Earlier this year, my family and I relocated from the suburbs of NYC to the suburbs of our nation’s capital, Washington DC. Three things I quickly learned about Northern Virginia is that the sky is a bit bluer, the air a bit crisper, and everyone, I mean everyone, drives a pickup truck. Most people have one, a few people on my block have two. Some are used for actual construction and/or cargo work, some are completely for style and have a price tag easily around $70,000 with all the custom work that’s gone into them, from wheels to tires to lights.
I began following the big three brands on social media, mostly Instagram, and quickly realized it’s the must-have, hot-bed platform for automotive, and will continue to be so heading into 2019.
Three quick reasons why auto brands succeed on Instagram…with a bit of a focus on my fascination with pickup trucks:
- A rather obvious one: Instagram really turns every amateur into a photographer, and allows brands themselves to share high-quality images. Taking a look at the big three brand pages – Ford F series, Ram, and Toyota (Tundra and/or Tacoma) – one thing is clear, these trucks are made for scenic pics, rugged and outdoorsy. And they’re not your standard side shots. The best images are the close-up, detailed shots. Whether it be the trim on the seats, the coating on the bed, or details as to whether the truck is lifted or leveled – the details come across in these high-quality images, a feature that is maximized on Instagram.
- Rabid fans, ULTRA influencers. Everyone engaging, all over the place. There really is a cult-like following for pickup trucks. Brands have folks doing the work for them. I’m a particular fan of Ram trucks, and influencers like @ram_royalty_USA and @maximum_5.7 have me visiting their feeds every day. Each of the big three has a terrific amount of hashtags attributed to them, such as #ram1500, #toyotatundra, or #fordtrucks. A quick scan of those and you’re seeing nearly a million pieces of content. The sort of marketing brands dream of.
- Instagram Stories. Quick videos, behind the scenes, serve to promote the exclusive content only brands can provide. Whether it be the inner workings and exclusive reveals that a show like December’s SEMA show in Las Vegas can offer, or whether it be spy shots of 2020 models, or quick videos of your favorite truck being put together on an assembly line in Detroit – these videos are quick, easy to access, and allow brands and fans to engage with stories that simply serve to pour gasoline on the fanaticism.
Kudos to Ford, Ram, and Toyota and their Instagram channels. Engagement is pretty much best in class and terrific across the board. Odds are, if you comment frequently, you’ll get a response or two. You might even get your own truck featured one day….certainly, this owner of a new Ram 1500 hopes so. @ramtrucks, my maximum steel beast awaits your love.