For some B2B and B2C lead gen marketers, social media doesn’t feel as natural as say email marketing. And Instagram? That aesthetically-obsessed, millennials everywhere platform? How do lead gen marketers fit in there? The answer: they fit in quite nicely, actually. No, you won’t be using Instagram as an e-commerce marketer would, but it’s a fantastic platform to build your brand and generate leads. Um, cool! Exactly what you want to be doing, right?
And before you diss the majority audience that opens Instagram on a daily basis, know that 40% of the workforce at most average companies are millennials. Whew! As time passes, those millennials will advance in their careers to decision-making positions, and even more will join the workforce, According to that same Forbes article, in the next ten years, 75% of the workplace will be millennials no matter where you are. So don’t ignore or discount this bunch.
In this post, we’ll look at some very informative stats that could influence your current strategy, and then end with some best practices, tips, and tricks for B2B and B2C lead gen marketers to get the most out of Instagram, but stay authentic to their brand and the platform.
Important Instagram stats for lead gen marketers
As we turned up in our Q4 benchmark report, Instagram’s current cost and performance are pretty darn enticing for PPC marketers. Instagram CPC was down 80.3% year over year, Instagram CPM was down 55% year over year, and Instagram CTR was skyrocketing 120% year over year.
Mid-2018, Instagram hit 1 billion monthly users. But more exciting than that, is the fact that Instagram's user count is growing close to 5% per quarter. So if you thought the company might start plateauing after the billion mark, think again.
One billion monthly is super impressive, right? But if those people are only opening the app every now and again, that doesn’t make Instagram the consistent platform marketers want. Well, check this out—of the 1 billion monthly active users, more than 500 million of them use the platform every day.
Ok, fine! People are logging in like it’s some kind of addiction, but are other marketers seeing success from campaigns they’ve run on Insta? Oh yes. In the billions of dollars category of success. eMarketer estimates that Instagram will have generated $5.48 billion in U.S. ad revenue in 2018.
And what does that success look like for marketers, especially those in the B2B and B2C lead gen space? According to TrackMaven, B2B companies experience their largest engagement ratios on Instagram. Ok, yes, we’ll take that, please.
Now back to who’s using Instagram and determining if they’re a part of your target audience.
71% of Instagram users around the globe are under the age of 35, and the breakdown between women and men is virtually even.
Alright, those are pretty compelling stats, but is Instagram even considered a shopping channel by the people who use it? You betcha. According to Business Insider, 72% of Instagram users say they have purchased a product they saw on the app.
Don’t think that your brand should focus solely on posts. Instagram Stories, which debuted in mid-2016, is a big deal, and Instagram is making them even easier for brands to use with features like Promote for Stories, released at the end of last year. The ad unit allows Instagram business pages to insert their Story into the Stories queue of people they’ve targeted using certain filters. It’s a super simple way for businesses to turn existing Stories into ads without having to do much work. Instagram says the feature works similarly to Facebook’s Boost in that businesses can pay to instantly show their Story to more viewers.
Since its launch, Instagram Stories is now used by 400 million users every day. And it’s not just friends watching each other’s Stories. One-third of the most viewed Instagram Stories are from businesses.
One VERY important feature of Instagram Stories is the ability to include links. In regular posts, brands can include links only in bios, not in the posts or comments. With Stories, business profiles can include links as a CTA to swipe up and take further action.
Instagram Best Practices, Tips, & Tricks
Using Instagram as a B2B and B2C lead gen marketer isn’t much different than how another business would use it, but there are some important nuances to keep in mind. Remember the whole reason for getting on the platform is to build your brand and generate leads, so keep that in mind as you outline your strategy and start building out your content calendar.
Building Your Brand
In the realm of Instagram, building your brand means coming across as authentic, genuinely engaging with people, and posting content that entertains, inspires, and/or informs fans. Here are some pointers to consider when putting your content together:
This is a best practice across every platform, so no surprises here. If anything, Instagram fans have even higher expectations than for Facebook or Twitter. This is the platform where images should look super put-together and first-rate. You don’t need fancy photo and video equipment either. Using a newer phone to capture content is actually a great way to hone in on authenticity. Just follow the basic tenents of good photography and videography: clear shots, focus on the main subject, light editing, etc.
Keep your design consistent
This doesn’t mean following the life-is-perfect whimsical shots you see on the feeds of top Instagram influencers. Instead, focus on what makes your brand unique and recognizable and make sure that’s reflected in every post.
Don’t go buckwild with the hashtags
Nothing says inauthentic like 20 lines of random hashtags. Confirm the hashtags that make sense for your brand, and then vary them, 2-3 per post, throughout the copy, or appended to the end of your caption.
If someone comes across your brand, visits your profile page, but you haven’t posted in a month, they’re going to think you’re either not serious about Instagram, or the company is defunct. People want to see that you’re just as engaged with fans on Instagram as you hope they’ll be engaged with you.
This will take some trial and error, but you will win big when you determine when your audience is most likely scrolling through their feed. Is it lunchtime during the week? 11 pm just as they’re drifting off to sleep? Weekend mornings as they sip their coveted mimosa? The best time is super dependent on your industry, so play around until you hit a number you like.
Share the engagement love
No one likes doling out the compliments and not getting a little something in return. For that reason, make sure you’re spending time commenting and liking other people’s posts. A simple double tap goes a long way, and a personalized comment can do wonders. Just be sure you’re not pasting the same generic comment onto multiple posts. That’s just ew.
Here’s where Instagram doesn’t necessarily make it easy for B2B and B2C lead gen marketers, but they don’t make it impossible. You just have to make sure you’re giving people a reason and clear path to engage further. Do that by sharing content that provides value. If people see you’re already giving them something they can use, they’ll be more likely to want more. Here’s just a shortlist of ideas to try out:
- Showcase customers who help highlight a specific use case that might apply to others.
- Share stats or other info that people in your industry might find helpful or interesting.
- Provide tips or quick tutorials about your product’s most compelling features.
There’s still lots of lead gen marketers that would argue Instagram is no place for them, but that’s just because they haven’t seen the wonderful opportunities the platform provides. Be one of the brave first and no doubt you’ll be rewarded with high-quality leads no one else is going after!