Why Instagram isn’t just for people sharing pictures of #brunch


In the summer of 2018, Instagram announced it had hit one billion monthly active users. Despite this figure, many B2B companies are still unclear on how to effectively use the image based platform or the benefits of using Instagram as part of a content marketing strategy.

Facebook was launched around fourteen years ago, Twitter twelve years, and Instagram only eight years ago. So, it’s understandable that businesses could be reluctant to invest in a media platform that isn’t even a decade old.

Can a B2B campaign be relevant on Instagram?

The simple answer is yes.

Instagram can be a really useful tool to not only support brand awareness but also help develop a business personality. People want to buy from brands they like and trust, and Instagram is a great way to do this. A picture speaks a thousand words as the saying goes.

Take IBM or MailChimp for example, these companies directly target businesses; however, both successfully use Instagram to highlight the company voice as well as product offerings.

Just because a business is selling directly to another company, rather than to a consumer, doesn’t mean there is an absence of people in the purchasing process. It is as equally important to develop a reputation and trust with individuals, as it is to develop a relationship on a whole business-wide scale.

 Business communication opportunities 

Not only is Instagram a great place to build brand awareness, but it’s also an excellent tool for two-way conversations between a company and the desired target audience. The premise of social media is to be social, not just to broadcast information. The ease that customers can communicate directly with a company allows for constant feedback. Instagram provides any B2B company with the opportunity to gain valuable customer information directly from those who it affects most.

Twitter may have introduced the use of hashtags on social media, but Instagram took their application to a new level. Users routinely click on hashtags that are appropriate to them. By using the most relevant hashtags to a business or industry, B2B companies are able to reach users who are actively showing an interest in the content, resulting in more valuable engagement.

Facebook changed its algorithm a couple of years ago to make posts from business accounts less discoverable without advertising spend. Instagram’s algorithm is focused on ensuring users are seeing the content they care about.

“If your favourite musician shares a video from last night’s concert, it will be waiting for you when you wake up, no matter how many accounts you follow or what time zone you live in. And when your best friend posts a photo of her new puppy, you won’t miss it.” – Instagram, 2016.

This algorithm provides businesses with the opportunity to engage with the followers who care about its content.

New and improved 

Instagram is always launching new features to improve its offerings.

In June 2018, Instagram launched IGTV, the longer-form video hub allowing people to share videos up to sixty minutes. Users are even able to create their own channel, similar to YouTube (that’s the important part).

According to research from Statista, YouTube was crowned second in ‘the most popular social media channel worldwide’ as of October 2018. And Cisco reported mobile video will account for 78% of all mobile data traffic by 2021.

These figures make it clear the opportunity available to brands utilising IGTV and Instagram properly.

Not only can companies collaborate with influencers creating longer videos on IGTV, but they can also create and share high-quality video content from the company profile. Coupled with the rise in popularity of Instagram stories and the traditional photo grid upload, companies are able to design an entire digital campaign, and deliver it in multiple formats, through one platform.

Only seven months after its launch we think IGTV has the potential to be a strong contender against YouTube, and in turn should be considered by B2B companies aiming to maximise the effectiveness of its social media presence on Instagram.

Spending time and money well on Instagram

While Instagram is a great tool for many companies in supporting its larger communication and brand image, it is important to remember that to be successful the content needs to be strategic. There is almost no point in writing and sharing posts just for the sake of it.

As with all communication activity, social media also needs to be executed properly to ensure the desired outcomes. It is more important to share quality content that will create conversation than it is to create mass volumes of content that nobody engages with.

Time is money and if you spend time creating content with no plan of how it will impact the communication plan on a broader scale, or you are posting a tweet every now and again just to be ‘active’ – this will not provide a return on investment.

If you want to develop a lively social media B2B campaign and need some advice, give us a call on 01608 495012, or drop me an email –







B2B, B2C or consumer PR?

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People often ask me what sort of agency Twelve is,  B2B or consumer?

Does the definition make any difference to the campaigns that are developed and how effective they are?

I just read a really interesting article on this subject which prompted me to write this post.  The article was in the Drum, written by Jeri Smith, chief executive of Communicus.

(Hadn’t heard of them before so checked them out online. What a great statement they have on their web site: “Communicus provides advertisers with insights to strengthen campaign effectiveness and build brands.” That’s what I call walking the talk.)

Anyway to return to the subject – B2B, consumer or B2C.

Campaign objectives

How would you define PR and marketing for education?

– Is a private school, looking to attract new pupils, targeting parents as business prospects or as consumer prospects?

– Does it change when it’s a state school, does that make it all about consumers?

– What about when a school is trying to recruit high quality teachers?  Is that a business transaction?  Does it call for a B2B campaign?

How about universities?

– How would you define their need to raise awareness about their excellent research, to attract more funding, is that a business campaign?

– Does the need to ensure the public hear about the research through national media channels make it a consumer campaign?

– Is supporting student applications during Clearing a business campaign, like recruiting teachers, or a consumer one?

I’ve always thought it a strange dichotomy, the way we treat business people, as if they have two heads.

Two heads good, one head bad

One head we target with a business message, through business channels in a business-like way to get them to discover, say, the technical brilliance and benefits of a new metal coating which will improve their manufacturing processes and reduce costs.

The other head we target with a consumer message to encourage them to try a new shampoo which will make their blond highlights last longer and be less likely to start looking ‘brassy’ over time.

The article in the Drum tackles this subject with science.  You can’t beat some good hard science.

System 1 and System 2

Jeri draws on the work of Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman and his book ‘Thinking Fast and Slow’:

“Kahneman delineates two modes of thinking: “System 1” is instantaneous, driven by instinct and emotion; “System 2” is slower, driven by deliberation and logic. Kahneman hones several decades of research to emphasize how people attribute far too much importance to ‘rational’ human judgements in decision-making. Specifically, he explains that even when we believe we are making decisions based on rational considerations, our System 1 beliefs, biases and intuition drive much of our thinking.”

Maximising impact

This is where it impacts on the definitions between business and consumer campaigns:

“Business people have their own notions about brands. A huge proportion of these ideas are derived from humans’ System 1 belief system. And much of what resides in our System 1 belief system are impressions yielded from our own experiences. When it comes to brands marketing to both consumers and B2B targets, the business target has deep-seated impressions of the brand that affect their decision-making. And where do those come from? In large part, consumer advertising.”

The point is that people never see messages in isolation. The same head sees the consumer advertising, or interesting piece of editorial your PR placed for them to learn about how to maintain their hair colour, as also sees the business campaign.

Jeri concludes: “Kahneman’s insights, so beloved by consumer marketers, apply just as much to B2B: design advertising so that the target remembers the brand in a way that drives a (non-rational) connection to the brand in their System 1 thinking. Rational ad sells don’t work any better among B2B targets than they do among consumer targets.”

PR messages and content

Of course as a PR agency we don’t think about adverts we think about messages and content, but the principal is the same.

Often we use the B2B / consumer / B2C definitions to help us cut out wastage – if you want to reach process engineers, the majority will be reading ‘Process Engineering’.  A few will read Good Housekeeping or GQ but not many.

This argument was often used when I was at The Guardian to clinch an ad sale.  Overall more teachers read the Daily Mail, but a greater proportion of Guardian readers are teachers.  Your advertising spend if you want to reach teachers is therefore more targeted or effective in The Guardian, the argument goes.  But then almost all the people who read the TES are teachers…This is all starting to sound like navel gazing.  Where does it get us?


Our aim as a PR agency is to help influence in an honest way – to reach people and influence their opinion.  To make them aware of your proposition or qualities and ultimately to convince them to act on that knowledge.  That might be to purchase; apply to a new school; recommend something to others; reward them; fund them; entertain them; campaign for them, vote for them etc.

So to return to the original question, are you B2B, B2C or just consumer? The question should be framed differently.

Are you targeting a business or consumer audience?  This gives us a useful way to identify the most effective channels for reaching our targets.

An effective PR agency

In these terms Twelve is an agency which targets both consumer and trade audiences.

But in terms of emotion and impact, key factors which guide our strategic thinking and planning, we should completely ignore the false divide between business and consumer.

We an agency which helps people to reach and influence other humans.


You can read the original article in the Drum at: