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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue ScientistTue, Jul 6, 2021 10 min read

Should My B2B Company Be Marketing On Instagram? Maybe, Yes And Not Necessarily

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore The Power Of Instagram

Should you be on Instagram? Yes, maybe, no, I don’t know. That’s the truth. Is it right for your company? It’s possible. What I do know is that you should be experimenting with Instagram to see if it produces awareness, leads and revenue for your company.

One billion monthly active users (MAUs) are on Instagram globally. The United States has the most monthly Instagram users (130 million), followed by India (100 million) and Brazil (91 million).

Should you be on Instagram? One billion people say yes. Are a lot of those people your prospects? Yes. The days when marketers shied away from what appear to be primarily B2C platforms are long gone. Today, B2B marketers are using Facebook, Instagram and even TikTok to drive awareness.

Here’s why you should at least consider trying Instagram for your B2B company.

One Billion People Should Get Your Attention

From an article on Business 2 Community: “With over one billion monthly users, Instagram ranks second after its counter-platform Facebook. ... As more users join the network and peruse their Feed, Stories, the Explore tab and IGTV, its popularity and frequent new feature launches, there is great opportunity for brands of all varieties to get into this space and find ways to find success.”

After all, with that many people on the platform, your audience is most certainly present.

But Instagram is still growing. The Business 2 Community article notes that “in the United States, Instagram saw an 8% increase in users in one quarter, spanning from Q3 2020 to the end of the year. Advertising in Western Europe? That region’s usage grew 17% in 2020.”

It’s consistently growing, and it’s safe to say that Instagram has a long way to go before getting saturated or outdated. That leaves plenty of opportunity for you to get in front of your prospects.


Targeting Makes It Highly Effective

Instagram is using similar targeting technology as Facebook, which is not surprising. But this makes finding your prospects on Instagram (even your B2B prospects) relatively easy.

Today’s marketing has already evolved from a B2B or B2C approach to a B2P (business to people) approach. That means you go where your people are, and right now, they’re on Instagram. Looking for CEOs? They’re on Instagram. Looking for CFOs, CROs, COOs or director-level people? They’re all on Instagram.

They might be on Instagram to watch their kids, friends or brands they like to follow, but they’re still on, and they can be targeted with outreach ads.

The key is using Facebook’s targeting technology.

As an article from Buffer explains, “You can specify your target audience’s location, demographics, interests, behaviors and more. You can even target people who have bought from you” or similar companies to yours.

You can even target based on groups, like CEO groups they might be members of, titles, income levels and other traditionally B2B targeting criteria. In short, I’m a fan of using these psychographic targeting criteria even more than the traditional criteria we’ve used for decades, like company size, number of employees and title.

This extra level allows you to tailor your message very precisely and offer a personalized ad experience. More on that next.

The Ad Platform Is Compelling And Engaging

Recent research shows that most Americans are exposed to over 3,000 ads every day, and these social media, smartphone-delivered ads now make up a big part of this number.

We’re all so inundated with ads, especially online ads, that there’s now a term called ad blindness. It describes the point when people stop noticing ads or banners on all platforms.

One way to overcome this phenomenon is to create more entertaining, engaging and noticeable ads. The Instagram platform allows that type of ad to be created and served up to potential prospects.

Using video, motion, graphics, music and audio linked together to tell a story makes it easier to grab people’s attention.

But be warned, other marketers are quickly moving to Instagram and will be over-saturating it in no time. But that shouldn’t deter you. In fact, it should push you to create high-quality, engaging and entertaining ads that have a compelling story to move people to take action.

I can’t emphasize this enough: You shouldn’t skip the strategy when it comes to ad copy and creative for any paid social media advertising. Your words matter. If they can’t grab your prospect and immediately connect with them because you clearly articulate you understand them and their challenges, don’t waste your time or money on any ads.

Right Now, It’s Cheaper Than LinkedIn

Today, Instagram represents an opportunity to drive awareness at a cheaper cost per click than all of the other ad platforms.

Cost per click on Instagram is running between 70 cents and $1. Cost per click is $1.72 on Facebook and $5.26 on LinkedIn, while Google Search ads cost between $1 and $2.

Remember, these sites run auction-related programmatic bidding software. The more people want to buy the ads, the more the cost per click will increase. This is what has pushed the LinkedIn cost per click up so dramatically.

The more people in the pool, the more crowded the pool and the warmer the water. One other note: You should be keeping a close eye on the cost per click but also on the cost per acquiring a new customer. This connects your marketing spend directly with the revenue from new clients and makes sure you know how much it’s costing you to get new customers.

It’s Not Just For B2C, It’s For B2P

I mentioned this above, but there are still people who think about marketing as a company-to-company effort. It’s not. I can’t be clearer.

The one-to-many advertising model from the “Mad Men” days is over. Today, the best ads are served in a one-to-one fashion. Think about the online ads you respond to. They appear to be talking directly to you. They might even use your name or reference something that’s important to you.

When you move from one-to-many channels like search, banner ads, cold email marketing, trade shows or any traditional advertising to a one-to-one channel like social, nurture emails or even personalized website experiences, you need to make those ads as personalized as possible.

Instagram’s targeting platform allows you to focus very narrowly by a number of segments and personalize the ads directly to people in those segments.

This should be something you’re considering as part of your Instagram advertising strategy.

A Cautious Note On Advertising

Finally, I feel obligated to talk about buying attention versus earning attention. Any advertising, even targeted social media or Instagram advertising, is about buying attention. You’re paying to put your ad in front of someone who you think might be interested.

This is different than publishing highly educational, entertaining, engaging and compelling content that earns people’s attention.

Once you get hooked on buying attention, it’s very hard to stop doing it. Earning attention does require you to create content at scale and continue to feed that content beast, but by earning someone’s attention, you gain a contact for life as opposed to someone who might only give you their attention for a brief moment right after that ad is served up.

To mitigate this situation, we often run two concurrent marketing streams. One works on earning attention, and over time that stream improves. At the same time, we run paid advertising to jump-start the brand awareness and lead generation required to hit a client’s revenue goals.

Over time, our intent is to wind down the paid ads as the inbound and organic programs gain traction. It’s a delicate balance, and in some cases, clients want to have both streams running.

Make sure you’re clear on your intentions and don’t skimp on the earned attention just because the paid attention is working today. Remember, that paid attention is likely going to get more expensive over time.

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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist

Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.