Social media can be an incredibly exciting place, and if you are a big car manufacturer it is even more exciting than usual, because you have hundreds of thousands of pounds to spend and the creative team behind your campaign that anyone else would kill for.
It’s big money and it’s big ideas. But this doesn’t mean that it’s easy.
There was a time when automobile manufacturers basically left social media alone. The direct link between the vendor and customer was so direct that it didn’t seemingly require any ‘sharing’ or any viral marketing elements. People wanted to be spoken to as individuals, and that worked well for a while.
Then the car giants decided that having their content shared was kind of cool, and had a direct impact on sales.
We’re going to look at the work these brands are doing on Facebook, simply because Facebook works if you do it well. The lessons learnt from these examples can inform the practice of all businesses on Facebook.
Audi: how to craft a perfect Facebook post
Audi have long been known to be a car brand that stands for quality. The company has worked hard to achieve this, but it almost blew up in their face towards the end of the 90s, when they ran the risk of becoming slightly boring. That’s the price you pay for producing cars that are viewed as almost perfect.
But the company has suddenly decided to make social media their playground. On their Facebook page, you will find plenty of examples of a company looking at the best way to use Facebook, and then producing it’s own unique slant on things.
With this post, Audi does a couple of things very well when it comes to social. Firstly, it ensures it posts a high quality image, with absolutely nothing about it that looks cheap or hurried. This is one of the best shots the photographer took, and that’s fairly obvious. Great images work incredibly well on Facebook, and the number of people who like this post is a testament to that. Bear in mind it is a very recent post and already there are nearly 10,000 likes. We think the image is a key factor.
Then we have the text content. Short and snappy (it’s under that magic 80 character figure), it’s also dry and smart. This tone fits neatly with the ever so slightly arrogant nature of the company that it’s devotees like, and it works.
So, with this one, you have a great image that is shareable, and excellent written content, both working together to enhance and amplify the branding, which is based on slightly superior technical brilliance.
BMW: how to hit all the right buttons with humor
Another carmaker with an unparalleled reparation for brilliance and quality in the vehicles it creates, BMW has also learnt a little about how best to present on Facebook.
In this post, it hits all the right buttons when it comes to sly humor. The business has known for a very long time that anticipation fuels sales and the company really hits the nail on the head here.
Nissan: How to use your sponsorship deal/partnerships to your advantage
Nissan sponsored the UEFA Champions League, and they capitalized on the deal massively this year. By using real football players and some excellent and clever marketing (footballers shoot into a cool goal, which happens to have ‘Nissan’ emblazoned above it in some amazingly non-intrusive manner) they created a mash-up of popular sport and big bucks marketing that just doesn’t seem annoying.
It’s a hard trick to master, but it works for them because they have this amazing knack of making everything seem easy and unforced. You won’t ever escape the fact that they have spent millions sponsoring a major football tournament, but they make it seem like it’s all about a bunch of pals kicking a ball around. Near a car.
Toyota: Using perfect timing when you promote
It’s the old social media advice that is given out to anyone who wants to get anywhere online: use a calendar and capitalise on relevant events and dates in your promotional activity.
But Toyota tear up the rule book here with a focus on ensuring that they not only pick out an event that resonates with anyone who enjoys driving (Le Mans 24hr race) and it’s anniversary of the first involvement the manufacturer had with that event.
It does a couple of things. First, it doesn’t look spammy in any way. There is respect for the race, even if you don’t watch it. And in addition, the way the post is presented, it links Toyota to the history of the event in a touching and powerful way that simply implies history was made 30 years ago. It’s informational and not commercial (even though it is).
Renault: how to be really, really cute
Cats dominate the Internet (and YouTube), with dogs coming a close second. Here, Renault manage to play the cute card while also selling their cars.
The post emphasizes the spaciousness of the car while also ensuring that one of the biggest draws on the Web (cute animals) is also included.
You can’t do this every day on Facebook, but when you do, do it like this.
Ford: how to be really, really cool
Ford has had plenty of critics over the years. Most people would agree that their cars are perhaps just a little bit too expensive, especially in the family market. But the company has an incredible heritage, with many more years of car making under their belt than, say, Toyota
They capitalize a little bit on their history with this post, but also tick a lot of other boxes by managing to somehow present an incredible photo, stir up emotions among gear heads, and tease a little too. It’s an incredibly cool post and the best thing about it is that it is essentially something that wouldn’t look out of place on a billboard.
Quite possibly the coolest post Ford has done for a while, it’s effortless and smooth, and it makes everyone who sees it think of the promise of a hot car and an open road.
Absolutely inspirational Facebook marketing.
Jaguar: How to use brevity to maximize impact
Another classic example of solid social media advice is that when you are creating a post or an update, the shorter the better. Some people do this very well, and Jaguar seem to have spent considerable time trying to ensure that they cracked the three word barrier.
Why does this particular example work? Well, it’s helped a lot by the image obviously, with bright red against a monochrome background always proving to be a winner. But the three words instantly evoke a sense of majesty and dominance. Jaguar is a prestige carmaker, and the company has really used the image ever since they first advertised. But they get it right sometimes on social media. And this image and, most importantly, the 3 words with alliteration, is a great example of an engaging post on Facebook. At the time of writing it had over 2,000 likes and it was an hour old.
Mercedes: how to use interaction
Mercedes have possibly one of the most rock solid reputations for quality. They rarely put a foot wrong, and their production process is notoriously demanding. So they quite rightly have a certain amount of pride in their vehicles.
They take that pride one step further with this very good post on Facebook, which does two things.
Firstly, it confirms the status of the viewer as a fan. If they can identify the interiors they are fans of the cars, pure and simple. So there is an element of the exclusive about it. It makes true fans feel good.
Secondly, it creates classic levels of engagement. People want to get involved and see if they can ‘pass the test’. Over ten hours this post gained 16.5k likes.
Facebook has many facets to it, and if you work hard enough at your strategy and approach, you can hit a number of key points throughout a Facebook campaign. Some of the above were quite simple. Some were sophisticated. But all of them used Facebook and it’s processes to the full.
Imagery of course is vital. None of these posts consists of text alone. So it’s important that small businesses remember that when they use Facebook. If you just use text (and some companies do) you are essentially wasting your time. But when you do use text, take a leaf out of Jaguar’s book (Rule the Roads) and back it up with a great image, and you have presence and real resonance.
Timing is vital too. Toyota realized this and created a post that linked history and the company’s quality into one irresistible package.
Interactivity builds natural engagement. When Mercedes do it, they focus on trying to create a ‘club’ atmosphere, where you can only truly engage if you know what the company is all about. It takes time to get to that level, but when it does, it’s powerful.
And don’t forget Nissan, who used a partnership to it’s fullest potential, somehow managing to promote while remaining as laid-back and low key as they could.
There are many ways to use Facebook to amplify your branding and market your products and services. These 8 car manufacturers are very much at the top of their game, and we could all learn a trick (or two) from them.
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