Instagram Success with Buildwitt Media’s Aaron Witt

Aaron Witt, the 23-year-old Managing Director at Buildwitt Media has taken Instagram by storm, with 38.4k followers and growing daily. Between his personal account and managing the top Instagram accounts in the industry, Buildwitt Media is constructing a massive following in a niche market and doing it with heart and soul. We’re thrilled Aaron took some time to share his passion and his strategies with us.

How does he do it?

Q: How did you start with photography?

A: I bought my first legitimate camera early last year and began to photograph my time in nature and the adventures that came with it. I’ve always photographed projects and equipment with my phone as I worked various jobs around the country, but it was only for fun. It wasn’t until last summer when I seriously began improving and creating photos of equipment and earthmoving that I wanted to see but couldn’t find online.

Q: Which Instagram accounts do you manage?

A: I manage @buildwitt, @daily_construction, @ibuildamerica and a few corporate accounts as well for construction, mining, and equipment companies.

Q: How many consistent clients do you have?

A: At the moment I have five consistent clients with many others who are simply looking for me to visit once and help capture their work.

Q: Who is your idol in the industry?

A: I met with a gentleman by the name of Steve Channen of Channen Construction in Arizona a few years back. He’s a brilliant lawyer turned construction executive who explained to me how behind the industry is, and instead of building another contracting business, like I wanted to at the time, he suggested finding a problem within the industry and solving it. That’s how I’ve come to focus on workforce development and marketing within heavy construction and mining.

Q: What motivates you?

A: I have a really well-defined vision of my life in the future that I think about every night and I can nearly picture it perfectly – I’m already there mentally but working to catch up physically. Besides the future, I absolutely love heavy equipment and all things earthmoving. Being onsite is so much fun every time and I wouldn’t trade anything for it! The better I do, the more I get to see. Not having a paycheck every Friday to consistently depend on is certainly a motivator too!

Q: What do you enjoy most about social media?

A: I enjoy the fact that I can interact with hundreds of thousands of people each day who love heavy equipment and earthmoving as much as I do!

Q: What direction do you see social media going in the next year?

A: Social hasn’t had much of a presence in construction or mining, but over the next year, it will become much more relevant. As companies start feeling the pressure of the worsening labor shortage, they’ll increasingly turn to social media and marketing to grow their labor force and attract new talent.

Q: Why is social media important to the heavy industries?

A: Social is important to heavy industries for branding, hiring, and inspiring the current workforce. It offers a direct line of communication from the office to the field and allows heavy industries to access an untapped pool of young people who don’t know where to start their careers.

Q: Do you think Snapchat has a future in the industry? Why or why not?

A: I’m not the biggest fan of Snapchat but it still has value. Snapchat could offer a completely unedited look into heavy industries. That said, I’m not actively pursuing it since I’m spread out on different social channels enough as it is.

Q: How have you built your follower base on Instagram?

A: I’ve built my follower base by consistently delivering quality and value to my followers. I feel like my work is different than anything else out there and every day I post with the intention of either educating or entertaining. I’ve offered a fresh perspective on two stale industries and I think people appreciate that.

Q: Do you use paid advertising to grow your business? Why or why not?

A: I’ve never used paid advertising as I believe it’s a distraction and somewhat of a gimmick. While beneficial to sell specific products etc, I believe in focusing all my energy on providing the best content possible. My content speaks for itself and the followers and business opportunities come naturally.

Q: Will you share a few things you learned not to do – maybe the hard way – as you built your following?

A: The best lesson I’ve learned so far is to better protect my images. Since I’m creating images that no one else has created in places with limited access, they’re naturally sought after. Magazines, companies, and even government agencies have stolen my work without notice. Photos aren’t looked at as property of art within our industry, but they certainly are with the time and money I invest in the pictures I post.

Q: What steps are you taking to protect your images?

A: I used to watermark images but I don’t anymore since it takes away from the photograph itself. Images will always be stolen online, it’s a reality I’ve had to come to terms with. The biggest thing I do to protect myself is staying cautious when sharing high-resolution images. Companies and magazines have and continue to take advantage of my photos. It’s an ongoing battle!

Q: What is your hashtag strategy?

A: I typically use the maximum amount of tags available that are all industry related. #heavyequipment is obviously more beneficial than #cool… Beyond the hashtags themselves, I’m consistent with them on all my posts.

Q: What is your audience demographic?

A: My audience is primarily men between 20-35 years old in the US and all over the world. I have access to the next generation of operators and managers that will soon become the leaders of the industry over the next decade and beyond as retirements increase. Many leaders in the industry don’t see this group of people as valuable and that’s why we have the workforce problem that we face.

Q: Do you think you need to reach people outside of that main demographic?

A: I try to reach outside of people already in the industry to get them to think about construction and mining. Even if they don’t pursue heavy industries as a career, it’s still important to realize how crucial they are to our society. There’s no way we can change perceptions without reaching and educating the outside world.

Q: How do you appeal to followers of all kinds?

A: I don’t. I’ve never tried to appeal to everyone, I’ve only tried to tell my story and work on projects that I love. Staying focused on what I enjoy is key – there’s no point in creating anything if it’s only for others and not myself at the same time!

Q: What is the most surprising thing you’ve experienced managing social media accounts for clients?

A: I’m surprised by how much the experienced and older people at companies enjoy seeing their social profiles and work featured after we’ve started helping. They’re extremely suspicious at first, but once we begin and show the results, they’re happy and willing to help out however they can. The tough part is earning a chance to prove ourselves in the first place!

Q: What is your intention for the future?

A: Three things – I intend to be the new, young face of earthmoving, create a marketing firm only serving earthmoving companies anywhere in the US, and become the most widely known earthmoving photographer.

Photo ©2018 Aaron Witt, BuildWitt Media

 

 

Aaron Witt
Managing Director at BuildWitt Media Group