[Socialiteracy Study Notes] Embrace UGC: How Hard Could It Be?!

Posted: March 1, 2012 in BMW Mini, Jeep, Saab, Socialiteracy 101
Tags: , , , , , ,

I am recently doing a study on social media marketing of automotive brands – a sort of continuation of my course project two years ago. I plan to write down my findings and share with you. Hopefully it will stir up the discussion and help me learn more about promoting auto brands on social media.

Are you engaging, or are you broadcasting? This is a serious question we should ask ourselves from time to time when we are promoting brands on social media. Believe or not, it is tricky to lose the ego and the compulsion to perform monologue that “our products are awesome” and instead wisely realize that you can pick up your consumers’ content – which might be even more awesome.

Three auto brands I’ve been studying gave me the inspiration of this topic: Jeep, Saab, and MINI. Generally speaking, these brands are marketing as niche brands. They may not have as many fans as BMW does, but they manage to embrace the power of active fans, which is highly valuable. Here are three tips I learned about how to use user-generated contents (UGC) to boost your Facebook pages:

  • Find UGC

Don’t just wait for fans to post on your walls. Let’s jump into the social media jungle and start a scavenger hunt. For example, Jeep frequently posts great photos or articles about Jeep from individual blogs or independent Jeep forums on their Facebook wall. Here is a great example:

Jeep Facebook Marketing UGC

Jeep Facebook Marketing UGC

This is just a short article from an ordinary Jeep user (Not key opinion leader, not famous blogger, she’s just like you and me), but it generates a great amount of emotional comments. Here Jeep’s Facebook page breaks the wall of one way communication from brand to customers and creates a multi-way communication between brand and customer, customer and customer. Among the 29 official updates from Jeep from Feb 9 to Feb 28, Jeep used 12 user-generated contents. That is more than 40%.

  • Rewrite or Reorganize UGC

How can you creatively use UGC? I learned from Jeep that you can rewrite an excellent copy which blends your brand’s tone and style in it. Check one of the latest posts on Jeep’s wall. Isn’t this simple but also emotionally stimulating?

Jeep Facebook Marketing UGC Example02

Jeep Facebook Marketing UGC example

Another great example from Jeep is to organize UGC for the brand’s own use. Between Feb 13 and Feb 17, Jeep posted 5 borrowed contents and named them as “Adventure Tips”. It’s a great way to add value to these contents and strengthen the tie between the brand and UGC.

  • Facilitate the Creative Process

What if you are not Jeep? What if you don’t have so many “fanatics” who enjoys taking photos, making videos, and writing articles about how they use your products? Well, it doesn’t mean your customers love you less. You just need to find a way to stimulate the process for your fans to generate more content.

Check MINI’s entertaining and highly interactive Facebook tab: MINI Photo Box. It is not that new. All they do is to put a photo box in the street of Berlin and ask people to put on a headphone and take funny snap shots. Your photo may show up on the electronic billboard right above the street. People around the world could also take pictures in front of their computers where there is a virtual headphone in the picture that you can adjust your head into it.

Mini Facebook Marketing Example

Mini Facebook Marketing Example

It is a simple and fun campaign that generated 3,980 pictures and a lot of smiles. Your picture is shown with a MINI in the same color of your headphone, which makes it artistic and creative (just like the MINI brand’s constant style).

Saab’s tab moves a bit further. It asks fans to create their own banner ads to promote the Saab models they love. You just need to choose models of the car and write two lines of texts. Your ad may be even chosen for Saab’s international campaign. When we are talking about how people are blocking “advertising” information, will they block an ad coming from their own friends? Probably not

Saab Facebook Marketing Example

Saab Facebook Marketing Example

What lies behind these social media marketing tactics is actually respecting customers and wanting to build long-term relationships.  Isn’t that the very most important thing for automotive brands? I’d love to hear what you think about this topic.

  1. Jack Pyle says:

    Fascinating stuff, Lexie. Your research is turning up very valuable information. I would like to talk to you about mentoring each other. I am an elder and a PRSA Fellow. You are a beginner with great ambition and talent. I believe we could both benefit from a professional relationship.
    I am learning inbound marketing. And it is working. I had about 375 visits to my website in February, up 75% and need to keep those statistics growing, so I can convert leads into customers.

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