In Part 1 of this series I shared insight from my experience building two VERY different Instagram accounts: one in the massive B2C fitness industry and the other in the niche B2B manufacturing industry.

Surprise, surprise – I got two very different results… but not like you might expect.

So let’s dive in…

The 100 Follower Test

The 100 Follower Test is something I thought of after combining Seth Godin’s ‘First, Ten’ concept with Kevin Kelly’s ‘1,000 True Fans’ concept. Quite simply it means:

…before you write off Instagram as a success or failure for your business, get to 100 followers first. Anything less is too small a sample size to get reliable data from… and anything more is unnecessary to predict effectiveness. Another reason to amass 100 followers before assessing it’s value is that Instagram gives you demographic analytics… once you get 100 followers.

My Tests

Here’s an overview of the difference between my two accounts just before the 100 follower mark (left is B2C, right is B2B):

  • It took over DOUBLE the amount of posts on the B2C account than the B2B account to get the same number of followers
  • I also needed to follow nearly 300% more people/brands on the B2C account for similar follower counts
  • What’s not pictured, is that it also only took 1/3 of the time to reach 90 followers on the B2B account than the B2C account

My 100 Follower Test proved what I theorized in my last post – contrary to what most would expect, my Instagram account for a niche, B2B manufacturing company is vastly outperforming my B2C Instagram account about healthy recipes and fitness stuff.

Why this is happening and how you can replicate it

#1 – Timing is Key

As I predicted in my first post, the manufacturing Instagram niche is in the ‘Early Adopters’ segment of the adoption bell-curve. Early adopters have a much easier time grabbing market share of attention because the space isn’t crowded yet. The earlier you start the easier your growth will be.

(left star is my B2B account, right star is my B2C account)

But be warned: make sure you’re early, but not first to the party – pioneers often get arrows in their back. It’s much harder to blaze a new trail than it is to model what’s already successful.

#2 – Utilize Instagram’s full power

In my last post I mentioned how to use Google Analytics to measure Instagram’s effect on traffic back to your site.

But the ability to drive and measure traffic is only one benefit of using Instagram. Interacting with your industry is a HUGE opportunity for both brand and business development.

  • Follow customers to learn more about them, their pain points & their interests
  • Don’t just ‘like’. Comment on other posts to get your brand and personality out there
  • Direct Messaging is the #1 underrated tool right now for Instagram

Please pay attention to that last bullet. It seems so obvious but nobody is doing it.

Have you ever tried using banner ads, website retargeting, Facebook Ads, billboards, email, direct mail or even phone calls to try to reach customers? Your response rate was probably under 20%, or even in the single digits.

Sending a direct message on Instagram has a 90%+ response rate (if done correctly).

That’s unheard of. It’s like email when it first came out – people read every single word of every single message. To learn more about this, checkout what Gary Vaynerchuk had to say about it:

Click here to watch the Youtube Video

#3 – Switch up the content

Posting frequently should be a no-brainer, but you should also post different types of content whenever you can.

The other day it was snowing pretty hard so I went outside to record a short video with my phone – nothing fancy, and unrelated to our products or services.

Within 24 hours, it had been ‘liked’ by 86% of the people who saw it…. that’s unheard of. Right now the average engagement rate for content on Facebook is about 10% – 15% …. 86% is massive. Don’t overthink it – just keep it refreshing & simple.

#4 – Read my second point again

Seriously, this cannot be stressed enough. The vast majority of users and brands on Instagram do not comment or use the messaging feature on the platform. They may ‘like’ things, but everyone does that. When you start leaving insightful comments, relevant questions and replying to others on the platform your account will grow dramatically.

A big reason for this is that other people and brands can see what you write, and many of them will checkout your profile. When you comment or ask questions in your industry’s community, your community will interact back with you.

If someone you’ve never encountered before likes your post, checkout their profile and leave an insightful comment. See something that really grabs you? Send them a message and connect with them on a human-human level, not just a surface brand to brand level.

This little bit of interaction can spark conversations. These conversations can lead to new business relationships, and new business relationships lead to more sales.

Bottom Line

Marketing on Instagram is very simple, yet very under utilized.

  1. Start yesterday
  2. Post high quality, relevant content for your brand
  3. Post as often as possible – once a day is optimal
  4. Use the right hashtags for your post/company/industry
  5. Have a CTA back to your website on your profile
  6. Measure analytics – Google/Instagram Analytics
  7. Do the ‘100 Follower Test’
  8. Engage & be active in your community
  9. Use direct messaging as a business development tool
  10. Set realistic goals