B2B brands have traditionally never bet big on social media marketing, preferring instead to engage with customers via live events or in-person consultations. However, the pandemic pushed brands to think outside the box and explore new and innovative modes of interaction. B2B marketers embraced the shift and took to social media channels to engage with customers. There has been a rise in interactions across all social media platforms, although Instagram surpasses Facebook, YouTube and Twitter by a significant amount. Instagram stories are becoming the go-to channel for B2B brands to push content aimed at educating consumers about new product launches and engaging through expert talks and how-to product videos. Below are some of the ways brands have been engaging with customers.
1.Style Guides and Home Project Ideas
Brands such as Sherwin Williams and LP Building use Instagram Stories to showcase their ongoing projects, step-by-step guides, and product-usage ideas. By adding a layer of guidance, the experience becomes interactive for consumers and helps them progress through unfamiliar tasks with tips and recommendations in tow.
2. Using Highlights for Products and Features
Stories have a short accessibility window of 24 hours, but with Story Highlights, brands can now not only preserve their stories, but also group them under common themes. The feature enables the consumer to browse through a brand’s Stories at their own convenience. Sherwin Williams uses Highlights to reach more customers by promoting sales channels through “Shop Products” and “Order Color”. When the customer browses through these highlights, they are immediately redirected to the brand’s website, where they can shop for the products. Brands such as Pella windows and Rockwell automation are also leveraging this feature to showcase their latest products and maintain a repository of Virtual Events, Q&A sessions and other FAQs.
3.Leveraging Video Format for More Traction
As a means of customer interaction, video is gaining popularity as it strides towards increasing the attention span of the audience. B2B brands are following suit and investing heavily in video marketing tactics such as hosting live events and podcasts. As opposed to in-person conferences, these events help brands inform the customer about new product launches and give them a chance to ask questions during the session. Brands are also using Story Features to post Q&A and then answer them via video for an elevated level of interaction.
4. Enhancing Customer Experience
Adding a Chat Option in Stories provides additional touchpoints for the consumer and can aid in sales. Consumers can reach out to brands directly without leaving the Instagram browser. The persistent Chat feature from Cummins, for example, comes alive when the user swipes up the story and clicks on the Chat button, which redirects them to the Live Chat window.
Overall, social media is proving to be a game-changer for B2B brands and how they engage with the customer. Since consumer-preferred channels for brand interaction are evolving, brands that are working towards building a stronger social media presence are poised to benefit in the long run.