Maybe it’s because people are so passionate about their cars. Maybe it’s because automotive brands are great storytellers. Or maybe it’s because car shoppers rely on social media before making a purchase decision. Whatever the reasons, the auto industry has seen great success fueling consumer engagement by launching digital marketing campaigns that put social media audiences in the driver’s seat.
Here are a few of the best automotive social media campaigns:
- Chevrolet creatively tapped into social media influencers to introduce its Chevrolet Trax. Each influencer was given an itinerary to explore venues that were off-the-beaten-path (in their brand new crossover vehicle, of course) and share their experiences in real-time on the major social networks.
- Hyundai hacked Instagram to help car buyers find their perfect match. The digital campaign tapped into the appeal of social media lifestyle quizzes and used an amazing execution of the “Tag” feature to lead consumers to their ideal Hyundai SUV.
- Nissan put social listening into action when it discovered an aspiring filmmaker selling a 1996 Maxima on Craigslist. The automaker struck viral gold — and turned the seller into a highly influential advocate — by purchasing the car and building a creative campaign around the story.
And the innovation doesn’t stop at automakers. The industry’s biggest auto shows are creatively integrating social media content and insights to make live events more interactive. Case in point: this week’s North American International Auto Show, where NAIAS forged a partnership with Twitter to help attendees tap into the pulse of the show. Twitter placed several Cheetah Experiences-powered “buzz boards” throughout the event showcasing top tweets and conversations around #NAIAS, identifying key influencers, and surfacing relevant content around trending cars and topics.
So what can the auto industry teach us about effective social integration? The number one lesson may be that speed is crucial. Many marketers recognize the challenge of capitalizing on real-time moments as they occur. But to act fast, you have to prepare. By strategically planning campaigns that use real-time social content, brands can do more than engage audiences — they can activate influencers.
Another important lesson is that integration is key. The best automotive social media campaigns succeed precisely because they’re more than social media campaigns. They’re complete brand experiences built around today’s social consumers and popular digital platforms, and they couldn’t exist in any other way. It’s not about showcasing a car’s unique features, it’s about letting consumers drive the experience and inspiring them to tell the story in a completely unique way.
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