Reaching Builders Through Instagram: Social Media Case Study

  • Categories:

    Social Media

  • Date:

    March 13, 2018

Reaching Builders Through Instagram: Social Media Case Study

Social Media

Building material brands make up a strong, growing community on Instagram. The social platform is still a small part of the building product world, but it has great growth potential.

For Huber Engineered Woods (HEW) — the building products manufacturer of AdvanTech® subflooring and ZIP System® sheathing and tape — Instagram is full of possibilities.

Keep reading to find out how HEW launched its Instagram presence and how your brand can achieve similar success.

Should your brand be on Instagram?

The first thing you should do is ask yourself, “Where is my audience most engaged online?” By no means do you have to be on every social media platform. While the approach for a B2B brand will be different than for a consumer-facing home improvement brand, B2B social media, like consumer-facing social, can and should be visually appealing.

Not sure where your audience lives online? Social listening tools like are great discovery platforms because they allow you to monitor keywords across the internet. From Pinterest and YouTube to Instagram and message boards, these tools will find mentions of your key terms.

We coupled with our own detective work and found an Instagram community of builders who were using HEW products like AdvanTech subflooring and ZIP System sheathing and tape. While HEW didn’t have an Instagram presence at the time, builders still mentioned HEW products by name and used HEW-related hashtags.

It was a golden opportunity.

How to build your brand’s social presence from the ground up

Finding users within your target audience is a labor of love, especially when you’re starting from zero. Tools like BuzzSumo can help you identify relevant users, but you can also go the manual discovery route. Either way, it’s crucial to find like-minded products and people.

For HEW, we created a database of influencers and divided it into tiers to get a good picture of the landscape and determine who HEW should target.

Your best target may be close to home because employees can be your most loyal advocates. For example, a dedicated group of HEW employees had already formed online relationships within the Instagram community. Arm your employees to be strong brand advocates because they can have a major impact on your success.

Like other social platforms, you should decide on the look of your Instagram feed, what content will populate it and the brand tone you will use. HEW kicked things off on Instagram with a graphic to announce its presence.

The initial post was friendly with a humorous undertone: “Here we are world!” It connected with HEW’s target audience, who was excited for the brand’s arrival on the social platform. This post resulted in builders mentioning HEW in their Instagram Stories, encouraging their followers to follow our account.

Starting from scratch means you will not immediately have solid benchmarks to inform your KPIs, so it’s important to test your content and post times. See what resonates with your audience, and build from there.

Engagement is also a major factor for new and existing accounts. Users appreciate genuine conversations. HEW engages with builders via their Instagram Stories, Live feeds, direct messages, comments and posts. These interactions give the brand a more human voice.

Key learnings:

  • Builders, especially younger and more progressive builders, are on Instagram.
  • These builders like to joke around with each other across their pages and stories. They appreciate humor and camaraderie.
  • Builders enjoy showcasing products used on their builds. They take pride in their craftsmanship and want to propel the trade forward.

Early results:

  • Within the first month of launching its Instagram account, HEW surpassed 1,000 followers and amassed more than 40,000 impressions.
  • Engagement remains high and consistently grows week over week. Remember, followers are not the be-all and end-all. Engagement is king.
  • HEW has been tagged in nearly 200 jobsite photos and countless Instagram Stories.

Connect with Instagram users in real life, too

In the home and building industries, trade shows can help catapult your social reach. HEW used the International Builders’ Show (IBS) as the unofficial launch of its Instagram profile. This included a soft launch at the end of December 2017, a few weeks prior to the show, to build excitement with graphic posts. The full launch happened during the show in January 2018, to much anticipation.

In the weeks leading up to IBS, the influencer database we created previously helped guide outreach to invite users to an Instagram meetup on the show floor. This generated a buzz among the building community on Instagram. Builders mentioned it in their Stories, tagged HEW’s handle and used branded hashtags.

At the meetup, attendees were surprised with a special event dubbed the “Best of Social Awards.” Awards covered everything from “Best Sticker Collection” to “Most Likely to Have Their Own Reality TV Show” and celebrated Instagrammers in the builder community. This helped HEW form a deeper bond with key influencers because it showed that HEW speaks their language and is genuinely engaged with the Instagram community. The event resulted in a good amount of Instagram Stories, Instagram Lives and regular post shout-outs, reaching valuable influencer audiences.

Instagram Stories has 300 million active daily users, more than half of the entire platform’s daily users. This feature has grown tremendously with the builder audience, but also with the platform as a whole. That’s why HEW implemented an Instagram Stories strategy for the three-day event to show behind-the-scenes interviews, employee product explanations, influencer presence, polls and engaging videos. The Stories generated heavy engagement via direct messages, encouraged users to tag Huber in their Stories and resulted in nearly 1,000 views by HEW’s target audience over the lifespan of the event.

Eighty-one people voted "yes" to trying AdvanTech subfloor adhesive.

Key takeaways

After IBS, it became evident that builders are watching HEW’s Stories. Tech Tip Tuesday, a recurring series, now happens every Tuesday on the @huberwood Story with short, informative explanation videos from a member of the HEW technical team. While the series is still in the early stages, it has garnered great feedback. By giving followers valuable content they can’t get anywhere else, HEW is building trust and potentially creating more loyal brand ambassadors.

Instagram is an interactive platform where marketers can entrench their brands in strong online communities. HEW’s Instagram Stories further humanized the brand and connected with followers in ways regular posts can’t.

If you want to achieve similar success on social media, stay up to date on where your audience is and how social platforms are evolving and serving content. As social algorithms change, so should your social strategies.

Explore more articles from Wray Ward.