THE ROADMAPWHY THE VISUAL WEB IS PERFECT
FOR AUTO BRANDS
CAR CONTENT WHATS WORKING ON INSTAGRAM AND PINTEREST,
WHAT ISNT, AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT
DRIVING THE CONVERSATION ADDING CONTEXT TO YOUR CONTENT WITH
HASHTAGS AND PIN DESCRIPTIONS
CROSSING THE FINISH LINEESTABLISHING, MEASURING AND ACHIEVING
YOUR GOALS ON THE VISUAL WEB
Heres a stat that might surprise you: every one of the brands behind the top 10 selling cars of 2013 has an Instagram account. This is because in addition to being the perfect 21st century car
showrooms, visual networks like Pinterest and Instagram offer auto brands higher levels of audience engagement than any other social platform. For automakers, engagement means sales, as a study by
PricewaterhouseCoopers revealed that up to 15 percent of social leads result in test drives, and that only 67 social leads are needed to sell a car.
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Its easy to understand why car brands do so well on these networks; they are visual, mood-elevating, aspirational and inspirational, and those exact same adjectives also describe cars. Cars arent just a method of transportation; they are portals to a broader world, members of the family, objects of desire, and stunning works of art.
In short, cars are a major passion for a lot of people. And passion is what Pinterest and Instagram are all about; these networks are unique in that users follow others and consume content primarily based on interests, not personal relationships. The car brands that are seeing the most success on Instagram and Pinteresttap into those passions with powerful visual storytelling, using images of theircars to engage the huge community of gearheads on these networks.
Instagram in particular seems to be tailor made for auto brands. Auto marketers have identified Instagram as an especially effective tool for reaching younger audiences, and in 2014 carmakers grew their audiences on the network by an average of 152 percent. After Instagram, Pinterest generates the second highest level of engagement for car brands, outstripping legacy networks like Facebook and Twitter.
INSTAGRAMMERS LOVE COOL CARS, EXOTIC TRAVEL, AND
CELEBRITIES; ASTON MARTIN CAPTURED ALL THREE WITH THIS POST OF THEIR LEGENDARY DB5,
WHICH STARRED IN SEVERAL JAMES BOND FILMS
IN 2014 CARMAKERS GREW THEIR INSTAGRAM AUDIENCES BY AN AVERAGE OF 152 PERCENT
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Luxury marques like Audi, Bugatti and BMW, who regularly post beautiful pictures of their gorgeous cars in action shots
and exotic locations, do very well on the platform. In fact, BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Lamborghini and Porsche are the
top 5 most popular car makers on Instagram, which should hardly be surprising considering sports cars make for
pretty spectacular eye candy.
Instagram has become a go-to destination for car enthusiasts to find content, a digital car show where automakers showcase their latest models,
tuners display their wildest creations, aftermarket part companies hawk their wares, and automotive
photography takes center stage.
A LAMBORGHINI PARKED NEXT TO A GORGEOUS BEACH. WHATS NOT TO LIKE? (MORE THAN 20,000 PEOPLE AGREE)
VOLKSWAGEN HAS AN ENTIRE DRIVER OF THE WEEK SERIES DEDICATED TO SHARING COMPELLING, EMOTION-DRIVEN STORIES OF
PEOPLES EXPERIENCES WITH THEIR VWS
Luxury marques arent the only ones enjoying huge success on Instagram; Volkswagen, for example, eschews the glitz and glam of the supercar stables and instead uses their account to showcase their fans passion for their cars.
Volkswagen is a perfect example of a car brand using Instagram for what its best at: forming emotional bonds between your brand and and your audience. Instagram is a conversation-driven community that gives brands the opportunity to share their values, passions, and ethos. Marketing on Instagram is about becoming a conversation leader, and you have to be careful about how you highlight your products. Volkswagen features their products in all of their Instagram posts, but they dont focus on them. This is because they recognize that the more you try to hard sell, the more Instagram audiences will shy away and become disengaged.
VOLKSWAGEN HAS AN ENTIRE DRIVER OF THE WEEK SERIES DEDICATED
TO SHARING COMPELLING, EMOTION-DRIVEN STORIES OF PEOPLES EXPERIENCES WITH THEIR VWS
VOLKSWAGEN DOES A GREAT JOB OF SHOWCASING THE EMOTIONAL
BOND BETWEEN PEOPLE AND THEIR CARS, AND ARE REWARDED
WITH EXCEPTIONAL LEVELS OF ENGAGEMENT-PER-POST
Audi is another brand that clearly recognizes this principle. Of course, they post beautiful
pictures of their cars. But what they dont do is announce promotions, holiday deals or sales on Instagram. Instead, the majority of Audis images on Instagram have a very human
feel; while there are some professional shots of exotic cars in fantastic locales, the majority
look like they were taken on phones, by everyday people. This is because many of Audis Instagram posts were taken by their
Showcasing User-Generated Content is a great move, as it keeps those users (and others
hoping to get recognized) coming back for more. That strategy has paid huge dividends
for Audi; by maintaining this human feel and highlighting UGC, they have been able to drive extraordinary levels of engagement to their profile. In fact, according to one study,
Audi has the highest engagement level of any car brand, and even outperform brands like
MTV and Starbucks, which have much larger audiences on the platform.
YOU DONT HAVE TO SHOW PICTURES SUPERCARS TO DRIVE SERIOUS ENGAGEMENT ON INSTAGRAM; COMPARED TO AN R8, AUDIS A3 HATCHBACK MIGHT SEEM DOWNRIGHT HUMBLE. BUT PAIR IT WITH A BEAUTIFUL SUNSET THAT ONE OF
YOUR FANS CAPTURED, AND YOU HAVE THE KEYS TO A GEARHEADS HEART
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Auto brands shouldnt try and use Instagram as a megaphone to talk to everyone; they should use it to have intimate conversations
with their fans. Thats what makes brands like Audi and Volkswagen exceptional. Rather than simply throwing a filter on a picture of their latest model, they make sure their posts are relevant, informative and entertaining. And thats the perfect recipe for
getting your content discovered on Instagram.
VOLVO DOES A FANTASTIC JOB OF USING INSTAGRAM TO SHARE SPECIFIC REASONS TO LOVE AND APPRECIATE THEIR CARS, WHICH CAN RESONATE IN USERS MINDS WHEN THEYRE MAKING PURCHASING DECISIONS. FOR EXAMPLE, THEIR VOLVO SAVED MY LIFE POSTS GIVE GRAPHIC EVIDENCE OF THE LEGENDARY SAFETY OF THEIR VEHICLES, AND THE USER COMMENTS REFLECT THE SENTIMENTS THAT SUCH POSTS CAN EVOKE, OFFERING POWERFUL SOCIAL ENDORSEMENTS OF THEIR BRAND.
THE KEY TAKEAWAY IS THAT ALMOST ALL AUTO BRANDS ARE ON
INSTAGRAM. TO STAND OUT, YOUR CONTENT HAS TO BE UNIQUE AND, MORE IMPORTANTLY, VALUABLE TO
YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE.
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Some auto brands are witnessing huge results from Pinterest; for example, Aston Martin is killing it. They have more than 200,000 followers, almost double their audience on Instagram. BMW and Audi each have more than a million followers on Instagram, but Pinterest is a much different story. BMW doesnt even have a profile, while Audis two official accounts (one international, one for the U.S.A) combined barely break 2,000 followers.
Some might chalk this discrepancy up to a mistaken perception of Pinterests user demographics, but the truth is that Pinterest is one of the few platforms where automakers can enjoy relative parity male and female engagement, which is just one of the many advantages offered by Pinterest. Pinterest an extraordinarily powerful e-commerce engine, and interactions on the network are overwhelmingly positive; people generally Pin things that they love and want to buy, collect the available options, and make their purchasing decisions. A Pin on Pinterest can be viewed as a de-facto endorsement of your products, so even if you dont sell your cars online the fact that people are interacting with your content on Pinterest is a great indicator that they intend to do something about it. That said, success on Pinterest comes from adopting content strategies specific to that network.
COMPARED TO INSTAGRAM, PINTEREST IS RELATIVELY NEW GROUND FOR AUTOMAKERS, AND MANY ARE STILL IN THE EARLY STAGES OF ADOPTING IT.
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Our research shows that for auto brands, images that feature cars generate the most engagement. While this might not be a surprise, its important to realize that
while a human feel works great for car images on Instagram, Pinterest users favor more professional images of cars that typically do not feature people. This is because on Pinterest, people want to imagine themselves interacting with these products, rather than someone else. So while a picture of a car with its driver out in the real world might perform well on Instagram, a better strategy for Pinterest
would be to show that car in more of a showroom style setting.
A PERFECT EXAMPLE: THE FOLLOWING IMAGES OF HONDAS ACCORD. BOTH OF THESE IMAGES COME FROM THEIR OFFICIAL ACCOUNTS, BUT WHILE THE INSTAGRAM PICTURE IS NATURAL, HUMAN, AND EMOTIONAL IN NATURE, THE PINTEREST IMAGE IS FAR
MORE ARTISTIC AND PRODUCT FOCUSED.
THESE IMAGES ARE OF THE SAME CAR, BUT THE PRESENTATION,
AND MORE IMPORTANTLY
THE RESULTS, ARE DRAMATICALLY DIFFERENT. THE KEY TAKEAWAY IS THAT THE IMAGE
OF THE CAR ALONE GENERATED 14 REPINS, WHILE THE IMAGE WITH PEOPLE ONLY GENERATED 1.
Another example would be the following two images of Hondas CR-V, both taken from the same Board.
THIS IMAGE PERFECTLY ILLUSTRATES THE
POWER OF PINTEREST AS A NETWORK FOR GETTING
YOUR PRODUCTS DISCOVERED BY A
WHEN STRATEGIZING FOR PINTEREST CONTENT, AUTOMOTIVE BRANDS SHOULD REMEMBER THE
TWO THINGS THAT PINTEREST IS BEST FOR: INSPIRATION AND DISCOVERY
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When it comes to great content for discovery of auto products, lets go back to Aston Martin. Its obvious that they have put a lot of time, energy and thought
into crafting their boards and choosing images that will perform on Pinterest. They have a board dedicated to their cars in weddings, and boards for each model of
car in their lineup.
This is another key advantage of Pinterest for car makers; on Instagram, all the images of your different makes and models are usually hosted under the same account. Pinterest on the other hand allows you to use boards as specific marketing channels for individual
types of cars.
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The second piece of the Pinterest puzzle is curating inspirational content. Diversity is key for a well-rounded, engaging Pinterest profile, and you can be pretty open with what kind of content you post to your profile. This means auto brands dont have to only feature images of cars, but should include content that appeals to Pinners in general. Ideas could include gas saving tips, car care ideas, or roadtrip recipes.
Even if these lifestyle Pins dont generate as much engagement as product images on a per-Pin basis, including them broadens your reach and establishes your brand as a destination for people to draw inspiration from.
AUTOZONE HAS GREAT EXAMPLES OF CAR-RELATED CONTENT THAT APPEALS TO
BROAD PINTEREST AUDIENCES, NOT JUST AVID AUTO FANS
Generally, showing cars on Instagram with a human feel, is more effective than standard catalog images, and these types of images generate the most engagement.
Based on a study of hundreds of Pins, our research shows that its best to show cars without people in the picture on Pinterest.
For inspiration on photo creatives, keep an eye on what other popular brands are doing and take that into consideration for your own content. Pay attention to lighting, angles, stages and setting; if its working for them, itll probably work for you.
Auto brands are part of one of the most active content categories on the Visual Web. People will naturally be discussing and posting about their cars, and while this can be a great thing its essential
to engage with and participate in these conversations in the right way.
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These conversations are built around hashtags, but a lot of auto brands dont capitalize on the potential of a good hashtag strategy. In fact, our research shows that 73% of brands dont follow best hashtag practices. By opting out, these brands are
missing a massive opportunity to engage in, and moreimportantly lead these conversations.
WITH MORE THAN 200M REGISTERED USERS,
INSTAGRAM IS A MAJOR CONVERSATION HUB WHERE
PEOPLE ARE ACTIVELY HAVING CONVERSATIONS ABOUT YOUR
BMW DOES A GREAT JOB HARNESSING HASHTAGS WITH THEIR INSTAGRAM POSTS
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You definitely want to know how your brand is fitting into these conversations, and engage in them whenever possible. There are two ways to monitor brand mentions:
So how can you best harness hashtags? For starters, add seven hashtags to each of your posts; doing so can lead to 23% more likes. A good mix would be your brands name, a hashtag that your brand creates, and 3-5 community hashtags. Just beware that adding more than seven hashtags leads to a dramatic downturn in the number of likes, as people can view that as spam.
PIQORAS DASHBOARD ALLOWS YOU TO TRACK HASHTAG METRICS
SUCH AS UNIQUE USERS, POTENTIAL IMPRESSIONS, PHOTOS POSTED TO HASHTAGS, LIKES, AND COMMENTS
1. BY TRACKING how Instagram users are tagging your brand in ongoing, natural conversations Pay attention to the tone of these conversations, and apply these analyses into your own Instagram strategy.
2. BY ANALYZING the conversations around hashtags related to your brand, whether these are official hashtags or those that are tangentially related. Download our Instagram Hashtag Report for more information.
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After someone looks at your Pin itself, the second thing will they look at will usually be the description. Having
a detailed, well written description of your products will make it easy for people to Pin from your site, and will have a huge payoff when they do. This is because your description will form not only the Pins description on
Pinterest, but also that images keywords for search results.
Finally, its important to remember that more than 90% of Pins originate from a website, not from a Pinterest profile.
This makes optimizing your website for Pinterest very important, so check out our Marketers Guide to Pinterest
Website Optimization, which is packed with simplesteps to drive huge increases in referral traffic.
ON PINTEREST, CONTEXT IS CREATED
THROUGH PIN DESCRIPTIONS
YOU MIGHT HAVE ONLY A FEW SECONDS TO ATTRACT A PINNERS ATTENTION. BY SIMPLY ADDING A PHRASE,
YOU CAN IMMEDIATELY GIVE THE CONTEXT FOR...