As far as digital marketing is concerned, Instagram is a bit of an anomaly, isn’t it? While Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn allow for plenty of link-pushing firepower to take place, Instagram has almost entirely removed the carrot-dangling technique from it’s platform. In fact, the only re-routing link you’ll find space for is in a user’s bio—one link, nothing more.
So, how can no-nonsense B2B marketers actually use Instagram to their company’s advantage? What’s all the fuss about, really? The answer is almost as simple and straightforward as Instagram’s interface—storytelling. Yes, it’s become a bit of a buzzword in recent years, but it’s the truth—tell a story, build an emotional connection with other businesses and make sales.
Now, in this post, we won’t be getting into the nitty-gritty details as to how this is to be done. Conversely, we’ll be taking a closer look at four B2B brands that have paid little attention to the ever-shrinking body Instagram naysayers out there, instead deciding to forego links for good, old-fashioned storytelling.
If you’re a B2B brand with a story of your own to tell, you’d be wise to pay attention. Each of the below businesses is living proof that, in spite of not pushing the most exciting of products and services, Instagram can work. Alas, without further adieu, check ‘em out:
- Handle: @Oracle
- Followers: 59.2k
Any time social media content strategies are being discussed, the go-to idea is to provide an intimate, behind-the-scenes look into what a company is doing. The only problem? More often than not, when small, up-and-coming brands try and do this, they publish images of coffee breaks, board meetings and sales calls—not exactly what you’d call “riveting stuff.”
Oracle’s calling card on Instagram is the inside look it gives its followers. Even better, the company focuses on things followers might actually care about. For example, the account makes a point of featuring employee dedication, workplace enthusiasm, nationwide conferences and even intern involvement. It’s culture, but it’s a story in its own right.
- Handle: @Staples
- Followers: 26.6k
Needless to say, office supplies isn’t the most sexy of B2B niches, but Staples still manages to make it work on Instagram. You might think that pens, pencils and markers wouldn’t attract much of an audience, but you’d be wrong—Staples is able to weave their various products into helpful, bite-sized posts for audience consumption.
Yes, vibrant colors abound, making these things irresistible, but there’s more here than meets the eye. Seriously, head to Staples’ profile, and you’ll see that many of their posts feature tips on various ways to get organized, manage stress and be more productive. It’s not a chronological story, but it’s a narrative that virtually everyone can relate to.
3) American Express
- Handle: @AmericanExpress
- Followers: 136k
Ready for something crazy? Using the link above, give American Express’ Instagram profile a gander. Did you notice anything unusual? With 136,000 followers, things are going well, but we’re referencing something else, here. That’s right—American Express has amassed a giant audience, while only following one account—Shop Small.
Rest assured, there were no followers purchased by American Express. What’s worked for the multinational financial services corporation is the story they tell from the point of view of an Amex cardholder. The company goes beyond making mundane purchases, focusing purely on the thrilling opportunities made available to customers. As such, their posts are incredible.
- Handle: @FedEx
- Followers: 48.5k
You’ve probably had some some not-so-great run-ins with the FedEx guy. Maybe you weren’t home, and he decided to keep your package for another day or two. Or perhaps he arrived at the right time, but with someone else’s purchase. You’ve been there—you know the feeling. Fortunately, FedEx’s social team hasn’t decided to focus much on this side of their story.
What they are doing, however, is build anticipation. Kick your bad experiences to the curb. Now, think back to the anticipation you felt, knowing that your goodies, gadgets and gizmos were well on their way to your mailbox. This is the very real human emotion FedEx taps into with their Instagram posts, and it’s proved wildly successful for them.
So, what do you think? If the likes (pun intended) of Instagram and brand-centric storytelling are good enough for some of the world’s most household B2B companies, is it something you should consider? Absolutely—no ifs, ands or buts about it.
And listen—though it’s likely your brand isn’t globally recognized or has an NBA basketball court named after it quite yet, Instagram can help you take small, but certain steps to get there. Who knows? In a year or two, your B2B company might be featured on a list similar to this one. Best of luck with making it happen!