As consumers there aren’t many products we buy that we end up forming relationships with. Appliances work all day and all night but are only ever noticed when they stop working. A similar thing could be said for mobile phones and computers, although those are increasingly becoming an extension of our bodies.
Our cars are different. Car manufacturers realise this, and that is why social media marketing (SMM) is their best tool for engaging with both their current and potential customers. SMM is a two-way street allowing both the company and the consumer to engage with each other openly, and that works perfectly when you consider what it is those companies produce.
When a car leaves a dealership for the first time and arrives back at the home of its owner it immediately begins to form a relationship with the owner. A car becomes part of a family, or a partner to a single person.
It takes people on holiday, it carries the sick or injured to places where they can be treated, it goes and gets food with you from the supermarket. If you start to think about this on a deeper and scarier level; you wash it, you help it get better when it is not working, and you even feed it at a special ‘fuel station’. In some ways, a car becomes an almost living member of your family. You cannot say that about any of your mobile phones or microwaves.
Manufacturers know this and so they use SMM very effectively by engaging with their audience, advertising their new products while also sharing the stories and experiences of those who already own their products.
This is something nobody else can do, and manufacturers should exploit this as much as possible. I’ve seen the effects of it first-hand on the ever popular Twitter. Nissan seem to be particularly good at it, finding equilibrium where the future and current products of the brand are broadcast side by side with the ownership stories and experience of current Nissan drivers. Followers are delighted when their car gets featured by the official account of the manufacturer. In a way, it’s a little recognition for their partner or member of the family. Could that even be interpreted as pride from the outside?
Whatever it may be, it doesn’t change the fact that SMM is by far and away the most effective way for car manufacturers to get in touch with their audience. I predict we’ll see more and more user generated content being used by the manufacturers in the future, which is good from the car enthusiasts’ point of view. We’ll be able to engage and participate more in campaigns and that in turn will allow us to feel closer to the manufacturers. I believe this strategy stands for both the marques we drive, and the marques we aspire to drive.
Obviously SMM goes far deeper and reaches far wider than what you have read in my article today, but I hope I’ve made the basic concept clear and transparent enough to understand. SMM for car manufacturers is a gentle weapon that when used correctly and accurately can be almost magnetic in bringing existing and future customers closer to their brand. So, if you own a car that you love or you aspire to own a certain marque, get out onto the social media outlets and engage with those manufacturers’ accounts and share your experiences.
In the future they will increasingly be using our own thoughts and experiences of their products to sell their new and existing products, which means right now is definitely the time to introduce yourself and join in the conversations.