When you consider the best branded Instagram accounts, the ones that come immediately to mind are usually fashionable retailers that can feature their products in attractively composed shots or draw eyeballs with high-profile celebrity endorsers.
For business-to-business brands, Instagram poses something of a challenge. Without a recognizable physical product to serve as an anchor, it can be difficult to create a coherent visual identity. And since so much of B2B content marketing revolves around providing industry peers with tips and tricks for succeeding on the job, these brands need to be extremely creative about providing value to users within the limited constraints of a single in-feed photograph.
Fortunately, there are some B2B brands that have been able to use the medium to their advantage, either by using it to give people a glimpse into their internal culture or by coming up with creative ways to show how its products and services make a difference in the real world.
Without further ado, here are five B2B brands killing it on Instagram:
Rather than undertaking the Sisyphean task of using photographs to communicate the value proposition of its email marketing services, MailChimp uses bright, colorful photos to show its followers what goes on behind the scenes at its offices.
On any given day, MailChimp’s followers can expect to see the company’s talent recruitment team taking a goofy photo together, or a shot of an artist who performed at an in-office event, or the company’s mascot, Freddie, posing with some of the Atlanta sports world’s furriest luminaries.
In all of its Instagram communications, MailChimp presents an image of itself as a company filled with people who are whimsical, curious, and happy.
It just goes to show that while a photograph might not be enough to demonstrate the capabilities of your programmatic trading desk or CRM platform, Instragram presents a great opportunity to help prospective customers get to know the wonderful people they’ll be working with if they choose to do business with your company.
P.S. If anyone from MailChimp is reading this, I have some ideas for you.
A photo posted by MailChimp (@mailchimp) on
Perhaps instead of showing off your employees, you’d like to focus on customer success stories. WeWork’s Instagram account often features the companies that populate its co-working spaces to inspire others in the startup space and compel them to come set up shop at WeWork. For instance, this photo of Worn Creative CEO Nicole Aguirre is accompanied by a quote about the agency’s creative fearlessness, while this one shows off the view from WeWork’s Seattle digs. In all of its photos, the company demonstrates the tasteful design that marks its office spaces, giving followers a chance to imagine themselves in an elegant WeWork office of their own.
Under normal circumstances, I would generally prefer not to spend a single second thinking about the world of commercial real estate. But rather than boring people to tears with the finer points of property management and leasing agreements, CBRE has chosen to build an Instagram account that serves as a testament to the architectural majesty of the modern cityscape.
In each of its posts, the brand shows off a beautiful photo of a skyscraper or city skyline and establishes its expertise in real estate by providing a fun factoid about the history of the building.
The company does a nice job of alternating between buildings it owns and those it does not, a strategy that allows it to promote its own work without giving people the feeling that they’re being force-fed PR. People come to Instagram for leisure rather than for work, so it’s important that marketers take special care to put their followers’ interests first.
Waterfront Place (center) is a landmark, riverfront office building in the Brisbane central business district in Queensland, Australia. The 1 Eagle Street building was completed in 1989 and is home to some of Australia’s most influential private and government offices. The building is renowned for its grand piano in the foyer and the annual Climb for Cancer event, which this year raised more than AU$150,000 for medical research. CBRE Capital Markets recently negotiated the sale of the building for AU$635 million in the largest single office sale in Australia since 2009. #TallBuildings #CBRE #BuildOnAdvantage
A photo posted by CBRE (@cbre) on
Boeing’s Instagram account is an airplane lover’s dream. The aerospace company has built a following of more than 192,000 people by regularly publishing photos of its aircraft on the runway, in the air, and even approaching a beach in Saint Martin. One of the most important parts of building a social media community is being consistent with your message so that you can give people an idea of what they can expect to get from you on a regular basis. When people sign up to follow Boeing, they know they can count on the brand to post captivating photos of airplanes several times a week. While Boeing’s account is tailored to a wider audience than the private companies and government agencies it does business with, it never hurts to use social media to build a little buzz with the public at large.
A photo posted by BOEINGLOVERS INSTAGRAM® (@boeinglovers) on
Dolby’s Instagram feed takes its followers behind the scenes at entertainment industry events like E3 and South by Southwest, educating the public about the role its audio technologies play in making their favorite video games and movies sound the way they do.
For other marketers, the account serves as an example of how Instagram can be used to show people in your industry that you’re an active member of their communities and a valuable, connected insider.
A photo posted by Dolby Laboratories (@dolbylabs) on
Hopefully, these examples will inspire marketers to put a little time into their B2B Instagram feeds. As everyone reading this surely knows, just because you’re marketing products and services to other businesses doesn’t mean you don’t get to be creative.
Have fun, and good luck choosing the right filters.