IS SOCIAL MEDIA DEAD?
From the beginnings of COVID-19, there were plenty of reports that stated social media consumption was on the rise.
Without the daily grind, consumer’s habits shifted almost overnight. Consumers suddenly had more time to be thumbing through social media, connecting with friends, and of course shopping online.
Social media is alive.
Done correctly, social media will reward your brand with fans. Fans is short for “fanatics”, look it up. You want fans because they help promote your brand organically (for free) by sharing your content. Fan promoted content also influences others to follow your brand (more free benefits). The more success you have with fans promoting your content and organically growing your fan base, the less need there is to pay for ads and boosted links (saving you money).
So, what is happening with social media in automotive?
Among automotive brands, fan base growth has slowed across multiple social media channels and in some cases, brand fan bases are shrinking.
Among automotive brands in the US with an Instagram page, the last big growth in fan base was more than one year ago. In March 2019, automotive brands in the U.S. added a total of nearly 3.5 million Instagram fans in a single month, an increase of 3.3%, pushing their collective fan base to more than 110 million at the time.
Now in August 2020, automotive brands in the U.S. with an Instagram account had one of their weakest months of fan growth since our tracking began. Automotive brands in the U.S. added only 667,000 Instagram fans in August, growing the total fan base from 146.5 million to 147.1 million, an increase of just 0.46%. Not great considering social media is alive and well.
Brands such as Ford and Toyota have been steadily adding fans in large numbers to their Instagram following month-over-month in 2020. While other brands like Kia and Hyundai have had limited growth so far this year, adding an average of 1,500 and 1,100 Instagram fans per month (respectively). Alternately, BMW U.S. Instagram fan base has been shrinking steadily since November 2019, declining an average of 12,500 fans per month.
Brands that are successful with Instagram are consistently posting engaging content, along with relevant hashtags. For those that really want to up their Instagram game, use Instagram stories and go live on Instagram.
Facebook may be showing its age based on the numbers and limited growth. Automotive brands in the U.S. added a collective 109,000* fans in August 2020, a mere 0.1% increase from July. Some brands appear to struggle in growing their Facebook fan base or perhaps have just given up on it altogether, while other brands are still enjoying growth.
Among those growing on Facebook include Honda U.S. adding 172,000 fans year to date. Hyundai adding 152,000 fans YTD, Lexus adding 130,000 fans YTD, Jeep adding 120,000 fans YTD, and Porsche adding 109,000 fans YTD.
Facebook is still the 800-pound gorilla of social media platforms, so posting consistently to your page helps keep it fresh and when consumers come to your page, it gives them reason to engage and follow your brand page.
As video content becomes the norm on Social Media, YouTube may be the one social media platform that automotive marketers recognize as their next opportunity for significant consumer engagement.
In a world where one single individual with a mobile device can record, edit, and post video content to earn a following of 10 million fans, we have to wonder why one of the world’s largest brands, Ford U.S., has only been able to grow a YouTube following of 2.1 million fans. Now, before you react, that is a significant accomplishment for Ford, considering the number two brand is Lamborghini with 1.5 million fans, followed by Tesla with 1.4 million fans.
Compared to one of my favorite YouTubers, The Stradman with 2.7 million fans, the point becomes clear, that automotive marketers did not get the memo about how to maximize YouTube as a platform. You could argue that YouTube was not part of your Marketing 101 class in college. However, the bigger issue is how automotive brands can engage more consumers on YouTube starting today.
Here are some suggestions on how brands can be more successful on YouTube, 1. Frequently post engaging content. 2. Watch other YouTubers and add an ounce of creativity to your content. 3. Sponsor product placements with popular YouTubers that align with your brand values.
Consumers follow your brand on social media for a reason. Here is the reason: consumers really do like your brand, they like your brand so much that they want to know more about your brand, they want to be the first to know. Whether you post content to your brand page once a month, once a week, or every other day is up to you.
If you want the magic number on just how often you should be posting content to social media, DM me and find out.
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We track brands across multiple countries, measuring everything from brand health to social media metrics. Our expertise includes market research, strategic planning, and industry knowledge to help your brand succeed.
*brands on Facebook with global accounts are fan-base adjusted for reporting purposes.