When Instagram first came out, and as soon as it introduced video, B2C brands hopped right on it. But B2B brands should also be using new platforms and features. In fact, some like Intel, Maersk Line, VMware, Cisco and General Electric are already experimenting with Instagram video and taking on the challenge of delivering their message more concisely and embracing the move toward brevity across all content formats. Check it out:
Several of my agency’s clients have asked questions about integrating Instagram into their overall social media strategies. I would like to address those, and then some. If you have additional feedback or follow-up questions, I’d love to hear them!
What are the benefits of video for B2B companies?
Rich multimedia in the form of images, video and audio are great ways to give your content strategy and overall social media program a boost. Video presents some unique storytelling opportunities for companies that struggle to tell their story, or that have been telling their story in the same old way. Video is your opportunity to:
- Take tech out of the weeds: One of the main reasons reporters, bloggers, influencers and customers turn down some B2B stories is that they are deep in the weeds. If you can explain (better yet, show) how a new technology or product works in 15 seconds, you’ve got their attention.
- Show some personality: B2B companies and products have personalities too. Some of them make things smarter, some make things faster, and others are cleaning up the mess fuels have made. Wow them by showing how your products can make a difference.
- Be helpful: B2B buyers and end-users live by user manuals, technical guides, handbooks, etc. Think about sharing 15-second how-tos with your audience or, better yet, build your Instagram community by challenging users to produce 15-second videos to help fellow users troubleshoot common problems. You can feature them in the first-ever user-generated manual on your company’s website.
- Be relatable: Give the people behind the technology their 15-seconds of fame, literally. Consider shooting videos with your engineers, developers, and IT teams to let reporters, analysts, bloggers and influencers in on what happens backstage.
- Focus on your customers: Consider asking your customers to record 15-second testimonials. Embed these in your case studies or your next blog. A Q&A with a client can give an extra boost that will drive more engagement.
- Geek out without boring everyone to death: B2B companies exist in unique verticals and industry niches – think storage, clean tech, embedded technology. There are enough data sheets and solution manuals to wrap the Earth 17.3 times (not an actual fact). Show me a microprocessor in action and make my day.
Bonus Note: The beauty of Instagram video is that you can shoot it with your phone, use Instagram editing function to make cuts, and use Instagram filters to make it look awesome. Production cost here is literally ZERO DOLLARS and the level of difficulty is RIDICULOUSLY EASY.
Instagram or Vine? Is That the Right Question to Ask?
My stance is always to try to minimize the number of platforms/tools. Choose the ones that will best reach your target audience, and focus on creating consistent content on a consistent basis. Having said that, I’m on #TeamInstagram for a few reasons including the fact that it surpassed Vine quite drastically shortly after it introduced video capabilities:
- Its relationship with Facebook gives Instagram the benefit of Facebook’s already massive community. Vine is available only as a mobile app and via Twitter, limiting its user base and reach from the get-go.
- Sharing via Instagram is not limited to Facebook, hence photos and videos benefit from significant social amplification.
- The Instagram team has the flexibility to update the platform and add new features such as sharing and embedding, which enable the Holy Grail of social media and content marketing.
- Its hashtag capabilities transcend the Instagram ecosystem.
What are some specific things my company can do with Instagram?
- Encourage content creation: Use campaign or event hashtags on Instagram and encourage users to share their photos or videos that can increase the campaign or event’s visibility. They can also be leveraged in future social media and marketing collateral.
- Host a contest: GE asked Instagram users to take photos of GE products to win a trip to be behind the scenes at their next Instagram shoot. Put a video twist on this sort of campaign and ask users to share videos of them using your product for a chance to win.
- Build buzz: Hosting an event? Unveil your speaker lineup one-at-a-time in 15-second interviews where you share a bit of their bio and a link to see more.
- Backstage access: Give your Instagram community a sneak peek into the manufacturing of your next microprocessor, or a 15-second tour of your data center with an option to learn more about your infrastructure by downloading an eBook online.
- Product launch: Why not put together a 15-second video where you feature your new line of MCUs, the smallest in the world, next to common objects so that viewers can appreciate just how small it is?
- New announcements: Making an announcement soon? Build momentum by sharing a 15-second preview of what’s in store.