If you’re an online business, or really any business these days, advertising on social media is key to sales. Consumer brands have seen explosive success with directly targeting their target market on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and other channels. 💣
I’ve already talked about why you need to advertise on Instagram, but B2B advertising is a little different. It’s important to consider your audience and brand when turning to social media advertising for your business, so adjust your strategy accordingly before jumping in.
First, Make Sure You Have an Instagram Account
This sounds totally DUH, but the first step is making sure your business has an Instagram.
It’s possible to use your business Facebook page to advertise on Facebook and Instagram concurrently, so you don’t necessarily have to have an Instagram to advertise on Instagram. You can advertise on Instagram and set your Facebook page as the destination for Instagram ads.
Even if you’re only in the testing stage, I don’t recommend this. 😬
Although Instagram and Facebook are owned by the same company, they are very different. The demographics, the content, and the ways people use the platform are different.
I recommend setting up an Instagram Business account before you start B2B advertising on Instagram. It will make you look more credible since people can explore your business within the Instagram app without having to go to Facebook or your website.
Don’t start immediately with paid advertising on your Instagram. Begin with some organic posts so you can see what grabs your audience’s attention, what hashtags work well, and your brand messaging for Instagram (tip: it can be slightly different than Facebook!).
Then add your Instagram page to your Business Manager so you can run ads. Review shares, comments, and views on your organic Instagram posts to see what performed best.
Figure Out Who Your Target Audience Is
When you begin strategy and planning, take a look at your desired audience in the Business Manager. You can create your audience in an ad set and review the Audience Definition data.
It’s important to do this before you go too far down the road of planning a content calendar because you might have to adjust your strategy. You might find that your audience is too large and you need to narrow it down. Or, many businesses find that their audience is too small when B2B advertising.
It can take some time to find the right audience size, but I caution against going too small. Although you can create a super-specific audience, you may find that with a limited market you don’t get the engagement you’re looking for. 👍
As with any business plan, don’t just shoot in the dark. What are you goals with Instagram advertising? Having a set list of goals will help you plan posts and define your audience.
There are a number of different KPIs to consider, including clickthrough rate, conversion rate, cost per lead, etc. While you can’t expect to reach your goals immediately (especially with a new account and just starting out with B2B advertising on Instagram), keeping an eye on your goals and consistently reviewing your metrics will help direct your strategy.
Put Together High-Quality Images and/or Videos for Your Ads
Everything on Instagram is visual. More so than Facebook, IG focuses on images. It’s crucial to have good images and videos for your posts and ads. 📷
It helps to have a number of high-quality branded images to use for posts, but if you haven’t built up this inventory yet, there are so many free stock image sites online. You can use sites like Canva to get professional-looking creative content for free.
You can also use stock photos from Facebook/Instagram, but be aware that you cannot use those images elsewhere. If you create an image in Canva, it can be used on your website, email marketing, and social media.
The image is the most important part of your Instagram ad, so make sure it stands out. Whether it’s a bit of bold text or a pop of color, make it look good! ✨
For image and video ads, be sure to have a clear call to action and a goal for your Instagram campaign before starting the ad. This will help you have a clear plan while creating the creative.
Try different call-to-action buttons that will appear at the bottom of your ad. Run A/B tests to see what works with your audience and what doesn’t. The more information you have about what your audience likes, the better.
Carousel ads are popular, and should tell a story. Use the panels and descriptions to draw in the user so they click (or whatever action you are driving them towards).
Don’t Rule Out Instagram Stories!
Instagram Stories are image and video clips that have a very short shelf life. They expire after 24 hours, making users feel the pressure and excitement of seeing something that’s short-term. You may think that an ad that will expire very quickly isn’t worth the time or effort.
But you would be missing out on the millions of users that engage with Stories, some who focus more on Stories than the rest of their feed.
There’s data to back up their effectiveness, too. Instagram reports that there are 500 million Stories, with ⅓ coming from businesses and one out of every five Stories ads leads a direct message to the advertisers.
Stories are an excellent way to reach users. 😎
Use Lookalike Audiences
The lookalike audiences on Instagram are one of its best features, because it gives you better capacity to reach potential customers. Creating a lookalike audience by using existing customer information means that you are more likely to reach users who are potential customers.
You can even layer additional targeting on lookalike audiences to further narrow your audience to create the ideal target market. Once you find that your brand messaging works with a specific audience, you can continue to market directly to them. Better direction in B2B advertising means better leads! 🎇
Choose Your Ad Placements
There are two options when B2B advertising on Instagram — you can place your ad in the Feed or Stories. If you can, I recommend running A/B testing to see which works better for you.
If your audience can support breaking ads into two different placements, it can give you a lot of insight into how the ad performs based on where users see it. There can be a big difference between engagements, so testing is worth your time.
My advice with placements, and with creating your ad and content in general, is not to assume. You may think that your ad will do better in Stories, but A/B testing actually shows that placement in the Instagram Feed is more successful.
When you are first starting out, I encourage you to try different things and then look closely at the data behind your efforts. Don’t go by feelings (like you get some positive comments on an ad so you feel like that one was super successful versus others that maybe got more double-taps) but go by the data.
The benefit of Business Manager is being able to pore over all the data from your ads and see metrics from every aspect including impressions, likes, comments, and more.
Using Instagram for B2B Advertising can be really beneficial if you adjust your strategy for the platform. Use these tips to help you get started on the platform!