Some industries are a natural fit when it comes to social media. The mobile food industry, as one example, came up almost hand-in-hand with social media because of the way the two just work together. If your Instagram feed doesn’t have at least one gorgeous shot of a roadside fish taco, you’re doing it wrong. Likewise if your food truck isn’t plastered with hashtags.
But what about industries that might not live or die with thumbs up, hearts and retweets? What of the so-called boring industries that maybe don’t make for the most glamorous selfie or the most entertaining 280 characters? It turns out, with a little bit of creativity nearly any industry can crush their social media presence.
There’s not much that’s photogenic about auto parts. Cams, struts, crankshafts, nuts, bolts – these are not the supermodels of the industrial world.
But what about the machines they’re made for? Now that’s sexy.
The aftermarket auto parts industry has essentially turned its social media channels into the world’s greatest source for car porn, with companies like Magna International and Beck/Arnley leading the charge. Magna International’s Instagram, for example strikes a nice balance between sleek shots of the kinds of cars gearheads dream about against more cultural posts highlighting the company and its people. Beck Arnley peppers their automotive Instagram with cars from fans, part of its “Check with Beck” contest. This adds a whole element of audience participation to an Instagram feed that would otherwise be pictures of brake pads.
In an interview with Aftermarketnews.com, Beck/Arnley CEO Max Dull said that social media, “holds potential for building incremental brand awareness by creating a Beck/Arnley ‘personality.’ It is a great forum for providing product information in a fun and entertaining environment.”
Social media may be an obvious fit for law enforcement, as it provides an easy way to instantly reach large numbers of the population in the event of an emergency, but many police forces aren’t stopping there.
One great example of this is the Gainesville Police Department, whose Instagram is a veritable gold mine. Click around and you’ll not only find public safety reminders, you’ll also find out what the department’s resident Elf on a Shelf is up to or join in a regular feature they call “Spot the Cop.”
Unlike most industries, the point of a fun social media channel isn’t to drive revenue or raise awareness. Police departments don’t really need either of those – what these measures do is build trust. In precincts where relationships between police and those they served are strained, that trust can sometimes be a matter of life or death. A healthy social media presence has become so vital to law enforcement, despite shrinking budgets, they even have their own conference dedicated to it.
The mattress industry can be a tough nut to crack for new brands. Generally, you either buy on price or you develop a loyalty to a brand based on it being the first mattress you ever bought. With that kind of marketplace, what’s the point in developing a social media channel?
To that we would point to the insurance industry, which generally enjoys the same tepid customer loyalty. Up until a few decades ago, you’d rarely see ads on TV for insurance, it was just something you talked to your broker about and you bought as you needed it. Then Geico came along and suddenly the airwaves are littered with State Farm, Progressive, Esurance and more, hocking their wares with some of the most entertaining ads out there.
Something similar has happened to the mattress industry, thanks to disruptive brands like Purple, Caspar and Avocado.
Purple aims for the funny bone with video content like “Goldilocks: Bed Expert” giving their mattresses the egg test and comic geniuses Tim and Eric extolling the virtues of a Purple night’s sleep. Caspar follows in a similar vein, focusing on a Twitter feed rife with hilarious video content and one-liners that generally revolve around how hard it is to get out of bed. Avocado, meanwhile, actively seeks out social media brand ambassadors to talk up their products online.
With the future of a $14 billion-a-year industry at stake, established brands have taken notice. Mattress Firm ramped up its social media effort starting in October of last year in an attempt to elevate its social media efforts. Thus far it’s resulted in a Twitter feed full of tips to get a better night’s sleep and a Facebook page filled with public comments from angry customers. But it’s a start!
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