According to Instagram's official site, the social media platform's millions of active users generate over 95 million photos and videos per day. This surge of activity results in a huge marketing opportunity for companies of all sizes. It's clear that B2C brands are certainly enjoying success on the photo-sharing service. But what about B2B small to midsize businesses (SMBs)? What does a great B2B social media campaign look like, and what are some key B2B best practices? Here are four tips to help you empower your brand on Instagram.

1. Understand the Platform

It's important to remember that Instagram isn't Twitter or Facebook. That's obvious, right? Well, not necessarily. Many brands treat the big three social platforms as interchangeable, but content doesn't always translate well if you use this tactic. Think of it this way: On Facebook, companies can be more verbose, using text, video and pictures to tell their stories or sell products, while Twitter demands brevity but still relies on text for all the heavy lifting. When it comes to Instagram, the opposite is true: Images are the currency of social engagement. Sure, you can add text under your pictures, but that won't be the focus of your post. To make the most of this social site, you need to have a compelling visual presence. As a result, B2B SMBs need to think about the tone and train of thought they want for their Instagram account before they start posting. After all, curation and careful planning are crucial to Instagram success.

2. Know Your Limits

It's important to be aware that Instagram comes with specific limitations, the most notable of which is that any links included under your pictures aren't clickable. This functionality means that you can't use these captions to send potential buyers directly to your site. The trick here is that you must use your account bio to provide your audience with specific destination links. For example, you might want to funnel Instagram followers to a landing page that contains more details about products or services detailed by your image feed.

It's also a good idea to rotate the content you link to through your bio on a regular basis. If you've got something interesting to share, let your audience know about it through your photo captions. It's also worth noting that Instagram supports hashtags. In an effort to help new followers find your content, you should include relevant hashtags under your pictures wherever possible.

3. Perfect Your Pictures

A number of B2B and SMB brands have already made their mark on Instagram. These successful companies have captured their audiences through great storytelling and above-average pictures. As noted by Distilled, it's critical to let go of the notion of Instagram as a "selling" platform and instead see it as a way to show other businesses what your company is passionate about.

Think about integrating your product or services into everyday situations and composing pictures that relate to a central company theme, such as reliability, honesty or service. And when it comes to your photos, don't feel like you need professional-grade equipment. A smartphone works well enough, as long as you're willing to practice taking eye-catching photos that are well-framed, have great lighting and feature an interesting subject. If you invest in learning these skills up front, you may soon start spotting great photo ops naturally.

4. Think Outside the Office

As a B2B brand on Instagram, one of your ultimate goals should be to go beyond the office. After all, you already have marketing efforts in place that are designed to target potential clients during the day; this B2B social media opportunity is all about getting your audience's attention when they're outside of the office.

In other words, you want your Instagram page to be something potential clients scroll through on the train ride home or before going to bed at night. When it comes time to make B2B purchases or tap new suppliers, you'll be at the top of their minds. And you will have achieved this recognition because businesses organically associate you with specific products or services. The bottom line is that you should use Instagram as a motivation tool over a marketing tool.

Instagram offers solid opportunities for B2B social media initiatives. In order to attract and convert followers, however, business owners must understand the platform, respect its limits, learn to take better pictures and target prospective customers outside the office.

Tags: Social Media Marketing social media