I recently came across an article from PR Daily about how Nissan approaches their social media strategy. On the heels of General Motors taking a step back from their Facebook advertising campaign, it was refreshing to learn that another large car brand is taking a completely different approach to their social media presence that focuses completely on the interaction they have with their fans and followers, not their direct ROI.
With any business, especially the automotive industry, it’s very easy to get caught up with numbers. Even if you aren’t spending actual dollars on social media advertising or paying someone to handle it for you, time is money. It is easy to loose sight of how important your social media interactions are. As a business owner, you’re probably tied up working on building relationships with the customers walking in your door and spending their money.
Nissan maintains a pretty modest social media budget of $500,000 per year (modest in major car brand numbers). Ehrich Marx, Nissan’s director of interactive and social media marketing considers their strategy, “responsible” and “reasonable,” and remains aware of what he calls their “COI,” or Cost Of Ignoring, rather than dumping large dollar amounts into grabbing attention of potential social media leads with tons of ads.
In fact, Marx says that Nissan’s philosophy on social media is geared more towards “interaction, not transaction,” with the knowledge that connecting sales numbers to social media interactions may not always be as transparent and easy to report on as you’d like it to be.
Social Media is About Building Relationships With Your Fans
This really hit home. Working in the digital marketing industry for three years, I observed and handled social media strategies for a wide array of businesses and organizations and personally have fallen victim to numbers and ROI. Our obsession with numbers and needing to know whether fans are leads that are converting into sales or not takes away the fun (yes, fun) of connecting with your current and potential customers on a personal level, which in the past was not NEARLY as easy and accessible as it is now. With all of the social media we could ever want right at our fingertips, the potential to connect with new customers is limitless!
I am not saying that using paid advertising through social media is a bad idea by any means, or that you shouldn’t be benchmarking your overall strategy and keeping tabs on your growth (because you really, really should). What I am saying, is try to focus less on specific numbers and more on actually building the solid, personal relationships that are what keep businesses… well, in business.
Instead of always crunching numbers, take some time to:
- Go through your businesses’ news feed and connect with other local companies and shops to gain visibility.
- Thank fans who left nice comments on your timeline or Twitter or whatever platform you’re using and offer them something in return, even if it is just a kind word.
- Run a fun contest or fundraiser that will draw attention in a number of positive ways and get people talking.
- Think about what would make YOU want to connect with a business page and run with it!
In a nutshell, utilize social media the way it was meant to be utilized – connect with your fans and be SOCIAL! Also, remember to have fun. If you’re having fun, chances are your fans are having fun, and they are telling their friends about all of the fun they’re having, and that’s where the connections are made that turn fans into loyal followers and customers (i.e. brand ambassadors). Be the brand that people search for in their news feeds and get excited for when they see a new contest, promotion or update.
For some inspiration, visit Nissan’s Facebook page – their strategy and latest campaign is really innovative and interesting to stay up-to-date with! You can also see how PCG uses social media to connect with our clients and others in our industry by visiting our Facebook. Here’s the link: http://www.facebook.com/PCGDigitalMarketing.