General Electric Shows a Different Side on Instagram
If you were asked to picture General Electric’s Instagram account, you might imagine photos of light bulbs or videos of washing machines.
Try fighter jets and locomotives.
The team behind @generalelectric isn’t here to push appliances. Instead they tell a broader story of building, powering, moving and curing the world—which just happens to be their company mission.
Of course most people don’t know that. But with Instagram, General Electric saw an opportunity to shift perceptions by showing a different side of the brand. That’s one reason we selected @generalelectric to be featured in both our Instagram brand video and our Handbook for brands.
“We do so many things, something we were looking to solve is how to explain that to people,” says Katrina Craigwell, Global Manager of Digital Marketing at General Electric. “It’s about developing an understanding for what GE does, beyond what you think it does.”
While building awareness for its innovative technology—helpful for attracting young engineers and big contracts—General Electric has also established itself as one of the most admired contributors to the Instagram community, with its majestic shots of powerful engines and remote wind farms.
"Our theory was that there was a way to present our big machines in way that was beautiful, a way that people could geek out on science and technology and jet engines,” says Craigwell.
So how does General Electric craft such a compelling story out of massive machines? Very thoughtfully.
First, they start with messaging priorities that align with the business objectives for the year. Then they commit to a high bar for content, with a mix of images taken on iPhone and DSLR cameras. One especially effective technique is the use of scale—showing people as they build and service these industrial mammoths.
Craigwell explains, “Most of our content is created exclusively for Instagram, and other channels pull from the account. The content production is a group effort but there is always a focus on quality and a unique experience.”
General Electric also makes sure not to overdo it, typically posting once a day, although that number might increase to two or three times if there is an event taking place, such as the Instawalk they hosted last September, when then invited 12 Instagram photographers—some professional, some amateur—inside a jet engine test facility.
The images posted from the walk offered new angles on the technology, as seen through the eyes of the different photographers. Keeping the account fresh is key, Craigwell says. “We like to be unexpected and to add value. Instagram is place where we can do that.”