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Home » industry research

Social media engagement: which brands lead the way?

Submitted by on May 1, 2012 – 8:06 amNo Comment

Engagement is the new currency for social marketing effectiveness, particularly for brands who are seeing renewed life on their Facebook fan pages ever since the new Timeline was introduced earlier this year. A new study out this week looks at which industry sectors are getting the most mileage (there’s one hint) out of their social engagement strategy.

The most engaging industry, as measured by Socialbakers, is… yes, automotive. Interestingly, the auto brands that are seeing the highest level of engagement – as measured by interactions on the brand’s Facebook page – are not the top-selling autos. They are luxury brands: BMW, Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Audi (in the top four, in that order), which probably means a lot of people are commenting there who are not customers; they’re wannabe’s.  They are seeing an impressive surge in engagement, again since Facebook introduced the new Timeline.

Before we get into why automotive is doing so well, let’s take a look at how the other sectors stack up:

Interestingly, the spirits industry, despite all the general marketing restrictions placed upon them by regulators, is also doing surprisingly well, engagement-wise. At the low end is telecoms, a surprise considering digital and social is such a hotbed for techy conversation.

Back to autos… why are they doing so well? The auto brands are good story-tellers. They produce some of the best creative, and their products hold immense interest for the public. Always have. (If only an FMCG marketer, pushing a brand of cleaning product or stock cooking cubes, had it so easy). But that’s not all. Auto brands do a better job of getting the consumer involved. Just think what Ford has done with the Focus, and, more recently, Chevrolet’s multi-channel effort around the Super Bowl this year.

Much of the sector’s success comes down to the way it views the calendar year. Auto makers are news-makers. They launch new models at the same point every year and have a slow build-up to the public launch with a series of auto shows, held around the world. They do a masterful job of keeping the public up-to-date.

Here’s a few pointers that we have then to boost social engagement with strong editorial. This is partly inspired by the new research here, and it’s a riff off our Think Like an Editor courses that we run.

1) Sketch out a year-long editorial plan that involves a calendar of events and actual reporting around the big dates in your manufacturing/marketing cycle.

2) Garbage-in-garbage-out. Don’t post rehashed press releases on your Timeline. Show clever creative!

3) Get your fans involved. Giving your fans a platform to share. It builds interest, loyalty.

4) Inspire your fans to think big. This is a collaborative effort. Get their input.

5) Show off your tech chops. This is a digital savvy forum. You have to walk the walk and talk the talk here.

6) Highlight the local flavor of your base. Brand pages are really global forums, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect the local differences of your fan base. Highlighting your activities in another part of the world will deliver the message of an all-inclusive community.

7) Celebrate your heritage. Fans are nostalgic by nature. They want to know more about your history.

8) Entertain them. This is an extension of Number 7. You have a treasure trove of old ads, for example. Dust them off and post them!

Editor’s Note: Join us on June 12 at Social Media Influence 2012 for in-depth discussion into the social media strategies that are working for today’s biggest brands. We’ll hear from Unilever, Google, GE, London 2012, Conde Nast and many others.

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