Launching a new social media strategy can be daunting for business-to-business publications busy with daily demands of the newsroom, but Automotive News took that risk in 2022 when it invested in its Instagram account to enhance the publication’s journalism with visual storytelling and reach new audiences.
The Detroit-based publication, owned by Crain Communications, has operated an Instagram account for a while, but Marisa Marcinkowski, social media content strategist at Automotive News, says the publication wanted to revamp the strategy for that platform to become more relevant to how the audience on Instagram wanted to interact with the brand.
She says the company grew its social media team last year in hopes of expanding its presence on Instagram.
Before that investment, Marcinkowski says the social media team had focused mostly on copying and posting links to various social media platforms. But with growing the team, she says, the publication realized the importance of sharing more visual content, particularly on Instagram, and planning content early for success.
Marcinkowski adds that social media strategy today differs from what was important even a few years ago. While in the past breaking news first was most important for publications on social media, she says today visuals are critical to getting people to stop and view posts.
“It’s about that first glance — will you stop someone to take a closer look at what you’re posting?” she says.
Event coverage drives a lot of the content featured on Automotive News’ Instagram page, Marcinkowski says.
“[Events] are great places to grab a new audience and also meet people face to face,” she says.
Automotive News has a presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. The publication is also starting to experiment on TikTok, posting some content and following comments and discourse on #cartok. Marcinkowski says Automotive News sometimes is connecting with some reputable #cartok influencers to get its footing on that platform. She says, “[Influencers] have a place in information spreading, so we work with them. That helps build our sense of community.”
She adds that B2B publications shouldn’t be afraid to make the jump to a new social media platform.
Marcinkowski says, “People are so nervous to get into a new social media platform because it’s public. You have the question of ‘how many likes’ or ‘how many comments’ will I receive? It scares people into posting for the first time. But every account that is big has had to go through that. So, go for it, get out there and bring people into it. Also, when hopping to a new platform, don’t plan content too far in advance—the algorithms will get you.”
Regardless of the platform, Marcinkowski says Automotive News’ goal for social media is to bring the audience closer to the newsroom.
“People don’t know what goes on in a newsroom or discussions that happen for a story to be made,” she says. “I think more can be told; everyone wants a behind-the-scenes look.”