It’s part of human nature to gravitate towards a sense of belonging, and B2B marketers need to expand their toolbelts to include more community-focused initiatives.

Mariana Padilla, Founder and CEO of Red Lab Marketing, sees beyond Big Data. For her, the real action is in the personal connections she is able to create for her business and her clients on Instagram. She believes the platform opens up the opportunity to build community without the need to rely on customer data collection. 

Mariana shares her focus on Instagram with the Leadtail community in a Spirited Conversations event. 

She roots for the face-to-face effect, which most B2B marketers can appreciate when assessing the bigger picture of their social media strategies.

Less Big Data, More Human Connection

You may think that you’ve squeezed every last drop of value from Instagram, but Mariana insists otherwise. The social network platform generates twenty times more engagement than LinkedIn, she says. If those same statistics don’t at least somewhat reflect your business’s findings, there is surely room for growth.

She shares that “81% of users use the platform to research products and services,” and that “80% of people claimed Instagram has had an impact on purchasing decisions. If I go on, and I see that there isn’t really a strong Instagram presence, for me personally—because I love Instagram so much—that’s kind of a red flag.”

In the spirit of green flags, Mariana breaks down how to align B2B marketing with the pulse of Instagram.

How Do We Make That Happen?

B2B companies that have yet to establish an Instagram presence will want to begin by understanding four essential pillars for great Instagram content: community building, entertainment, inspiration, and education.

“Obviously, no matter what your business is, no matter what industry you’re in, you want to be seen as a thought leader,” she says. “You want to be able to educate your audience about your product, your service and your industry.”

Mariana identifies four companies that each embodies one of these pillars: Shopify, Hootsuite, Adobe, and ActiveCampaign. Sometimes you have to take a long, appreciative look at who’s doing it right before you reach your own success. 

She identifies ways they have mastered each of the individual pillars. Shopify, for example, brands themselves as “the entrepreneurship company” in their Instagram bio. 

“They want to be known as the hub of community for entrepreneurs. And that is what their content demonstrates,” Mariana says. “If you’re thinking about launching a brand, right, okay, maybe this is the sign that you should launch the brand, and you should do it with Shopify.”

“I think Hootsuite is super cheeky,” Mariana says. “I love their little owls.” The brand shares funny and relatable content that resonates with social media managers, helping to reinforce the brand as a fellow traveler on the social media professional’s journey.

Adobe creates inspirational content for creatives that highlights what’s possible using their products. Not only does this cement Adobe’s place as a thought leader in graphic design, but it also inspires the community of visual creatives. It’s a recipe for a must-follow Instagram feed.

“ActiveCampaign does a really great job, and they’re really smart about how they educate thier audience,” Mariana says. “They know that people have really short attention spans … so they have a whole series of fifteen-second educational videos.”

User Generated Content

Mariana dives into an especially powerful way to connect with a B2B audience that applies to any of these four pillars—user generated content. Customers can see and share reactions from a raw and real perspective, one that puts a human face alongside the company’s services.

“Giving a face to your customers so your audience can see them and form that connection will grow that ‘know, like, and trust’ factor and make it so much easier to sell and convert them into paying clients in the long run,” she says.

So, what is the best way she suggests to leverage this newfound mode of trust? Mariana emphasizes the credibility that an audience associates with genuine reviews. Have you ever used the keyword “honest” when trying to find real opinions before a purchase? This addresses that exact sentiment.

“Sharing your fans’ content is a great way to build relationships and show your audience you’re listening,” Mariana says. “If I see other people sharing content and their experience—I’m like, ‘Okay, this is legit.’”

That’s not to say that user generated content is a magician’s trick up your sleeve. Creators on Instagram, as well as TikTok, primarily focus their attention and income on this niche. It’s gaining traction, and B2B marketing has an opportunity to join the movement.

Finally, Mariana shares a few proven ways B2B marketers can leverage the Instagram platform effectively:

  • Emphasize authenticity over perfection. “People want authenticity,” Mariana says. There’s no need for every picture or video to be a perfect production. Be real with your audience and they will reward you.
  • Use social media to start conversations. “Make sure that you’re using your platform the way it’s meant to be used, which is to start conversations,” Mariana says. “It’s not just about pushing out content. So make sure you’re engaging with content and using your DMs.”
  • Be consistent—consistently. “The platform rewards you for showing up and posting consistently,” Mariana says. Maintaining a cadence week in and week out will pay exponential dividends over time.

Watch Mariana’s entire presentation on Leadtail TV

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