Instagram was once a digital playground for hipsters and teens looking for a place to share pictures of frappes and puppies.
In the past few years, Instagram’s user base has exploded and now includes well-known brands and companies who use the platform to reach and engage with customers.
Here are five of the top B2B Instagram feeds and tips on how brands use the image-sharing service in their B2B marketing strategies:
Number of followers: 39,000
How it uses Instagram: Microsoft is relatively new to Instagram, having launched its account in November 2014 to “reinvent productivity.”
The company hired a photographer to travel the world to snap pictures of entrepreneurs using Microsoft products. Posted under the hashtag #DoMore, these captivating images feature farmers, graffiti artists, shark advocates and other folks doing interesting things.
Microsoft lets the pictures speak for themselves. Because it downplays hard-sell references, it won’t be long before Microsoft’s Instagram account is as successful as the brand’s other social media sites (which, collectively, have more than 10 million members).
Riley Elliott aka @rileysharks isn’t just one of the world’s most outspoken shark advocates. He’s also a founding member of Sustainable Oceans Society, a non-profit formed in the wake of a massive oil spill in New Zealand. SOS’s goals are to promote ocean health at a grassroots level and teach people how to protect natural seafood resources for generations to come. #DoMore
A photo posted by Microsoft (@microsoft) on Dec 22, 2014 at 11:34am PST
Number of followers: 10,000
How it uses Instagram: IBM takes followers behind the scenes into its boardrooms and offices. The company overturns the image of a dry, boring business technology company and adds a human element to its products. It even encourages followers to write captions for photos of an adorably bespectacled office mascot.
IBM highlights people rather than products to reinforce its global reach. “Employee engagement is a key part of our strategy. We always say that IBM is primarily experienced by the world at large through our employees, so it’s important to us that they’re engaged and feel empowered to share their experiences,” says Katie Keating, social content and engagement strategist at IBM.
A photo posted by IBM (@ibm) on Nov 12, 2014 at 8:09am PST
Number of followers: 9,600
How it uses Instagram: Mailchimp’s Instagram feed is a visual candy store that emphasizes the company’s culture in whimsical ways. It’s easy to dismiss Mailchimp’s approach as frivolous until you realize the photos are well-crafted images that subtly advance a marketing message. From pictures of its monkey mascot to shots of the company softball team, Mailchimp cleverly uses its feed to remind organizations email is still a big part of the business world.
A photo posted by MailChimp (@mailchimp) on Oct 6, 2014 at 2:10pm PDT
Number of followers: 12,000
How it uses Instagram: FedEx pulls out all the stops on its Instagram account. FedEx’s planes and trucks are prominent, of course, but the feed also features gorgeous images of delivery locations around the world. The company sells itself by reminding customers it will safely deliver packages no matter what it takes.
A photo posted by FedEx (@fedex) on Dec 18, 2014 at 2:07pm PST
Number of followers: 1,200
How it uses Instagram: Zendesk, a customer-service software vendor, peppers pictures of employees and candid event shots alongside inspirational quotes. By posting thoughtful images on how to provide exceptional customer service, Zendesk highlights its commitment to building strong relationships with the organizations it serves.
A photo posted by Zendesk (@zendesk) on Jan 4, 2014 at 10:00am PST
A version of this article originally appeared on Visually.