Content is King in Social Media Marketing Messages

The key factor in judging performance and customer satisfaction with social media marketing messages is terrific content, according to the inaugural J.D. Power and Associates 2013 Social Media Benchmark Study.SM Three major performance indicators that have been identified among top performing auto brands evaluated in the study are:

• Information needs to meet these criteria—content . . . Continue Reading Content is King in Social Media Marketing Messages

Facebook Engagement with Consumers is a Work in Progress

Mike Sullivan

Mike Sullivan, owner of the LAcarGUY family of dealerships with headquarters in Santa Monica, CA, was asked about his dealer group’s innovative social media campaigns during a panel discussion about reaching new-vehicle buyers and new media at the recent NADA/J.D. Power Western Automotive Conference in Los Angeles.

Some two decades ago, . . . Continue Reading Facebook Engagement with Consumers is a Work in Progress

The Premium Facebook Page

Jeremy Detgen

In the past, there has been a great deal of critical discussion around the value of social media for premium auto brands, but many dissenters are coming around. Questions have been asked: Does it ruin the exclusivity of the brand? Does it make the brand image weaker, or even less premium?

To answer the call, the űber-premium brand Bugatti has utilized social media to grow its brand image, while still maintaining the exclusive, elite brand image that goes along with its name. If high-end automaker Bugatti, which is now owned by the Volkswagen Group, understands the value of social media, then more mainstream premium brands can surely learn a lesson.

Prior to launching their numerous social media pages, Bugatti took note that around 150 sites were already referencing Bugatti due to enthusiast support (Greenberg, MediaPost). This kind of coverage shows a demand for conversation about Bugatti’s products in the social media space. Continue reading ›

Social Media Insight: Learning Lessons from the Big Mac

Jeremy Detgen

McDonald’s Canada recently launched a very successful viral campaign consisting of several videos, according to a story in Advertising Age. One behind-the-scenes video has received over 6.9 million views on YouTube. The videos address concerns that customers have about the quality and healthiness of McDonald’s food. Customers have asked questions like “Why does it not look like it does in the picture?” These videos aim to answer basic questions in an effort to be more transparent and authentic.

Authenticity in any industry is essential when building a social media campaign. While this campaign was a great success, another campaign from McDonald’s USA attempted to promote authenticity and conversation through social media, with disastrous results. The USA campaign initiated conversations on Twitter, prompting customers to share their positive experiences. Although positive stories were the intent, numerous tweets with the campaign hashtag (#McDStories) were used to describe horrible experiences with McDonald’s.

Up and Down Lessons from a Fast Food Giant

So how can the auto industry learn from a fast food company? The most obvious lesson learned from this case study is that social media has great potential, but also presents a risk of losing control over what consumers might say. The Ad Age article Why McDonald’s Canada Social-Media Success Worked for the U.S. suggests that the Canadian campaign did not give people a chance to “trash” it by disabling comments on YouTube, whereas on Twitter, the conversation was completely open. It is valuable to allow comments, but a brand must understand that there may be some criticism and controversy. The key is to manage the conversation, not control it. Continue reading ›

GM Drops Facebook Ads from Marketing Plan—Some Observations

Jeremy Detgen

General Motors’ decision to drop ads on Facebook from its marketing plan has created a substantial amount of buzz. From Automotive News to Ad Age, articles abound with speculation about the reasons behind the decision and comparisons with Ford Motor Company, which plans to increase its Facebook ad spend. So why the discrepancy? If Ford can trust and make Facebook work, why is GM abandoning this channel of over 800 million users?

In short, they aren’t. GM has expressed that the company still plans to invest in generating content for its Facebook sites and to maintain relationships with its followers. In fact, GM spends about $30 million a year on Facebook content, as reported by The Wall Street Journal, compared with its $10 million Facebook paid advertising budget.

General Motors already has an audience of more than 2 million people without having to pay for ads. In mid-May, when the news broke about GM’s Facebook decision, the largest Detroit automaker and its respective brands had the following number of likes on their pages: GM=380,000; GMC=670,000; Buick=410,000; Cadillac=1,170,000; and Chevrolet=1,230,000. The strength of GM’s brand awareness on Facebook holds the power to reach these users and their networks with content contained within its pages. With this large user base, it is more important to maintain relationships, listen, and respond to followers in order to grow the GM community. Continue reading ›

Original Programming, Branded Content Drives Consumer Interest

Partnering with quality content providers is a model that works to develop original programming and branded entertainment across different platforms, according to a panel of five media experts during a presentation on the future trends in advertising and media. During the recent 2011 Automotive Internet Roundtable in Las Vegas, NV, the five experts presented trends and ideas about original programming and the media. Continue reading ›

Microblogs in China a Popular Auto Marketing Tool


Jeremy Detgen

In China, a microblog site called Sina Weibo has become one of the most popular social media platforms in the country, according to Yuong Su, editor-in-chief of the Auto Channel, which is the host site for Weibo on China’s major Chinese-language portal The microblog site has 200 million registered users.

During the recent 2011 Automotive Internet Roundtable in Las Vegas, NV, Yuong Su talked about the benefits and value of Weibo—which is similar to Twitter, but with Chinese characteristics—to the country’s passenger-vehicle buyers in addition to automakers and dealers who want to promote and market new vehicles in this burgeoning market. Continue reading ›

Dialogue through Media Engagement Changes Brand Perception for Toyota

Sujata Sontakke

Digital advertising can be used to engage consumers in conversation and change their perceptions about brands, according to two speakers from a major advertising agency and national US newspaper. Samantha Johnson, communications director, for Saatchi & Saatchi and Chris Wilcox, vice president of Media Group West, for USA TODAY presented a few details about their multi-faceted ad program for Toyota to the 1,250 participants at J.D. Power’s recent 2011 Automotive Internet Roundtable.

A few highlights about the interactive campaign:

• Toyota wanted to boost its brand health, increase brand favorability and purchase intent after a series of recalls and negative press several years ago. Continue reading ›