Even while the average person connects so much with their car, it’s not the hidden meaning or connotations that get people engaged on social media; it’s the physical cars. “It’s the cars themselves that drive the most social buzz and excitement,” said Rob Milne, the North American Director of Marketing Operations for Mazda. “When we get into some of the more human aspects, there’s a little less interest. When we’re showcasing the product, the technology, photos of our engines – that’s when people get excited.”
Best Use of Social Media Among Car Brands
So, how are car brands and auto manufacturers getting people excited on social media? Let’s take a look at some of the top examples and which brands are getting it right:
- Dodge. After winning a Shorty Award for their 2013 Dart Registry campaign, it’s safe to say that Doge has a firm grip on what works. They 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.
- BMW. With a Facebook fan page that has more than 18.5 million likes, it’s difficult to argue with BMW. Though their efforts may look fairly standard, it’s clear they’re doing something right. The question is: What are they doing to average right around
25,000 likes and hundreds of shares per post? Is it fueled by the brand alone? The company actually does very little to engage or interact with fans, so it’s bit of an anomaly in terms of textbook social media strategy. However, whatever they’re doing is working. Keep an eye on these guys and you may be able to learn something.
- 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.
3 Takeaways Every Industry Can Use
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. While BMW may get away with it because of brand power and compelling visuals, it’s important to remember that 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.
The Power of Social Media
It’s incredible to look back over the past decade and see how far social networking has come. Just when you think it’s reached its peak or will start to even out, a new site comes along or an existing one does something to reignite the flame. While the power of social media will always lie in the person-to-person connections between users, it’s impossible to forget about how these networks are being monetized and sustained by successful brands and advertisers. Plenty of industries are successful at it, but perhaps none more than the auto industry.