Instagram was once the digital playground of hipsters and teens looking for a place to share pictures of frappes and puppies. In the past couple of years, its user base has exploded and now includes well-known brands and companies who use the platform as a way to reach and engage with customers.
Here are five of the top B2B Instagram feeds and some tips on how big brands use the image-sharing service as part of their business to business marketing strategy.
Riley Elliott aka @rileysharks isn’t just one of the world’s most outspoken shark advocates. He’s also a founding member of Sustainable Oceans Society, a non-profit formed in the wake of a massive oil spill in New Zealand. SOS’s goals are to promote ocean health at a grassroots level and teach people how to protect natural seafood resources for generations to come. #DoMore
A photo posted by Microsoft (@microsoft) on
Number of followers: 39,000
How they use Instagram: Microsoft is a relative newcomer to the Instagram scene, having recently launched their account in November, 2014 to “reinvent productivity.” The company hired a photographer to travel across the world and snap pictures of ordinary entrepreneurs using Microsoft products as part of their daily work life. Posted under the hashtag #DoMore, the company’s timeline features captivating images of farmers, graffiti artists, shark advocates, and other engaging folks doing interesting things. Microsoft lets the pictures speak for themselves and downplays hard-sell references so it won’t be long before their Instagram feed is as successful as their other social media sites — which, collectively, have over 10 million members.
A photo posted by IBM (@ibm) on
Number of followers: 10,000
How they use Instagram: IBM takes followers behind the scenes, right into its boardrooms and offices. The company overturns the image of a dry, boring business technology company and adds a human element to its products, even encouraging followers to caption a photo of an adorably bespectacled office mascot. IBM highlights people over products to reinforce the company’s global reach and innovation. “Employee engagement is a key part of our strategy–we always say that IBM is primarily experienced by the world at large through our employees, so it’s important to us that they’re engaged and feel empowered to share their experiences,” says Katie Keating, Social Content & Engagement Strategist at IBM.
Number of followers: 9,600
How they use Instagram: Email newsletter service Mailchimp’s Instagram timeline is a visual candy store that emphasizes its corporate culture in whimsical ways. It would be easy to dismiss Mailchimp’s approach as frivolous until you take a look at its Instagram feed and realize they’re actually well-crafted images that subtly advance a marketing message without hitting you over the head. From pictures of its monkey mascot to shots of the company softball team, Mailchimp uses its feed in a clever fashion to remind organizations that email is still a big part of the business world.
A photo posted by FedEx (@fedex) on
Number of followers: 12,000
How they use Instagram:FedEx pulls out all the stops on its Instagram account. Its planes and trucks feature prominently, of course, but it also has gorgeous images from delivery locations all around the world. The company really sells itself to businesses on Instagram by reminding customers they’ll get packages where they need to be, no matter what it takes.
A photo posted by Zendesk (@zendesk) on
Number of followers: 1,200
How they use Instagram: Customer service software vendor Zendesk aims its Instagram content squarely at other businesses by peppering pictures of employees and candid event shots alongside inspirational quotes and thoughts. By posting thoughtful images on how to provide exceptional customer service, Zendesk highlights its own commitment to building strong relationships with the organizations it serves.
Image: Jason Howie