As this article points out, the auto industry has begun to pick up the pace in its use of social media marketing. According to a 2014 CMO Council report on social analytics within the auto industry, it’s the passion behind car buying that translates over to social networking sites. Here are some of the interesting stats and takeaways:
- 23 percent of car buyers use social media to discuss or communicate a recent purchase experience.
- 38 percent of consumers report they’ll consult social media next time they purchase a car.
- An incredible 84 percent of all automotive shoppers are on Facebook – with 24 percent using the networking site as a resource for purchasing their last vehicle.
- Ninety-four (94) percent of millennial car buyers gather information online.
While the report points out that car makers are at various points of progression when it comes to social media adoption. Two recent examples of manufacturer who seem to be getting it include:
- Dodge – who used social media sites to grow their marketing campaign, which allowed people to pick the features they wanted on their Dart and then let friends and family members sponsor/fund parts. It was a mix between a traditional wedding registry and crowdfunding. The social media component that made the campaign so successful worked in conjunction with birthdays. If a person was listed in the Dart Registry, people who posted a birthday note on their wall were then reminded that it’s easy to fund a part of their car as a gift. Thousands signed up for a Dart Registry and the campaign is now frequently used as a marketing case study.
- Mini. Mini’s NOT NORMAL campaign was a major hit in 2014. It won multiple industry awards and allowed the brand to connect with an entirely new audience. Mini simply asked people to upload images and videos to Tumblr or to share with the hashtag #MININOTNORMAL. They then used their favorites as part of their campaign. Within six weeks, 230,000 people engaged with the campaign on social media, 2,217 pieces of content were shared, nearly 30,000 new followers and fans were recruited, and 3,853 people visited the campaign hub to look for a new Mini.
And then there’s BMW who does very little to engage or interact with fans of their car. However, they boast an impressive 18.5 million likes on Facebook and averages around 25,000 likes and hundreds of shares per post! The BMW brand has always been strong and enjoys a very loyal almost cult like following from its drivers.
Regardless of whether you work with a car brand or not, there are social media marketing takeaways for businesses in every industry. Here are three of the best ones:
- Tell a story. The single most consistent thread throughout every successful car brand social media campaign is storytelling through visuals. It’s not enough to simply post content – it needs to resonate with the audience. The use of videos and stunning images allows brands to tell ongoing stories that encourage followers to come back for more. If you’re not storytelling on social media, it’s time to rethink your strategy.
- Let customers have a say. Mini’s NOT NORMAL and Dodge’s Dart Registry campaigns are perfect examples of how to engage with followers – by letting them have a say. People want to interact with content – not simply consume it. By developing interactive campaigns with social components, you can get more people active and involved.
- Build two-way communities. Social business pages are designed to be two-way communities. On the brand side, this requires you to ask questions, answer inquiries, and address issues. Don’t just sit back and watch. This is your chance to tear down the corporate curtain and humanize your brand.
Automakers like many other industries are also poised to take advantage of big data analytics and couple these findings with effective uses of social media. When this happens car sales should really start to skyrocket. Even BMW will likely not be able to rest on their laurels but then again BMW is rarely on the trailing edge of anything as they continue to offer innovative features that are often duplicated by competitors. BMW has already enlisted IBM to use analytics to make better and smarter cars so using data to find more customers would seem easy. But then again, maybe just focusing more on building a quality product is a better strategy that than using data to manipulate social media content in hope of enticing more customers. At the end of the day most people want quality, dependability and sustainability and not just a good deal or gimmicky sales tactic. But, I guess either way if you build a good car or a clever marketing campaign they will come.
But will they come back?