Instagram needs no introduction. Over one billion people use this platform monthly to keep in touch with friends, share news, discover products, and even make purchases. As a result, Instagram has become a popular marketing tool for B2B companies.
What is more, more and more B2B marketers start investing in Instagram marketing to achieve B2B company growth. Living in the era of social media, when 60% of businesses invest in social media marketing, it's no wonder that B2B companies use various social media platforms to reach out to their target audience, establish a connection with customers, and sell B2B products.
As a visual platform, Instagram has never been the most obvious option for B2B companies; however, the situation has changed recently.
An estimated 40% of U.S. adults are active Instagram users, so it's clear that B2B buyers use Instagram, and most of them use it during the sales discovery phase to find new products and give them a try.
According to the Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 72% of B2B marketers use Instagram, 63% of them plan to learn more about Instagram as a promotional tool, and 59% of B2B buyers want to increase Instagram organic activities.
Since 94% of B2B buyers claim that visual content impacts purchase decisions and Instagram is a visual tool, B2B marketers see potential in Instagram. But do they want to invest time and effort into creating short-lived content like Instagram Stories? Long story short: yes!
Why Should B2B Companies Use Instagram Stories?
Back in 2016, when Instagram copied Snapchat's feature of sharing short-lived content, no one could have predicted the growing potential of Instagram Stories for businesses of all sizes and niches. Today, more and more companies (including the B2B niche) use Stories to communicate with customers on the platform.
If you wonder why B2B companies use Instagram Stories, check out these statistics that show the growing popularity of Instagram Stories among users—and new opportunities to interact with B2B buyers in a fun and creative way:
With 500M monthly active users who create or watch IG Stories, this content type is a great way for B2B companies to achieve the following business goals:
- Support a long buyer journey: B2B buyer journey is far from linear as many people are involved in the process of making a purchase decision. In short, B2B buyers face a long buyer journey and Instagram Stories offer a proven way to support it and therefore encourage B2B buyers to consider your product as an option.
- Beat an Instagram algorithm: Instagram prioritizes content from friends and family, so most B2B companies don't have a chance to cut through the noise when having an Instagram presence unless they create Instagram Stories. Make stories more creative by using the best Reels editing apps. Why? Stories appear on a separate feed and unseen posts have an orange and pink circle around the profile picture that encourages people to tap on Stories to watch them.
- Achieve company's goals: With the popularity of Instagram Stories among users, the platform has released various business-specific features like clickable links, shoppable posts, and stickers to help different companies achieve their goals: raise brand awareness, establish a connection with the target audience, understand their customers better, or even sell B2B products in-app.
- Keep up with current trends: Instagrammers love ephemeral content and they spend a considerable amount of time watching Stories. When you give potential customers what they crave, you increase brand loyalty and trust that help your company become the first option when it comes to making a purchase decision.
7 Ways to Use Instagram Stories for Your Business
Now that you know offbeat reasons to use Instagram Stories for B2B company growth, it's time to take a look at how B2B companies can implement Instagram Story marketing in their strategies to draw inspiration for your campaign.
1. Humanize your business.
B2B buyers are common people who want to buy from companies they trust. As a result, they prefer companies with a human face. Moreover, no one is interested in a dry B2B company, so humanizing your business is a great way to increase brand loyalty and trust.
During the B2B customer journey, groups of people participate in the purchasing decision-making process, so it's important to make sure that your product meets their company's needs and wants. It's no wonder that B2B buyers may ask questions about your product before buying it. When you invite your niche experts to answer these questions, not only do you help customers understand your product and company better, but you also humanize your business.
Instagram offers its users an opportunity to understand their potential customers' pain points with a question sticker as followers can share questions that bother them and your B2B company can answer these questions later to satisfy followers' curiosity and create an emotional bond between your company and customers.
But if you're looking for more ways how to humanize your B2B company, consider the following options:
- Show a typical workday at your company.
- Host an interview with the CEO or team members.
- Introduce your staff and tell their stories.
Here are some how CIENCE ties in the team members roles with what they do:
2. Explain how your B2B product works.
The number of B2B products is constantly growing, so B2B buyers may have a problem choosing from nearly similar products on the market. When you explain how your B2B product works and how your potential customers can benefit from you, it's easier to encourage Instagram visitors and followers to become paying customers. The great news is that Instagram Stories can help you.
Being limited to fifteen seconds in length, it can be hard to imagine how you can explain aspects of your B2B product with Instagram Story imagery or video. However, Instagram Stories have various features like clickable links that help to provide interested readers with more information.
For example, CIENCE writes informative blog posts on how to use their product for the website, creates a short teaser for Instagram posts, and then reposts these posts to Stories to reach a wider audience of potential customers who might be interested in this topic:
3. Turn interested followers into leads.
Lead generation is an important part of any business. As specified in recent research by CIENCE, 40% of marketers claim that lead generation is their top priority and 66% of them use social media to generate new leads.
So, wouldn't it be great if you could generate new B2B leads and therefore create a list of potential customers for your business? Instagram Stories offer several ways to turn interested followers into leads.
When done right, using Instagram Stories is one of the effective Instagram lead generation strategies that can bring new leads. Hubspot is a great example of using this strategy in action as the company often shares interesting offers and give its followers an opportunity to get valuable information in exchange for sharing their contact information, just like in the example below:
Source: Hubspot Academy
4. Provide social proof.
All modern B2B customers want to buy from trusted companies, so it's no wonder that we seek out peer recommendations. As a result, social proof plays an important role in the customer journey.
To provide followers with social proof without clogging the main feed up with content, it's a good idea to use momentary content on Instagram.
Let's take a look at TailwindApp. When the company gets customer testimonials from its users with a tag, TailwindApp reposts these Stories to their account and then adds them to a separate Instagram Story highlight called "Testimonials" to help visitors and followers find all social proof with ease. The key to success is that this highlight album appears right below the bio section.
Reviews are also a helpful way to provide social proof. Take a look at how CIENCE uses its Feedback Stories to post employee testimonials based on Comparably reviews:
5. Encourage impulse buying.
Instagram is a great platform for purchase-making even if you run a B2B company. According to one report, 83% of people discover new products on the platform and 80% of users say Instagram helps them decide whether to buy a product or service after finding it in-app.
To encourage followers to buy from you and boost sales, you can share offers with Instagram Stories as it creates a sense of urgency. Since Stories disappear within twenty-four hours, followers are more likely to make a purchase decision to not miss out on it.
To encourage impulse buying, you can share time-limited promo codes or discounts. You can also organize a giveaway and put "make a purchase" as the participation requirement, just like PayPal does it in the example below:
6. Start a conversation with B2B buyers.
It's no secret that B2B buyers are common people who crave an emotional connection with brands they choose. If you communicate with potential B2B buyers, it gives you an opportunity to stand out from the crowd of competitors and win more buyers.
Here are several Instagram Stories features that can help you start a conservation with your buyers:
- Poll sticker: Invite followers to share their preferences.
- Question sticker: Encourage people to ask questions about your product or reply to your questions.
- Emoji slider: Ask followers to tell you how they feel about your product or service.
- Clickable link: Include a link to the customer satisfaction survey.
Adobe knows how to start a conversation and therefore establish a connection with its followers. Check out several IG Story examples from the company that shows actionable ways on how to start a conversation:
7. Run an Instagram Story ad campaign.
With one billion active users, your target audience is definitely on Instagram, no matter what your B2B product is, whether you sell CRM tools, promote GMB management software, or offer shipping services. However, not all of your potential customers are your Instagram fans who follow your business account. Thus, it's important to cut through the noise and reach your customers. The solution? Create Instagram Story ads!
Instagram has a variety of ad campaign settings that allow B2B companies to target the right people and achieve different objectives: drive brand awareness, generate leads, or boost sales, or even recruit talent.
Here’s an example of a Story that CIENCE used in its hiring campaign:
Improve B2B Sales with Instagram Stories
The days when only B2C companies used Instagram for business promotion are far behind us. With the growing popularity of Instagram, when B2B buyers discover and research products in-app, the platform has become a great option for B2B companies. What is more, Instagram Stories can give you more creative ways to interact with your potential customers to increase brand awareness, improve sales, and grow your business.