December 8, 2014

When many people think of Instagram, they think of the photo sharing site full of photos of selfies, food porn, and cloud images among other non-business related posts. But in all reality, Instagram is a very powerful tool for businesses. And, it's not just powerful for B2C businesses or those with pretty products to sell. To show you this, I have compiled a list of 5 B2B companies on Instagram that are totally using the platform well and seeing success.

Many B2B or service-based businesses struggle with Instagram because they don't believe they have "visual" content to share. But, they do! They actually have a lot. They just haven't thought about how they can maximize their content in a visual context that will resonate with their audience. I'm hoping that these examples and explanations will help you better understand how you and other B2Bs can rock Instagram too.

CBRE

CBRE is a leader in commercial real estate. Sure, buildings can be kinda cool on Instagram, but let's face it, their typical business model isn't what you would think would thrive on Instagram. Their target audience isn't what you would consider the popular demographic using Instagram. And yet, they figured out how to make Instagram work for them.

http://instagram.com/p/vlgoSSPwOQ/?modal=true

Here's why they succeed on Instagram.

  • They mix in a lot of education. They give insights into architecture, history, and fun facts related to the content in their posts.
  • They show their own properties (and occasionally advertise in the caption that they have space for lease) in a way that is consistent with organic images and other Instagram expectations
  • They show their employees at work and offer a behind-the-scenes look into their business
  • They have content that is timely and relevant to themes, trends, or current events
  • They incorporate an effective hashtag strategy that increases reach, targets their audience, and promotes their brand

NASA

I'll admit that I'm a science dork (both my degrees are in sciences) so an account about space (and the science of NASA) is appealing to me. But, beyond that, their account is pretty - it's just plain pretty to look at.

With over 2 million followers, NASA generates a ton of engagement and interest on their profile. And they keep the public excited about science and space.

http://instagram.com/p/v9Noe5IaIH/?modal=true

Here's why they succeed on Instagram.

  • Their photos are freakin awesome! Seriously, go look at their account. The photos are amazeballs. You can't help but stop and look.
  • They include a ton of educational information that inspires and educates their audience.
  • They play off current trends or themes and tie them to their content.
  • They show what's current in their organization: shuttle launches, space station activity, and other NASA activities.

Intel

Intel (the computer chip company) does Instagram big and gets big results. They get really good engagement and reach audiences beyond their normal reach, while creating brand advocates - for a computer chip company. Yeah.

They have nearly 30,000 followers on Instagram and have used this community well.

http://instagram.com/p/v6J4fiwQBs/?modal=true

Here's why they succeed on Instagram.

  • They know what their audience likes (technology) and they give it to them. They showcase new products, things they're working on, and things that are happening in the industry.
  • They ask questions to engage their audience.
  • They include trivia and educational information in some posts.
  • They highlight products that use their chips (products that us end-users buy and use) making their product more relatable.
  • They have a minimal hashtag strategy (with 30,ooo followers, they don't need a robust strategy) but they use the few well and appropriately to their posts.

TSA

The Transportation Security Administration (yes, a government agency) totally gets Instagram. With nearly 200,000 followers and a creative social media team, the TSA does a really good job of educating people on travel restrictions with good post content.

http://instagram.com/p/vrjlNDF933/?modal=true

Here's whey they succeed on Instagram.

  • They use dogs in their content. Yes, dogs do surprisingly well (well, maybe not so surprising) on Instagram. And with TSA dogs at work, these posts get a ton of engagement.
  • They provide a service through education. That's a big part of their strategy - educating the public on TSA rules and restrictions - and through creative images and good captions, they are regularly educating the public. Did you know you can take baked goods on the plane? You can... they tell you everything you need to know in a recent post for Thanksgiving.
  • Where appropriate, they use calls-to-action to direct people to their website for more information on rules and restrictions.
  • They incorporate lots of relevant hashtags in their posts. Hashtags tie into the airport, the content, the theme, or their own individual hashtags.
  • They share news and updates relevant to travelers and their target audience.

Mashable

The blogging and news platform that many of us turn to (or end up on) regularly does a really good job of staying active on Instagram and engaging their audience. They also drive traffic back to their site which is a key goal for many B2B companies.

And while Mashable isn't exactly a B2B, their platform and practices are similar to what a lot of B2B companies are going through and trying to accomplish. So I wanted to highlight them here and show you how, as an online company, they benefit from Instagram.

http://instagram.com/p/vUGKJXtQAC/?modal=true

Here's why they succeed on Instagram.

  • They have a wide variety of content - photos and videos; current events; entertainment and comedic content.
  • They mix in spotlight posts, contests and challenges, and Mashable business info.
  • They direct people back to their website with clear calls-to-action in their posts while giving insight and providing intrigue in the post captions.
  • They do a good job of incorporating relevant hashtags into their posts to increase exposure and engagement.

 

There are a lot of other businesses using Instagram well. From small consultants, to start-ups, to health care, to the tech industry. From big to small. Whether you have 100 followers or 100,000 followers, you can find your target audience on Instagram and connect with them in a way that you can't on other platforms.

Find what works in your industry and for your audience. Then get creative and find unique ways you can showcase your business with more visual content. And, don't forget, have fun with it!

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