Woman lying a bed, surrounded by photos.
Instagram has proven to be an effective way to market to hard-to-reach demographics. PHOTO: Photo by ian dooley on Unsplash

What started out as a simple photo-editing and sharing tool is now embraced by large B2C brands as a way to reach younger demographics. Today, Instagram is mainstream. 

The platform is used by over 800 million people, and B2B brands like Salesforce, EY and IBM rely on it to connect with prospective customers, nurture relationships with existing customers and attract employees.

That said, a number of B2B brands are still struggling to figure out Instagram. This article will help you integrate Instagram into your social media marketing strategy and optimize the channel to increase brand awareness and to generate leads.

1. Focus on the Target Customer Before Developing a Strategy

Amassing thousands of Instagram followers is meaningless if the followers are not part of your target audience. Before developing an Instagram strategy, build at least one clear customer persona.

Understand the demographic and psychographic makeup of your target audience, and then develop content that will appeal specifically to them. 

Your target audience should feel as though you're speaking directly to them through your Instagram account.
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2. Use Analytics to Measure Performance and to Calculate ROI

In order to understand if your Instagram strategy is performing well, you simply must invest in some sort of Instagram analytics platform like Owlmetrics. These tools will help you measure engagement, growth and mentions.

Social media marketers should also use website analytics and marketing attribution in order to determine how visitors referred to your website through Instagram engage with content. They also reveal how they are converting into leads, opportunities and customers.

3. Experiment With Various Instagram Ad Vehicles

Because Instagram is owned by Facebook, marketers have the luxury of having access to a variety of targeting options when developing ads. You can use geographic and demographic information to speak specifically to a target audience. Alternatively, marketers can upload a list of specific emails to target or use tracking pixels to launch Instagram retargeting ads.

Once your desired targeting is in place, social media marketers should test Instagram Stories, video, photo and carousel ads to determine which ads resonate best with your target audience.

4. Analyze Competitor Strategy to Find First-Mover Advantages

Using Instagram analytics tool, social media marketers can analyze the strategy of competitors on Instagram. By carefully monitoring what others in the same industry are and are not doing, social media managers can identify areas of opportunity that can produce big results given the first-mover advantage.

Understanding the Power of Instagram

Some of the world’s greatest B2B brands have found success with Instagram marketing. In order to develop an effective strategy, you must first understand the target audience. Then, you should use some sort of analytics tool to measure performance from Instagram to the end of the marketing funnel.

As you plan your social media marketing strategy, remember that Instagram ads can be a powerful way to increase brand awareness or to kick off a new campaign. Lastly, analyzing the competition can help you to identify a golden opportunity to engage prospective customers in a new way.