Even for many manufacturing companies using social media, the thought of adding a platform that is as visual and aesthetically demanding as Instagram is daunting. However, before you dismiss this idea completely, you may want to reconsider the reasons you’re using social media in the first place, which should ultimately ladder up to the only reason any business would use a communications platform: the ability to create value.
Manufacturing companies using social media should ask themselves: How much value would it add to my company and, more significantly, my company’s audience, if I added Instagram to the mix?
While value is easy to establish for channels like LinkedIn (the professional network) and Facebook (by far the most popular network), rationalizing the commercial value of Instagram is more complex.
However, once you begin to delve a little deeper, the significance of all these networks, including Instagram, starts to become apparent.
Let’s look at the facts. According to a Pew Research survey from 2019, Instagram is third on the list of the most widely used social media platforms among U.S. adults. Plus, a Pew Research survey from 2016 suggests that 32 percent of online adults use Instagram, while only 29 percent use LinkedIn. Furthermore, 51% of Instagram users use the platform on a daily basis, compared to only 18% on LinkedIn.
Simply put, Instagram offers manufacturers using social media more ways to get their material in front of their audience than the “biggest professional network” (i.e., LinkedIn).
Within this article, we’ll take a look at what works on Instagram, outline how to design a clear plan, and cite best practices for helping manufacturing companies using social media get started on the network, whether your objective is to improve brand awareness, offer value for prospects, or both.
Start by Recognizing What Works
Get a sense of the Instagram terrain before sketching up a plan or constructing a company profile. Begin by looking for competitor accounts as well as accounts of industry leaders. Get an idea of what’s out there and what your competition is up to.
If you’re a sheet metal manufacturing company, for example, you might find that there’s little or no Instagram competition in your industry, or the opposite. Finding out what the leading firms are doing right and discussing ways to make your own brand stand out from the crowd is the key.
“Visual material like making videos displaying production processes, or photographs highlighting corporate culture, posting with 11+ hashtags, and employing Instagram Stories are just a few of the most effective strategies to improve reach and stand out from the crowd,” explains Marie Turner, a business writer at Resumention and Academized Review.
However, just like every social media strategy, what works for one manufacturing company on Instagram might not work for yours. It’s all about figuring out how best to present yourself in your own way.
Put Together a Well-Defined Strategy
The next stage is to establish your Instagram “mission” regarding business objectives, once you’ve gained a feel for what works and what doesn’t on the network. The best way forward is to have a strategy, so you’re easily able to determine what’s working and what’s not working.
Here are a few content suggestions for manufacturing companies using social media so they can get the ball rolling on Instagram:
- Highlight and explore recruiting/culture development.
- Run a weekly “employee spotlight” campaign in which a different employee is highlighted.
- Showcase video interviews with staff who talk about their job role and experience.
- Create a position of thought leadership.
- Conduct a brief video interview with a manufacturing engineer or operator to describe a process.
- Offer products or services for sale.
“It can be tempting to go overboard and come across as overly sales-focused with a desire to only promote products, but this will put people off. You need to provide value through your content that people want to connect with. This is why we suggest releasing videos that demonstrate the use of equipment, machines, tools, and so on, which can create a lot of conversation and even consulting requests,” shares Daniel Harrison, a marketing blogger at Dissertation Service and Student Writing Services.
Step-by-Step Instructions for Getting Started
You’re nearly there!
It’s now time to create your Instagram profile and start sharing high-quality, engaging visual content according to best practices.
When creating an Instagram Business profile, follow these steps:
Get the Instagram App
Install the Instagram app on your phone. Since Instagram is a mobile-first platform, you’ll need to download the app to get started. While a desktop experience exists, you can’t do much with it in terms of uploading or viewing content.
Create an Account Using Your Company’s Address
After that, you’ll be asked to log in to your company’s Facebook profile so that business information may be copied over to Instagram. Always use your business information because this can be displayed on your profile and will allow customers and leads to get in touch.
Select a username, profile photo (logo), company name, and mailing address. This completes the basic configuration of your profile.
Instagram Pro Tip
@airframesalaska is an aviation products and outdoor gear manufacturer based in Alaska. By simply adding their location not only to their brand name, but also including it in their Instagram name, this company is making it clear to users and followers that they’re based in Alaska.
Add More Information about Your Company
This includes including a link to your website, a company profile and phone number, as well as mentioning your sector. Customers, prospects, rivals, and industry leaders should all be followed to make it easier to find trends and see what everyone is up to.
Instagram Pro Tip
3M is one of the most sought-after manufacturers in the industry. On their Instagram, they talk about their passion for innovation and science. Their posts include links to their website for users to learn more about their company, as well as their own hashtag, #LifeWith3M.
Begin Posting and Interacting
Share information that aligns with your company’s aims, and make a point of responding to comments, as well as liking and commenting on other people’s profiles. We recommend updating at least twice a week.
Instagram Pro Tip
Intel is an innovative B2B tech company that has over 1.6 million followers on Instagram. By posting regularly, Intel is able to keep its followers interested in tech spotlights, news, updates, etc. This company also goes out of its way to answer any inquiries from users, along with commenting on user comments to interact with their customer base.
Make the Most of Instagram Stories
Consider posting a video of an employee or a fast-motion video of a production process to give followers a peek inside your plant. Remember to include relevant hashtags in your Stories to make them simpler to locate.
Instagram Pro Tip
IBM is a B2B company that thrives on the successes of artificial intelligence (AI). On their Instagram, they use Stories to spotlight technological advances, offer testimonies from employees, and invite users to learn more about special tech projects.
Keep Track of Who Is Responding to Your Content
After you’ve been publishing for a while, you’ll start to get high-quality followers. If you notice a prospect engaged with your material, make an effort to reciprocate.
Instagram Pro Tip
Fab Fours, Inc. is a steel bumper manufacturer with over 147K followers on Instagram. The secret behind their success is that they cater to people who are interested in vehicles, especially truck lovers. They know who to cater to and how to track how their target demographic reacts to their content.
Continue to Fine-tune your Instagram Strategy
Your initial Instagram material might be focused on staff spotlights for recruiting purposes, but make sure to review your approach on a monthly basis to ensure that people aren’t seeing the same content over and over again.
Refining your Instagram approach will keep people engaged and, when combined with the best practices we’ve discussed, your manufacturing company will be able to realize the value of today’s fastest-growing social network!
Instagram Pro Tip
Northrop Grumman doesn’t just stick to one niche in the manufacturing industry. In fact, they champion industries like aeronautics, cyberspace, defense, and space, in response to the growing needs of consumers. So, the company makes sure to fine-tune their strategies on Instagram to ensure that it meets such needs.
Adding Instagram to the Mix for Manufacturing Companies Using Social Media
As you can see, manufacturing companies using social media can deliver a lot of value using Instagram, as long as you’re proactive in figuring out what you’re doing and not just shooting blindly in the dark and hoping for results. Hopefully this article has inspired you to incorporate Instagram into your manufacturing marketing mix, or at least evaluate it. So get organized and get active — and see what Instagram can do for your manufacturing company!