There’s a place for everyone on social media. Whether you’re into knitting figures from your favorite TV shows or foraging for wild mushrooms, social media has a community for you.
But if you work in a technical or niche industry, it might seem like you don’t belong on social. That’s an understandable feeling. When lists of brands to watch and the majority of viral posts feature B2C brands, it’s easy to feel like your brand has nothing to say—but that couldn’t be further from the truth. No matter your industry, you can make waves on social media.
Industry events and webinars make space for people to discuss trends, talk about controversies and tout the latest innovations in their industries. The people who attend those are all on social—and they’re interested in seeing that information in their feeds. Social media is like a giant trade show exhibit hall and with a little creativity, your brand can have the best booth.
Let’s highlight unexpected industries that are making the most of their social media presence. Get ready to be inspired.
Keep on trucking
Is there anything more invigorating than the open road? No one knows that feeling better than trucking companies. But trucking is a legacy industry, meaning brands might be reluctant to join social media. Here are a few that are leading the way and making an impact.
Freightliner Trucks dives into nostalgia
There’s something about human nature that makes nostalgia so enticing. Everyone is a sucker for a good vintage ad. Why do you think Mad Men ran for seven seasons?
Freightliner Trucks understood the power of nostalgia and had the history to back it up. After 80 years in business, they jumped back in time for their latest ad campaign. Giving it a ‘70s feel makes it stand out in feeds full of futuristic predictions and shiny new technology.
For over 80 years, we have led the industry in engineering trucks to help you #WorkSmart and the all-new #Plus_series line up has everything to get the job done. We are celebrating this productivity workhorse with a vintage-inspired ad. pic.twitter.com/u4DXzbuoYw
— Freightliner Trucks (@freightliner) December 29, 2022
Make it visual. Translate your brand differentiators into one-of-a-kind imagery for a lasting effect.
American Trucking Association takes care
Some industries are tight-knit. Once you get into certain niches, everyone knows everyone. That level of community matters and your brand should take an active role. Social media provides the perfect venue to show your audience that you’re part of the group.
The American Trucking Association showed its humanity when a member posted about losing a friend in the industry. They retweeted the original post, adding their own condolences and personal memories in the long run. This customer-centric approach makes their brand come across as approachable and connected to the community.
Godspeed Spook. Hope you & Bob the dog are reunited and pheasant hunting already. 🙏 https://t.co/1ILhwd7OJv
— American Trucking (@TRUCKINGdotORG) January 25, 2023
It’s okay—and even encouraged—to get personal. Whether it’s a celebration or a consolation, big moments in your industry and audiences’ lives should be shared.
Manufacturing the perfect social presence
Manufacturing is an industry we can’t live without, but it often fades into the background since the work isn’t always visible to everyday consumers. Manufacturing marketers: don’t pass up this opportunity. There’s endless B2B marketing potential for manufacturers on social.
International Paper Company harnesses a holiday
If you look hard enough, there’s a holiday for basically everything. From Popcorn Lovers Day to Star Wars day, people love celebrating these hashtag holidays on social media. There’s bound to be one related to your brand.
International Paper Company looked at the list of unofficial holidays and found a winner in National Pizza Week. At first glance, the paper and cardboard company has nothing to do with pizza. But they control a very important part of the delivery experience—the box. Realizing that most people have little-to-no idea what they can recycle, they turned this silly holiday week into a teachable moment about their product.
It's National Pizza Week! Americans consume upwards of 2 billion pizza pies a year 🍕 that's a lot of dough! But can you recycle the box? Paper and Packaging has a slice of intel on whether your local community recycles pizza boxes. Check it out here: https://t.co/N7RFOLtiD3
— International Paper (@IntlPaperCo) January 12, 2023
International Paper Company doesn’t stop at pizza. They’ve also created content for America Recycles Week, Life-Changing Injury and Fatality Elimination (LIFE) Month, and Forest Products Week, tapping into holiday tie-ins year-round.
People love an excuse to celebrate. You might as well give them one. By leaning into hashtag holidays, you’ll loop your brand into a larger conversation and bring joy to your followers.
Avery Dennison goes all-in on platform
According to the 2022 Sprout Social Index™, over half (51%) of consumers plan to regularly use YouTube but only 35% of marketers plan on meeting them there. That’s a missed opportunity for any brand.
Avery Dennison, a major manufacturer spanning products, isn’t missing out on YouTube traffic. Their page is fully loaded, whether that’s product deep-dives, how-to videos or employer brand clips. Avery Dennison takes full advantage of YouTube’s functionality, with playlists to group like videos and Shorts to capture your attention. The strategy is paying off, with over 26,000 subscribers following their channel.
Different brands require different social media platforms. Look at who you’re trying to reach and meet them where they are.
Cummins Inc. wraps up the year with milestones
In 2016, Spotify introduced its Wrapped feature and marketing hasn’t been the same since. It seems like every company has created its own year-in-review feature or campaign. You might think these messages are best suited for consumer companies or flashier B2B enterprises.
Cummins Inc., a global power technology leader, thought differently. With over a century of innovation under its belt, Cummins has celebrated countless milestones along its journey.
2022 was no exception with numerous entries added to the list, from delivering record-breaking revenues and appointing its first female CEO to setting a Guinness World Record. To celebrate, they posted their “Top Moments of 2022” as a carousel and video post. The effort paid off with over 3,000 views.
This year you were powered by @cummins for 525,600 minutes. You explored our range of power solutions, while we had our sight set on innovating for the future.
— Cummins Inc. (@Cummins) December 29, 2022
Don’t be afraid to borrow ideas from other industries. Your audience is likely participating in trends across social media, so why shouldn’t you?
Establishing a strong social presence in healthcare
Social media moves quickly and for a highly regulated industry like healthcare, creating a post takes more effort than just pressing send. But that complexity doesn’t mean healthcare businesses should count themselves out of the game entirely. While social media for healthcare might look different, it can still be extremely effective.
Mayo Clinic Nursing keeps it light
Going to the hospital is never a fun experience. It’s usually a high-stress environment and no one wants to be there.
The nurses at Mayo Clinic bring some levity to the serious nature of the hospital with their TikTok account. In one video, they point out “Things in the Pediatric Department That Just Make Sense,” hopping onto a popular trend. The nurses show interventions, tricks and tools they have to make the hospital a little less scary for young patients. This video isn’t only entertaining to watch, it also shows how much the Mayo Clinic nurses care about their patients having the best possible experience.
Do you have a crowd-pleasing customer care tactic? Social is the perfect place to show off how your employees go the extra mile.
Pfizer loves the learning process
Life sciences are complicated for the layperson. There’s a reason doctors and researchers have such a long educational journey. But just because it’s complicated doesn’t mean that people don’t need to understand it. Breaking down complex concepts is a key aspect of the healthcare industry.
Pfizer knows there’s a lot of confusion around mRNA technology—and they also know that a lab coat and a chalkboard won’t make it any simpler. The brand decided to create a comic strip starring an mRNA protein named Mirna to explain exactly how this new vaccine innovation works in terms anyone can understand. The result is a cute and informative post that racked up over 250 Quote Tweets.
mRNA 🧬 has the potential to help transform medicine. But understanding how it works can be tricky if you aren’t a scientist. Let our friend Mirna explain it for you.
— Pfizer Inc. (@pfizer) January 17, 2023
Your customer might not understand everything about your product, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need or want to. Brainstorm fun ways to explain the more complicated aspects of your industry so everyone can see its importance.
Hologic makes things personal
Sometimes it’s good to take things personally. Personal stories bring out your audience’s empathy and emotions. They’re a powerful tool for getting your message across.
Hologic, a healthcare testing manufacturer focused primarily on women’s health, puts a face to their brand on LinkedIn. The company regularly features their employees through video and text posts to show how they live their values every day. These employees are passionate about the work they do and their employer. It’s an excellent brand opportunity—for both marketing and employer branding.
Your employees can be powerful advocates for your brand. Social media gives you the opportunity to put them front and center.
Classifying a social strategy for government agencies
People don’t exactly associate excitement with the government. Whether comedians are making jokes about the lack of entertainment value on C-SPAN or you’re stuck in line at a bureaucratic agency, the government doesn’t automatically invoke fun. But that doesn’t mean your marketing can’t be. If you still think government social media accounts have to be stuffy, the TSA’s award-winning Instagram account would like to have a word with you.
The CIA gets smart
The National Reconnaissance Office, the National Security Agency, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency had a meeting of the minds with the CIA. They weren’t assessing current threat levels or planning out new strategies. They were creating a crossword puzzle to celebrate National Puzzle Day. With seven down and eight across, the puzzle’s questions focus on facts about national security agencies and laws. It’s a fun way to get citizens involved and informed about these agencies.
— CIA (@CIA) January 29, 2023
Sometimes partnerships can have unexpected results. Team up with like-minded marketers from partner brands and see what magic you can create.
NASA cultivates relatability
The nearest star is almost six trillion miles away. Even the moon is over 230,000 miles away. NASA is known for exploring the final frontier, but with those kinds of distances, it’s easy for citizens to wonder why we bother.
NASA addresses this question head-on in an annual publication and online blog called NASA Spinoff. The content hub focuses on innovations from the NASA Technology Transfer Program, a branch of the organization dedicated to innovations on Earth. NASA’s social media team frequently repurposes content from Spinoff for post ideas. In this example, they created a video teaser for the publication, showing tangible examples of the benefits the agency provides. NASA clearly knows how to create a value proposition.
Meatless proteins, less airport waiting time, faster wound healing: The benefits of space exploration can be found on Earth, too. The latest edition of @NASASpinoff features technologies that apply to everyday life: https://t.co/uHGoCmzz9t pic.twitter.com/sGan5etgFU
— NASA (@NASA) January 31, 2023
Having a solid content repurposing strategy is just good social media management. What works for one platform might not directly translate to another, but you can always source ideas from past and ongoing campaigns.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources tests your knowledge
Some agencies, like the Department of Motor Vehicles, touch almost everyone. Others have more niche audiences, like the Department of Natural Resources. These constraints often give agencies more flexibility in their posts since they know exactly who they’re talking to.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources knows that people who visit its Facebook page have at least a passing interest in the outdoors, which they weave into content accordingly. In one post, they gave their audience a pop quiz: Out of four photos of birds, one of them was not a bald eagle. This question seems like it’d be pretty easy, considering the amount of patriotic bald eagle imagery across the US, but it proved to be surprisingly difficult. But they didn’t stop with just the post. They replied to each guess in the comments, telling them whether they were right or wrong. Can you guess which bird isn’t a bald eagle?
Your audience has something in common. It’s your job to figure out what it is and leverage that commonality to engage them.
Uncommon industries require uncommon tactics
No matter what industry you’re in, there’s a community of people you can appeal to. And you can find that community on social media. Even the driest industries or topics can become fascinating if you tell the right story to the right people in the right way. Now’s your chance to get creative.
Looking for somewhere to start? Take our interactive quiz to find out which social media persona works best for your brand.
Social media target audience: How to find and engage yoursPublished on December 7, 2023 Reading time 7 minutes