A Working Instagram Marketing Strategy for B2Bs

On November 17, Business Insider reported on BrandFire cofounder and president Adam Padilla, whose Instagram strategy has earned him more than 30,000 followers on the increasingly popular, image-based social media platform.

Padilla chose to use Instagram as both a personal challenge and a brand-builder for his advertising agency:

What started as out a one-year personal challenge to soothe a creative itch has turned into a long-running project. He went from having just a couple of hundred Instagram followers to more than 30,000, and now he encourages every member of his team to follow his lead and challenge themselves creatively outside of work every day too.

In June 2014, he started to post a drawing each day as a way to return to his roots as a designer, citing his business partner Jesse Itzler for saying:

Do something that makes you feel uncomfortable every day.

Padilla said: “I didn’t do it for recognition. I did it to hold myself accountable.” The sketches began as five-to-ten-minute doodles, but as the weeks progressed, he started spending half an hour or longer on the drawings.

Sometimes You SHOULD Mix It Up

I’ve long held the belief that pushing the envelope and taking risks keeps you agile as a business owner (really, as a life-liver too), which is why I seek out clients with the same mindset. So many of us could learn from Padilla’s example—using social media to both reach a business-related audience and to further our own creativity.

Much of a professional service provider’s day is spent in task-based work or the grind of running the business, growth and development, communication, management. Yet, by actively fueling your creativity throughout the day or week, you’re likely to improve your problem-solving ability and maintain lower stress levels—i.e., you’ll do those same tasks BETTER.

Sure, we have our little outlets—a great book, a favorite TV show, an evening jog, a quiet glass of wine—but they often become part of the routine as well and lose effectiveness as stress relievers over time. By tapping into a part of yourself that is likely neglected as work-related responsibilities have grown, you’re promoting your own happiness.

Using social media to showcase this tapping-in is an innovative way to show that you’re not just a business—you’re a personality as well.

Why Instagram—Why Now?

In January 2015, Recode.net reported that Instagram, while still not as popular as Facebook, is the fastest growing major social network, according to a Pew Research Center study.

The site announced 300 million active users in December [2014], a 50 percent increase from just nine months prior.

They’ve also recently added sponsored post options for those interested in advertising.

Instagram Advertising

Building a Network

When building customer engagement on Instagram, one must take a slightly different approach than on other social media sites. On Facebook, for example, you can either advertise your business to build your number of likes or you can wait for users to come to you. Instagram requires a much more proactive methodology.

Amassing a following on Instagram requires that you actively seek out people who are potential customers and then create content they’ll want to see.

Since sharing on Instagram requires a third-party app (at least for now), you’re encouraged (and challenged) to post content that will keep people liking and commenting—and hopefully @tagging their friends and building their interest!

Locate the Locals with Geotagging

Geotagging allows pictures on Instagram to be categorized by location name—town, business, etc. For local businesses that rely on foot traffic and would benefit from geotagging—such as fitness studios, restaurants, shops, and the like—it is important that your business is properly listed on Foursquare. Instagram pulls its information from their database.

For instance, this past Thanksgiving, we enjoyed dinner at Bar Boulud; I tagged the restaurant when I posted my picture.

Instagram geotagging

If I were the business owner, I could select the location of my restaurant and see all the other people who had posted pictures tagged with the same location. Simply clicking the Follow button connects us, and if they decide to follow back, even better!

Instagram geotagging

Here in New York, I’ve found out about local restaurants and shops from people seeing my photos pop up in Astoria-related geotags.

Hashtagging Works Too

There is a delicate balance between over-tagging and under-tagging, but realistically there is no penalty for tagging more; tagging less, however, has the great downside of making your Instagram page harder to find.

When you start to type a hashtag into your Instagram post, it will show you the popularity of similar hashtags, which is a nifty way to align your posts with like-minded others!

Be Spontaneous.

Professional services is hardly wildly exciting, so use your creativity in the variety of things you post as well. Here is some inspiration from Ogilvy & Mather:

Ogilvy & Mather Instagram Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 2.42.23 PM Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 2.43.38 PM

To get started with Instagram, download the iPhone or Android app, and if you need help with strategy, give us a holler!

22-year veteran of strategy: brand, business, organizational, communications. Certified in project management and regulatory compliance. Fan of dark tea, thick books, peace, and unity.

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