How are the Top Contractors using Instagram in 2018?

Our popular post back in 2015 demonstrated how the top contractors were using social media to enhance their brand and provide that all-important ‘added value‘ to their audience.  The research carried out enabled us to not only analyse the presence of each construction company on social, but also to review the range of engagement tactics used.

Within this post, we’ll be looking to update this research in sections by firstly analysing Instagram – a platform that was fairly new to the construction industry back in 2015. As part of an up-to-date review, the following questions will be answered:

  • Are more contractors now using Instagram compared to three years ago?
  • How are they using it and have any significant changes taken place?
  • What can we as construction marketers learn from this updated 2018 analysis?

Comparison Overview

So first things first, let’s take a look at the stats…

The following table demonstrates that the amount of UK Contractors now on Instagram has risen to 47%, in comparison to a small 18% back in 2015 (once excluding Carillion).

Furthermore, if we take into consideration international companies such as Skanska and VINCI, this percentage then rises to 56% – demonstrating that more than half of the construction companies listed are now active on Instagram.

Considering this platform was barely touched in 2015 by the construction industry, the following table demonstrates a significant evolvement in

FYI – here’s a little reminder as to how we measured each social behaviour and characteristic outlined above:

Presence: Filled in contact details and page includes website link, descriptive overview, relevant image/logo
Posts: Atleast 1 post update in the last month
Followers: How many people are following their Instagram page

Key changes since 2015 analysis

So what’s changed and how are the main contractors now investing more of their time into this social media platform?

After analysing each construction company, here are the reasons and ways in which contractors are implementing Instagram into their Social Media Strategy: 

  1. To display the progression & completion of large projects through quality photography & video
  2. To demonstrate thought-leadership and knowledge of the latest technology
  3. To highlight & incentivise job opportunities by showcasing the wellbeing of colleagues
  4. To demonstrate their external commitments & support for local charities
  5. To ‘humanise’ their brand by building a sense of community through team support, celebrations & social events
  6. To support current marketings campaigns in order to broaden online visibility
  7. To showcase attendance & involvement with the latest construction events

Interested? We’ve taken an example post from each large contractor using Instagram to demonstrate the above findings…

  1. Progression & Completion of Projects

BAM Nuttall keep their followers up-to-date during every step of their major construction projects by showcasing teaser snippets of work carried out on site. What’s important here is that the imagery used is aesthetically pleasing and of high quality to catch their followers attention – something that separates those accounts with a large following from those with a lack of engagement. Notice the nice touch of crediting the photographer here: tagging photographers & project collaborators further broadens the reach of each post, while the use of popular hashtags enables your post to appear when Instagram users search for popular projects or local updates.


2. Forward-thinkers on Upcoming Technology

Balfour Beatty have embraced Instagram since 2016 and within that time (to date), have grown an impressive 2236 followers. While they primarily use the platform to promote their projects and demonstrate team community, their video selection, titled ‘Visions of Future Infrastructure’, is an effective way of demonstrating their knowledge with how technology will soon impact the construction industry. The short and factual titles to these videos also provide a simple overview of what the video will cover.


3. Job Opportunities & Recruitment

Another company who focus on building a sense of community through their Instagram account is ISG PLC. They successfully demonstrate their social values and ongoing commitment to getting young people involved within the construction sector, by uploading quirky and contemporary images of young professionals on construction sites. These visually effective images portray ISG PLC to be both an exciting and welcoming company to be involved with. (The post below supports their #OpenDoors2017 campaign).


4. Local Charities & Sponsorships

Laing O’Rourke have invested substantial effort into their Instagram marketing since 2016, with the incorporation of video and quality imagery. In particular, they do a great job of keeping their followers up-to-date with the charity work they regularly carry out, such as their donation to the ‘Mind’ charity. Again this helps to not only build a strong team culture, but to also demonstrate how Laing O’Rourke are aware of societal issues and are looking for ways to actively take part in making a change.


5. Humanising the Brand

Willmott Dixon currently use a range of Instagram accounts to represent different areas of their business or locations; this can be confusing when searching for them, however their Hitchin account provides a great example of how to use Instagram to humanise your brand and provide followers with an insight into the friendly culture of your company. This will not only maximise recruitment opportunities but also demonstrates your approachable nature to prospects who may contact you further down the line.


6. Supporting Current Marketing Campaigns

Kier Group‘s latest campaign is called ‘Shaping your world’, which is helping to change people’s perception of the built environment. Although present in 2015, Kier Group have since changed their strategy from the odd photo-promoting of charity work with very little description, to a more video-based marketing tactic. The below marketing campaign encourages their users to become actively involved by creating their own avatars, whilst the use of shortcodes ( /ourapprenticeships ) is an effective way of encouraging users to type in the landing page within a separate browser.

Tip: Due to not being able to insert active links within Instagram posts, either use shortcodes as demonstrated here, or add the landing page link into your company description during the course of your campaign.


7. Event Promotion & Attendees

Why not demonstrate to your audience that you’ll be present at upcoming events like BAM Construct UK have? Tie Instagram in with your overall content marketing campaigns by reinforcing where they can next engage with your construction business face-to-face and the reasons for your attendance. This not only helps to raise brand awareness but also introduces to your audience the range of faces they can expect to see ahead of time, ultimately maximising engagement on the day.

2018 Tips & Takeaways for Construction Marketers

So to summarise all of the above, how can you make the most of incorporating Instagram into your own construction marketing strategy?

  1. Use high quality photography: in a growing visual marketplace, only attempt to use images that are both of high quality and are aesthetically pleasing. How can your project imagery be different from your competitors? It’s all about engaging your users and capturing their attention so you’re kept front-of-mind if and when they decide to do business with you.
  2. Think  of it as a ‘brand awareness’ tool, not a ‘lead-converter’: While, yes, Instagram can bring in conversions to your business (particularly when using their paid advertising service), it should primarily be seen as a brand awareness tool to support your campaigns and demonstrate brand values. The lack of conversion opportunities is also down to the inability to use direct links within image captions – therefore, have fun with it and see how much engagement you gain from your posting!
  3. Always include full company details: Seeing as you can’t provide links elsewhere, it’s so important to make the most of the company information you supply at the top of your profile. Always ensure a concise description of what you do is included here, alongside a link to your company website and even, when relevant, your address details for users to view your location on Google Maps. The more relevant information you can provide here, the more authoritative your Instagram account will look.
  4. Don’t be a one-off, half-hearted poster: There’s nothing worse than seeing companies who make a half-hearted attempt at Instagram. If you’re looking to incorporate it into your social media strategy, then go the whole-hog and have a fully integrated plan. If you can’t commit to posting atleast a few times per month, then focus your efforts elsewhere.
  5. It’s not for everyone: Are you already successful on your other social media accounts? Is Facebook or Twitter bringing you plenty of traffic and driving conversations around your brand? If internal resource is low, and your pleased with current social media activity, don’t feel the need to HAVE to incorporate Instagram just for the sake of being on the latest posting app. It has to work for your individual business needs and objectives.

Note: And just before we go…it’s worth noting that Instagram is now allowing you to schedule posts ahead of time – a feature that wasn’t currently available. Whilst you need to still approve them via your mobile at the moment, you’ll soon be able to actively post to Instagram on your desktop without any further action. If you are considering Instagram as a social media tactic, this will enable businesses to increase their organic presence on the platform more effectively and allow for better content planning.

We hope you found this post helpful – do stay tuned for a week-by-week update of each social media platform!

And for more advice on enhancing your social media strategy, download our eBook here, or give us a call on 01908 671707.


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About Stuart Dinnie

Stuart has worked in the world of digital marketing for over 15 years. With his measured and planned approach, he has delivered robust digital strategies for construction companies to achieve real business growth. He now heads up the team at Pauley Creative as Managing Director and is leading his team & clients towards digital marketing excellence. He’s worked with over 100 construction clients; helping them on their digital transformation journey, providing sustainable strategies that return year on year incremental growth, delivering award-winning websites and adding value from board level to marketing assistant.

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