Category Archives: Social Media Tools

Tweeting and Blogging Practices


This week we are looking at what some of the best practices are for blogging/ tweeting and to find out if the industry (Automotive) that we have been discussing for the last month employs some of these practices. But first we need to take a look and discuss what some of those best practices are. Depending on where you look or who you talk to, the answers are very similar. Before we get to the best practices though, I just want to show how important Twitter use can be and therefore how important using best practices for the best results are important. In 2011 77% of the companies on Fortunes Global 100 list used Twitter.



TaoAccording to Twitter and Mark Schaefer’s “Tao of Twitter,” they have suggestions on the best way to achieve the results you want. Some of the best practices that they mention are to create tweets that resonate. In order to do this, it is best to add pictures, links or videos to your Tweet. It is important to post content that is informative and engaging. The Tweets should have a friendly tone which will help connect the company to their audience.

Another best practice is to keep your tweets short and sweet. With a limit of 140 characters, it is best to keep things simple. According to Buddy Media, you will have a 17% higher engagement rate if you keep your tweets below 100 characters vs. utilizing all 140.

Another suggestion is to time your tweets, especially when it comes to breaking news or live tweets. For everything else however, it will take practice to learn when the content will be best for your audience. To help with this as well, they suggest you tweet often. The basic rule is to tweet three to five times a day. However, this will depend on how your audience reacts. Start out by tweeting a couple of times a day and track the feedback or response and make changes to your frequency of tweets at that time.                                                           

Twitter and Mark Schaefer’s “Tao of Twitter” recommends that you follow things that you are interested in. This can help inspire some of your own ideas. Use the @reply to make communicating between users simple. It also can help lengthen conversations and company mentions. You should also stay trendy. This means keep up with and participate in Twitter trends. It is suggested that as a best practice you should use contests. This is a fun and creative way to increase connections on Twitter.                                                                  

Some additional practices that are of interest, especially when it comes to building brands would include:

  • Know how your customers use Twitter,
  • Determine organizational goals,
  • Build your Twitter equity and credibility (become a trusted source),
  • Track metrics and conversation trends. There are tracking services you can pay for to do this for you. Some examples of those services are Radian6 and Nielsen. It is suggested that you don’t go overboard. The less structure is better; this is similar to a point from above.
  • Companies should listen and observe before engaging. It’s important to know how your customers or audiences are behaving and the company should respond accordingly. In doing so, the reactions or responses should be authentic. The community and customers should believe in what you are saying.                                                                  

After looking and getting an understanding of what the best practices are when it comes to Tweeting, I think we can safely say that the automotive industry does employ these methods. Based on previous discussions, we can reference that Ford is very knowledgeable with social media and they engage their audience, listen to the people, and respond accordingly. They help build and inspire trust in their communications and conversations. Car companies are also tweeting out several times a day, so they are always on follower’s radars and being relevant with the information that they provide. In terms of contests and trying to win followers, car companies do a lot of giveaways or doing promotions on social media. Ford, like many other car companies, will Tweet only 3 to 5 times a day, which was the range for best practice. The company asks for feedback and design recommendations to build a rapport and to be engaged with their customers and followers. Today, Ford tweeted asking for entries to win a spot at Bonnaroo. So not only do they use car or car promotional giveaways, but they work with other supporters as well. This helps drive traffic and conversations, which is all great for the company.


Vehicles – Taking the Brand Social…… Or Not

In the automotive industry – like many industries – there are challenges and risks involved in taking a brand social.


Some of the challenges that the industry would face are choosing the right target market. You need to focus your advertising and marketing dollars to brand your message to the correct market that is more likely to buy from you than other markets. For example, marketing to 20-35 year olds via social media will be a better market than marketing to 60-75 year olds, based purely on the numbers of daily users of social media. By marketing to the correct target market, it is a more efficient and affordable way to market effectively to reach potential clients and generate business. Another challenge is in finding the right social media application to interact with customers. Facebook and Twitter are certainly the heavy hitters but you shouldn’t shy away from using all of the social media applications that are available (LinkedIn, Instagram to name a couple others). Ford Fiesta had an extremely successful social media branding campaign. By lending cars to social media savvy people who shared their experience via photos and updates on social media, a lot of buzz was created and Ford received requests for information about the unveiling of the car to the US market by 50,000 people, who didn’t own a Ford at that point in time. For $5 million, Ford achieved with social media what has traditionally cost auto marketers millions. Fiesta had 60 percent name recognition before it hit US lots. Jim Farley, VP of global marketing, said: “I want customers to tell our story. That’s what digital has shown us,” How to earn cred among consumers.” The costs were substantially less than other campaigns as well; in fact they didn’t spend a dollar on traditional advertising or marketing.

risk_measurement_400_clr_5483-300x300Some risks that folks in the auto industry face when it comes to branding via social media consist of how that company would deal with negative feedback. It is important on how you respond to your critics or problems people have. You should be sure to have all the proper information and respond when you have a resolution or let them know that you’re looking into it and will get back to the as soon as possible. This way you will have an explanation of what went wrong so that you can forge a path forward to make that customers experience better so that they will look favorably upon you. The photo below is an example from GM who was talking directly to people who had been affected by a recall of their vehicle. They managed the situation via social media. This is better than simply replying haphazardly and taking a defensive stance to push the client away and risk further dissatisfaction.

On the General Motors Facebook page, a complaint was answered with an invitation from the company to discuss matters.

Another risk would be taking too long when it comes to solving problems. Other risks include creating public relations issues. This could be caused by many things but an example would be using incorrect information during your social media branding campaign. A security breach by hackers could be a risk that your company faces as well as the potential of offending your audience. A poor taste image or tweet by a company could cause alarm bells to ring amongst your potential marketing base, which could hurt your sales. For example, an outside agency working for Chrysler accidentally tweeted the F-word in a message that stated, “I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to f****** drive.” The company apologized and said its account was “compromised.” The carmaker did not renew its contract with the agency. Theft from competition is also a risk. When a company does something that seems to work, competition will usually follow suit.
As mentioned above, the Ford Fiesta had great success in branding via social media. They took the risk by giving people a chance to review and comment on the car, prior to it being released. If those people had a bad experience and nothing good was said, the release of the car could have been extremely unsuccessful and sales would be low. This is the same risk you take when not branding through social media. The company would be stuck sticking to traditional marketing campaigns which generally cost much more money and could also be hit or miss. An example of that is the Ford Fusion which had much less brand awareness and was much less successful after 2 full years of traditional advertising, which cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars.

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Automotive via Mobile

carscommunicationSocial media in its broad form is really people having conversations on-line. These conversations or interactions can take place in many forms of social media. Those being: Blogs, microblogs, Online Chat, RSS, Social Networks, Message Boards, Wikis, Podcasts, Video Sharing Sites, Photo Sharing Sites, Communities, and Forums.

When looking into the auto industry, one could look at Ford Motor Co., which has moved $1.5 billion of its total $3 billion budget to digital and online media spending. Ford and its Head of Social Media, Scott Monty put a social media strategy in place using multiple Social Media outlets: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube Flickr, and Fiestagram.

Ford also enlisted the help of 100 social media experts who received a European version of the Ford Fiesta 18 months prior to it being manufactured and ready for release in the states. Those people were asked to share their experience with the car over a 6 month timeframe via blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and YouTube Channels.
They didn’t spend $1 on traditional marketing. Some may think that the results of doing this would be very poor. On the contrary, Ford had 11 million Social Networking impressions, 5 million engagements on social networks (People sharing and receiving), 11,000 videos posted, 15,000 tweets, 13,000 photos posted, 50,000 hand raisers who have seen the product in person or on a video who said that they want to know more about the car when it comes out. Of those 50,000, 97% didn’t’ currently drive a Ford. There is 38% awareness by Gen Y about the product, without spending a dollar on traditional advertising. Compare that to the Ford Fusion. The Fusion doesn’t have that kind of awareness after 2 years of being on the market. The other huge difference is that Ford has spent hundreds of millions of dollars in traditional marketing campaigns.
Ford isn’t the only company in the auto industry to turn to Social Media. Honda has a Facebook page. Volkswagen has a community in which they look at pictures, gender, etc. and try to match you up with the right Volkswagen for your needs. Toyota partnered with The Muppets to let the public know their Toyota Highlander has #NoRoomForBoring. Launched around this year’s Super Bowl, the ad campaign featured massive social tie-ins, with related tweets and posts to Instagram from both companies. Car industry folks have said that Facebook is a powerful database that could make the difference of 3-5 cars per month or 25-35 cars per month depending on how you work it and the amount of dedication.

Measuring social media metrics is important for understanding the performance of your respective Pages. Companies can identify business problems and resolve these problems from the valuable insights gained from analytical tools.

When it comes to marketing the brand name for car models, automotive companies have a challenging task. The average consumer’s decision to purchase a car relies heavily on the brand name and reputation – this is hard to measure. However, by properly using social media measurement tools, automotive companies can increase brand awareness, receive product feedback, boost dealership traffic, and more.

Some important Social Media Metrics for the Auto Industry

• Fan Growth: The increase in Fans during a select time range.
• Engagement Rate: The amount of user interactions (Likes, comments and shares) that occur with your Page.
• Response Rate: The percentage of user posts or questions that the admin responded to.
• User Activity: Identifying the times of days and the days of week in which your users are most engaging most frequently with your Page.
• Shareability: The amount of shares a Page receives per day.
• Interactions: The number of interactions that a Page or post receives and the types of interactions (Likes, comments and shares).
• Paid Advertisement Engagement: The number of likes, comments and shares received on a Newsfeed advertisement.
• Paid Advertisement Reach: The number of Facebook newsfeeds that a Facebook advertisement will reach.

Some Business Solutions for Social Media include

• Brand Awareness/Loyalty
• Social Customer Service
• Soft ROI for Increased Dealership Traffic
• Product Feedback
• Event Promotions

In 2013, the car brand with the highest level of brand loyalty was Kia. In a recent study, they boasted that 48% of their buyers this year were returning customers. This statistic is just an example of how important it is to maintain a positive and memorable brand image for automotive manufacturers. With effective social media measurement, automotive brands can effectively raise brand awareness and foster brand loyalty, which ultimately results in increased sales.

Social Media is a powerful tool if used correctly and with new ways of measuring success, I think other industries will start advertising this way or if they already are, increase their presence in social networks to get their names out there to try and drive their products and focus to market. The opportunity is huge.

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