Why Instagram is the best social media platform for B2B marketers

Basic RGBWhen it comes to developing the optimal B2B marketing mix, the conventional wisdom is that LinkedIn is far and away the best social media platform for generating new leads. After all, LinkedIn is used by 94 percent of all B2B marketers and the 10 most popular brands on LinkedIn are all B2B brands. But just because everyone else is doing it, does that mean that LinkedIn is really the best social media platform for B2B marketers?

There’s a more nuanced way of looking at social media and that’s engagement. Engagement means that people are actually reading your content and then interacting with it, not just liking your page. Engagement means that people are more willing to mention your brand or company to their friends. And, most importantly, the higher the engagement with your content, the more likely people are to buy from you.

In March 2016, TrackMaven actually set out to measure user engagement for B2B brands across different social media platforms to see if the conventional wisdom about LinkedIn was actually true. The company measured the average number of interactions per post per 1000 followers for five of the leading social media platforms: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

The results are surprising – Instagram turned out to be far and away the leader in terms of engagement, with 22.53 interactions per post. Pinterest came in second, with 15.88 interactions. Meanwhile, Twitter ranked dead last, at 0.86, and LinkedIn didn’t fare much better, at 1.09. Facebook turned out to be relatively middle-of-the-pack, at 5.99.

For B2B marketers, that should be a real wake-up call. The fact that both Instagram AND Pinterest scored so much better than the traditional social media networks we think of as the leaders in B2B marketing is proof that users’ habits are changing. Highly engaging visual content is what does best. Intuitively, this makes sense. It’s much easier to like or comment on a photo on a mobile device, which is where most people are using social networks these days.

As TrackMaven points out, a few industries that you might not expect to be leaders are really taking the visual engagement ball and running with it. According to TrackMaven, the top 3 B2B industries on Instagram are aerospace and defense, energy and engineering. On Pinterest, the clear B2B leader is financial services.

This knowledge of how engagement works on social media represents a real opportunity if you’re a B2B marketer. It’s clear that the newer visual-oriented social networks are a way to stand out from your competitors. Instead of blindly relying on LinkedIn because that’s the social network of choice for business professionals, it pays to check out how users are actually using social media – and then crafting content that will appeal to them.

It all comes down to numbers – if you’re happy with a measly 1 interaction per piece of content on Twitter and LinkedIn, then carry on with business as usual. But if you want to stand out from the crowd and develop new sources of leads, then it pays to allocate more resources to the emerging social media platforms, such as Instagram and (if you’re really bold) Pinterest.

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