Can social media actually influence people to buy cars? I have always wondered if it was possible for a social media platform to drive someone to actually purchase a car. As an avid Instagram user, I can say that I follow a few car companies like Mercedes-Benz and Audi. I have a genuine interest in their cars and by following them on Instagram I can see new models, features, and other relevant information about their cars. While I may never have the money to purchase one of their cars, a wealthy man or woman who does may actually become influenced into purchasing one of their cars solely based on the automakers social media efforts to promote their cars. This is even truer due to a recent study that has shown that Twitter marketing has driven $716 million in car sales!
The study was conducted by a company called MarketShare, a marketing analytics company that has partnerships with global brands like Twitter. MarketShare measured the direct and indirect effects that Twitter had on auto sales for around 20 volume midsize and luxury compact cars that made up for 34% of annual U.S. sales in 2013. The study concluded that Twitter drove this immense amount of sales through positive brand mentions, Twitter ads, and the Twitter activity of the automakers themselves. So how often are these companies relaying the message about their cars? It is estimated that automakers push out over 65,000 daily tweets about purchasing or researching a new car. The beauty of this effort is that only people who want to follow these companies choose to follow them or not follow them. So, automakers can push out relevant content to people who are actually interested in buying one of their cars. Audi showed a great example of this when they teamed with the show “Pretty Little Liars” to help the launch of their low priced A3 model. Audi used various efforts like running ads between commercials and then giving followers clues to what would happen in the next episode of the show. The effort drew hundreds of thousands of interested followers into participating and resulted in 487 million social impressions on Twitter, Snapchat, and Facebook! This campaign shows how immense an online presence can be in digital age of marketing.
Acura was another company who embraced Twitter to attract new customers. Acura was the first auto brand to use an in-tweet configuration tool for a vehicle. The tool allowed followers to build their own TLX sedan within a tweet. The brilliant marketing effort by Acura led to extremely high engagement and sharing output. This effort was so successful that Acura plans to use it again and many other companies will most likely adopt the same strategy in the near future.
The new rules of marketing are clearly evident in the fact that companies are utilizing various social media platforms to drive sales. None of these campaigns were ever possible before social media. Companies are becoming ever more creative as they shape and re-shape their strategies to effectively reach their target audience through digital campaigns.