Guest Post by Cherilyn Kawa Megill: Instagram for B2B... Six Best Practices
By Cherilyn Kawa Megill, Chief Marketing Officer at Phillips Edison & Company
Instagram currently has more than 800 million users on a monthly basis, making it a huge platform of opportunity for B2B brands. Although you make think that your company or brand isn’t relevant on this platform, there are thousands of companies and brands using Instagram to bring awareness to their services and products, engage with their audience and to attract new clients and customers.
At Phillips Edison & Company, we focus on more than property photos and buildings. Our account, and specifically the “People of PECO” strategy, showcases our people and culture in a fun, entertaining and educational way. We tie it together with our retail-focused ads designed to promote our brand as industry experts and continuously seek to establish connections and build relationships. We want people to WANT to work for us, partner with us, invest in us. And people are more likely to do those things when they see us as people and not just a corporate real estate company.
Each month our ad campaign highlights a new area of retail and our Instagram brings the people into that picture – literally! In April, our ads were java-themed, and our Instagram followed that theme by featuring our people and partners as they toured coffee shops, enjoyed caffeinated beverages and shared stories revolving around the topic.
For example, one associate shared her engagement which occurred in a coffee shop and another shared a story of how his previous life as a coffee-shop owner/operator prepared him for his role at PECO. Our posts are fun, relevant and relatable, on both a personal and a professional level.
Our followers don’t stay connected to us so that they can get sales pitches or look at buildings. They come to learn about the business and to be entertained. We focus on providing both. When we provide information about an emerging retail concept, we’re enlightening our followers about a unique concept and peaking their interest about what makes that specific concept successful. We’re also giving them ideas on fun places to visit in their down time! Our Instagram informs and entertains, building relationships one retailer, one associate, one investor at a time.
The success of the Instagram strategy has flowed over to PECO’s other social media accounts. Many of our Instagram posts link to blogs or other content on our website, encouraging visitors to check out our other platforms and increasing traffic to our website, Twitter and Facebook.
Let’s take a look at some best practices for using this platform to boost your company’s success.
#1. Be Genuine & Real
Stock photography and staged promo pictures will deter genuine prospects from connecting to your brand. Your prospects and leads want to see real-time, real photography and content that offers a unique look into your company’s culture and products. Live videos and unfiltered photos can add a great human element to your B2B social presence and help you form a truthful and genuine connection to your audience.
#2. Move Quickly
Instagram is an easy platform to post photos and videos right from your mobile device. Open the app, add a photo or video with a catchy caption and hashtags, press post and boom, you’ve got great content. You don’t need to spend hours creating content through editing and pre-planning procedures. Try to post at least a few times a week to stay relevant, but avoid becoming white noise by over posting.
Join in on the party and do more than just post content on your feed. If your community is commenting on your posts, reply back to them. Comment on others’ posts and be sure to make your captions engaging by asking questions that require more than a yes or no response. Take the time to check out other Instagram profiles. Don’t just log in to post and then log out.
#4. Utilize Your Bio
Instagram doesn’t allow you to link to websites within the post captions, but you can include a link in your bio which is the perfect place to link to your website or blog posts for your company. Linktree is another tool you can use to create a custom link that includes a page with even more links. Instagram stories are also a great avenue for sharing links, but keep in mind these stories only last for 24 hours, but are a great option for providing real-time offers.
#5. Tell a Story with Every Photo
Think about how each post will fit into your Instagram profile as a whole and make sure you are using every photo or video post to tell a story that elevates your brand and business. To attract people to your business and encourage engagement, you need to offer consistent visual storytelling that stands out on Instagram. Don’t just limit posts to your general photo and video feed. Use the Instagram stories feed to string together multiple photos or videos to provide consumers with a more personal experience.
#6. Don’t Rely Heavily on Vanity Metrics
A boost in likes or clicks is great, but the real measure of success is how many comments you are receiving on your posts and how many followers you are gaining. These two indicators will give a better overall picture of your account’s success.
Instagram isn’t just for B2C brands. The platform holds great potential for B2B businesses when used with these best practices in mind.
Cherilyn Megill joined Phillips Edison & Company in 2013 as the Vice President of Marketing & Communications and was promoted to Chief Marketing Officer in January 2017. She was previously employed as the Vice President of Marketing for Retail Properties of America, Inc. from 2005-2013 and before that as Director of Marketing with The Boyer Company from 2001-2004. Prior to joining Boyer, she was the Senior Director of Marketing and Tourism for TrizecHahn for fifteen years. She has been active with ICSC serving as the Chairperson of the United States Shopping Center MAXI Awards, the Chairperson for the CMD Committee, a member of the CRX Committee and as a member of the U.S. MAXI Team and MOCIAL Committee. She received her bachelor’s degree from Weber State University.
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