high-qual­i­ty con­tent, don’t do it. Hav­ing a poor­ly exe­cut­ed Insta­gram account could be more dam­ag­ing to your B2B brand’s rep than not hav­ing one at all.

Hootsuite Instagram account doubles as a recruitment tool

Hoot­suite has a strong employ­ee cul­ture and they lever­age Insta­gram to share that with the world. Their Insta­gram account paints a col­or­ful pic­ture of their com­pa­ny cul­ture, and their brand­ed hash­tag, #HootLife, makes it easy for employ­ees to share a behind-the-scenes look, from adorable snaps of the office dogs or com­pa­ny perks like lunchtime yoga class on the roof. Employ­ees are best at recruit­ing like-mind­ed tal­ent and Hoot­suite takes advan­tage of this by using Insta­gram as a suc­cess­ful recruit­ment tool.
Can you win at Insta­gram too? You betcha!Inspired? Great! That was the point. But remem­ber: When adopt­ing any new social media strat­e­gy, it’s impor­tant to keep a few things in mind.
When the right amount of time, ener­gy, strat­e­gy and cre­ativ­i­ty is invest­ed, Insta­gram can be a great tool for B2B com­pa­nies to human­ize their brand, build brand aware­ness, and recruit top talent.To get start­ed, think about what sets your B2B brand apart. What makes you unique? And what do you ulti­mate­ly want to get out of the plat­form? Then, build a strat­e­gy around that.