The continued explosion of social media has given rise to an ever-increasing demand for visual content. Both forces significantly influence the ways we, as buyers and as brands, consume and communicate information. Gone are the days of text-based posts and infrequent updates. Today, 91% of consumers prefer visual, interactive content. It’s no wonder then that Instagram – with its more than 1 billion active monthly users – is now a channel CMOs can’t afford to ignore. B2B brands, you might think the Instagram marketing hype isn’t for you. Think again.

Thousands of B2B organizations across every sector invest in and leverage Instagram marketing to drive brand awareness, engage with their audiences, and ultimately, attract new customers.

4 Tips to Enhance Brand Impact Through Instagram Marketing

Use authentic, real-time content.

Forget stock photography and carefully curated, promotional images – or at least don’t focus on them exclusively. Instead, go real-time. Think in the moment, and seemingly unstructured, unfiltered photos and video. Authentic, real-time visuals can be on-brand and polished without looking, or feeling, stiff or cold.

Prospects and customers alike crave genuine content that offers a more personal glimpse into your brand. Also, emphasize culture and character first; products should be secondary. And even then, your mission on social media, including Instagram, isn’t solely to sell products. It’s more so to sell the brand. Remember, your customers want to know there are real people and real stories behind the brand.

Your mission on social media isn’t solely to sell products. It’s more so to sell the brand.Click To Tweet

Tell your brand story – with Stories.

When Instagram first released its Stories feature, it received mixed reviews. Since then, its popularity continues to soar (it’s twice as popular as Snapchat). Instagram Stories allows brands to tap into users’ FOMO (fear of missing out) since content disappears after 24 hours. Leverage the Stories format to offer followers content that likely wouldn’t make it into your newsfeed – like behind-the-scenes at company events or brainstorms, or sneak peeks into product development. Experiment with different kinds of content too, such as boomerang videos. Have fun! Don’t be afraid to use Instagram marketing to entertain, as well as educate and influence.

Think of your feed holistically.

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. But all your pictures – or social media content, overall – are worth infinitely more. Together, they create your social identity. Don’t think of your Instagram marketing one visual at a time; think of it as a much bigger and more powerful extension of your brand. Be purposeful and strategic about your Instagram identity. Create a social media “playbook” that guides your brand voice and visuals across all social platforms. For Instagram specifically, take it a step further. Consider choosing a color palette that guides which images you post and when. Also, identify one or two standard filters. These are ways you can establish a consistent signature brand identity on Instagram – helping ensure that your followers can pick your content out from the crowd.

Above all, engage.

Engage, engage, engage! If this seems like a buzzword on repeat, it’s because it is. But it’s also an action that makes all the difference to your customers. When brands neglect to interact with their followers, on social media and elsewhere, they lose. Your customers don’t feel valued. And the value of your content is trivialized. Show the love. At a minimum, all it takes is a simple click of the “heart” on a comment or a quick “thank you” reply. Take it a bit further and repurpose content from your followers; repost pictures or video from users that involve your brand or products, or shared likes and values. A little interaction goes a long way toward boosting your reputation – and your customers’ loyalty.

You don’t need me to remind you that competition in every market and across every channel, including social media, is fierce. Instagram marketing offers a unique opportunity – more so than any other social platform – to embed your brand into customers’ lives. And that’s what sets your brand apart from the others.

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For more than 12 years, Jen Zottola has helped bring clients’ stories to life – through media opportunities, digital and marketing content, executive presentations, employee communications and more. Fusing creativity with strategy, she crafts compelling, award-winning copy proven to reach and resonate with the right audiences in the most impactful ways. As editorial director, Jen collaborates with clients and account teams to provide counsel on messaging and voice, as well as writing and editing support. Her creativity isn’t reserved only for writing; Jen also gets a kick out of party- and event planning.