Companies seeking retail customers have flocked to Instagram, whose clean interface perfectly showcases the photo-heavy content it supports. And while B2B organizations have been slower to embrace Instagram, many that have are producing standout work.
Instagram draws in over 800 million active monthly users. Since its 2012 acquisition by Facebook, the platform has become easier than ever for its users to integrate with Facebook profiles and pages, making Instagram a portal to an even larger social media audience. Companies that know how to make Instagram work for their brands therefore have access to billions of viewers, including those that make daily business decisions.
With such a visual medium, there are several tried-and-true tactics that B2B marketers can use to get real value out of Instagram. Some of those tactics include:
- Sharing the company’s personality with customers and followers
- Offering people genuine visual inspiration
- Bolstering the company’s employer brand by telling employees’ stories
- Underscoring the company’s mission and values
With those broad strategies in mind, here are 19 B2B companies using Instagram in all the best ways.
Companies Offering a Glimpse Behind the Curtain
Many B2B companies on this list limit their Instagram accounts to particular content, whether it’s examples of their work or pictures of day to day company life. AdRoll’s Instagram trends in the opposite direction, throwing in everything from company candids to cute puppy photos. The result is an Instagram feed that leaks enthusiasm and welcoming — precisely the vibe AdRoll seeks to share.
Free Creator Studio
Free uses its Instagram profile for one purpose: to communicate its artistic vision. Sometimes, images are posted with little to no commentary, training the focus solely on the work itself. The result is a social media account that doesn’t need to spell out Free’s focus on photography within content production and branding. The Instagram feed shows it.
UBS is a large financial corporation whose work can be extraordinarily complex. Yet UBS’s Instagram account is beautifully accessible. It’s also a source of transparency for the company, which has used it to share behind-the-scenes looks into a recent rebranding and collaborations with professional artists.
Ad Age’s Internet presence demonstrates the advertising publication’s passion for their field, as the company regularly blogs about news, comments on current events and even hands out its own set of awards for outstanding advertising each year. Ad Age’s Instagram is a bit more introspective: It showcases the agency’s work, but it also digs into music, food and anything the team finds inspiring.
Few worldwide companies have the longstanding name recognition of IBM, which has been living up to its initials — providing international business machines — for decades. IBM’s Instagram account moves away from the world of desks and server racks to show a side of the company its product users don’t always see: the innovation and inspiration that drives the company and challenges its staff to continually recreate what it means to do business.
Companies That Provide Real Inspiration
Global commercial real estate firm CBRE could fill its social media with dry information about property, zoning, taxes or market fluctuations — but doing so probably wouldn’t bring in the viewers. Instead, CBRE leverages Instagram’s minimalist interface and photo-first approach to showcase some of the world’s most beautiful architecture. CBRE’s Instagram reads more like a museum of beautiful buildings than a corporate brochure, attracting followers who might otherwise never have heard of the company.
With a focus on marketing and sales, HubSpot can be expected to have a solid, cohesive approach to social media, and HubSpot’s Instagram account doesn’t disappoint. The real gems are sprinkled among the feel-good photos: HubSpot isn’t afraid to combine images and text to share useful quotes and advice as well as the view from inside its creative processes.
With foundational software like Photoshop under its name, Adobe has a big reputation to live up to on a social media platform devoted to photographs. And Adobe’s Instagram delivers on its promise. Unlike many other B2B companies online, however, Adobe’s Instagram has a noticeable omission: The company doesn’t list its URL in its bio. Instead, Adobe leverages its Instagram feed to provide inspiration, spotlight artists’ works and share study material for its 600,000 followers, many of whom work intimately with photography.
Companies Branding Themselves as Destination Employers
Hootsuite is a social media management tool, so it makes sense that the company would embrace a wide variety of social media options. Hootsuite’s Instagram account focuses on building and showcasing the company’s culture, making it an outstanding recruiting tool as well as a way to reach out to potential customers.
Many companies use Instagram to showcase their internal cultures, but Grey Advertising takes it one step further: Every week, a different Grey NY staff member runs the company’s Instagram account. The result is a collection of images that reads like episodes of a television series: Each week showcases a different perspective, and all of them build on Grey’s core culture and driving values.
Like IBM and Intel, Oracle is a cornerstone name in its field, dealing with both software and hardware. And, like IBM and Intel, Oracle is killing it on Instagram. Oracle’s Instagram account continually pushes the envelope in turning technology into art while also providing thought-provoking commentary, information and even a bit of humor. The result is a photo feed that doubles as a recruiting tool: Both potential customers and potential employees know who they’re working with before they ever pick up the phone.
Infusionsoft gives small businesses the sales and marketing software and support they need. Infusionsoft’s Instagram carries that small-business feel into social media. Shots from the company’s offices, images of small businesses succeeding with Infusionsoft’s tools and scenes from conferences and presentations give the feed a collaborative, homelike feel with a twist of inspiration and wisdom.
With a focus on B2B apps and data analysis, Citrix could run a standard informational account via Instagram. Instead, Citrix’s Instagram feed skips heavy-handed promotion in favor of sharing fun photos that play with the company’s branding and core message. Whether it’s company bicycles or their name spelled in Legos, Citrix has fun without ever letting potential customers forget who they are.
Companies Communicating Their Values Through Visual Storytelling
General Electric has been a household name for generations, often literally: The company’s initials, GE, appear on a vast range of household appliances. Via General Electric’s Instagram, the company shares the stories behind the name, with behind-the-scenes images and video of engineers, researchers and other members of their team. Often, these images share a vision of hope and inspiration for a future run by clean energy and thoughtful tech — making GE’s Instagram a surprisingly uplifting one to add to your feed.
When banking deregulation swept the US in the 1980s, Wells Fargo reinvented itself to stay current. This innovative, can-do spirit has been inherited by the current generation of Wells Fargo staff, and it shows in the bank’s Instagram account. Covering everything from financial tips to current events, Wells Fargo’s Instagram demonstrates a dedication to staying on top of a changing world — and to understanding that world as the context in which Wells Fargo and its clients do business.
Email newsletter and marketing tool MailChimp is all about reaching out to an audience. The company’s software makes it easy to integrate outstanding visual design into emails and ad campaigns, so it’s not surprising that MailChimp’s Instagram profile does the same. And since MailChimp’s logo is a smiling cartoon chimpanzee, it’s not surprising that the company’s Instagram account injects a fair bit of humor, as well.
Like individuals who start Instagram accounts to share their passions, SAP uses its Instagram feed to spread the company’s passion for software. SAP’s Instagram operates as an educational and inspirational tool for business owners, sharing advice and content as well as highlighting SAP’s own work. The result is an Instagram with value to businesses, whether or not they’re in the market for software.
Intel has been one of the most recognizable names in computing for decades. It could be tempting for a company with such a high profile to rest on its laurels. Instead, Intel maintains a stunningly beautiful Instagram account with a lighthearted look at how its main focus, semiconductors, reaches into every part of business and community life. Intel’s sharp take on tech photography and interesting commentary make its name not only familiar, but accessible.
Founded in 2010, WeWork seeks to create inspiring shared office spaces. Since then, the company has pushed into ambitious community-building projects, from its programs for veterans-turned-businesspeople to its goal to hire refugees. WeWork’s Instagram showcases the company’s inspiration for community, providing real-life views of WeWork office spaces around the world and uplifting day-in-the-life moments that help followers feel that renting office space makes them part of a family.
What Do These Feeds Have in Common?
While curating our list of outstanding B2B Instagram feeds, we found one common theme: Each has a consistent vision.
Each of these 19 feeds is remarkably different, and each stands apart from the rest. Yet every single one picked what works for the company and its culture and has stuck with it, from unified brand colors to a “come hang out with us” vibe.
The result? A view of each company most people would never see — and a vision that’s made thousands of people click “follow.”
Images by: Luke van Zyl, Patrick Tomasso, Brooke Lark
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