Lessons from Big Automobile Brands on Social Media

Thursday 10th, November 2016

swanky car photoSocial Media has been recognized by businesses as one of the many ways to engage meaningfully with customers. The automobile industry is not an exception to this.

There are several reasons

Why Social Media is Important to Automobile Companies

  • It is a great platform to engage with customers
  • It is possible to generate leads on these platforms
  • People share about things they love on Social Media – and vehicles are high up on their lists. Which makes Social Media platforms a good place for companies to be at!

Studies find that –

  • Most vehicle buyers these days are on Social Media
  • At least 40% of people discuss vehicle purchases on Social Media
  • Half the people who buy vehicles say they check out what their peers say before they buy!
  • People are excited to see pictures of cars or bikes – and read about features and technology used in their engines!

Dodge created marketing history with their Dart registry Campaign – here, people could pick the features they wanted on their Darts and friends or relatives could buy it for them. Something like a marriage registry. Dodge used social media to grow this campaign – and it was an incredible move on their part. If anyone wished a person who had signed up for the Dart Registry on their birthday, they were sent a notification that they could send a part of the Dart as a gift! What this did, was make thousands of people sign up for this! And the rest is marketing history!

Another one like that was Mini’s NOT NORMAL campaign – people had to upload images or videos to Tumblr with the hashtag #MININOTNORMAL. Mini featured the ones they liked as part of their campaign – in about 6 weeks, 230,000 people interacted with this, 2,217 pieces of content were shared, and Mini got about 30,000 new followers and fans. And 3,853 people went to the campaign hub looking for a new Mini.

BMW has a strong presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Every day it posts updates with images of its cars with links to photo albums or reviews or YouTube videos. Snowchat is a dedicated microsite where a snow-covered festive red BMW’s windshield is where you can insert holiday-themed designs and write messages. Once these messages are shared through social media or email, the car’s wipers wipe away the message in 5 seconds. They could have just done this campaign on Snapchat – but smart move!

Ford makes its campaigns on Social Media, fun. There are funny videos on Vine and artsy images with great filters on Instagram – different kinds of content created specifically for the platform where it is used. And it used Influencers to film 24 hours in a Fiesta for their highly personalized Fiesta 24 campaign.

Toyota takes customer service seriously on Social Media – there are banter and friendly chatting, quick replies to questions, help with issues and great conversations. Just a brand mention on Social Media can start a dialogue with some knowledgeable and friendly Ford staff. They also do a nice blend of pictures, videos, and text.

Volvo went the emotional route asking parents to send in children’s drawings of race cars with the theme, “Daddy is a racing driver” Great way to position their Polestar which is a powerful family car!

So what are the key takeaways that we get from all of this?

  • You need to have a plan. Every smart marketing activity has a strategy – a plan. And Social Media Marketing should not be anything different. Ask yourself some questions. Why are you doing this? What are you going to do? Who are you planning to reach? And why? What do you hope to achieve? Once there is some clarity, you will find that what you had in mind does not involve jumping on 25 different channels – but something entirely different!
  • Each Social Media platform has a distinct character. It appeals to a certain kind of people. And content that will work great on one platform, will not work that well on another. Creating one kind of content and posting that everywhere is just not going to cut it. Study each platform/network that you would want to use, well and learn all about the kind of content that would work well on them. (There are many guides available online) and then create quality content that works great on specific platforms. The kind that works on Twitter, won’t work on Pinterest, for example.
  • It is very important to tell a good story that resonates with your audience. There is plenty by way of visual material that can be used to tell a very compelling story. Brands need to use that.
  • And for that to happen, brands need to really know their audiences and who they are targeting with each campaign. A one size fits all approach won’t work. Sending a college student who has just got his first job campaigns about luxury cars, won’t really work.
  • The kind of content that you post must be the kind that lets your audience engage and interact with it. Because people want to interact – not just consume content. And that is also what you want.
  • Make sure that you are there to converse and engage with your customers. It cannot be a one-way street. Any questions or issues must be addressed at once and any comments responded to. You can also ask questions, encouraging your customers to interact and engage with you.
  • Ensure that your campaign works. If it is a competition – all the links need to work. Make it easy and appealing for your customers to participate. Don’t make them search for forms or send them through multiple pages looking for the competition!
  • Listening is one of the great advantageous things one does on Social Media. It helps a business get to know what its customers are saying about it and about the competition. A business can get to understand a lot by just listening. You can find out about your customers – what they need. What their pain points are. You can find out what people are saying about your brand. About the competition. You can pick up leads and potential customers and can engage with them. And if there are any customer care issues that need to be addressed, you can do so quickly. A business can miss out a lot by not ‘listening’ enough.
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