Community

Share your automotive expertise

2 Write a Blog Post

Filed in: Marketing

AutoNation: How they generated 36,000 page views on Facebook

By Liz Presson on Sep 22, 2010

 

Social media is the dissemination of information through social interaction. The emphasis being on social, and not media. In a world where the line between offline and online is often blurred, social networks are the main hub for online social interaction.

As with any medium, there is a point where businesses and marketers will attempt to harness the medium to spread product or brand awareness, but with social media, efforts have often followed the same traditional routes of mass media channels like TV, radio or press. Social media is anything but traditional, as is the social media generation.

AN_casestudy_goso-1.jpg picture by drivingsales
 
This younger generation knows all of the advertising tricks. They have an ability to tune out advertising to a degree not seen in prior generations.

What’s a company to do to reach these customers? Those detached from the future, the less forward thinking of corporate executives assume social media is a passing fad that won’t bring the same return as their tried and true advertising mediums.

Then there are the innovators in the industry that know this just isn’t true. People like Gary Marcotte, Senior VP of eCommerce for AutoNation, who have accurately gauged the importance of a social media strategy at the dealer level.

Marcotte’s social media philosophy is to connect, entertain, inform, share ideas, and show everyone that AutoNation is the kind of company they can trust. If people can trust them, they will do business with them.

“Gary Marcotte is for automotive marketing, what Steve Jobs is to technology,” said Adam Boalt, President of GOSO.

GOSO, an automotive social media management company, has been working with AutoNation to create social media promotions that embody AutoNation’s philosophy of building trust and being the un-dealer.

Promotions have included an extension of Ford’ Fiesta Movement. 36 AutoNation Facebook pages were equipped with a custom tab for which all of the Fiesta Movement team feeds were piped into, making it easy for AutoNation fans to check in on their local team or just to see what was happening in their hometown.
 
AN_casestudy_goso_2-1.jpg picture by drivingsales

AutoNation’s next campaign was a little bigger and a little bolder. To celebrate the upcoming release of the Nissan LEAF, the first mass-produced electric car with zero emissions, AutoNation decided to go one step further and plant a tree for everyone that visited and liked their Facebook page. All new and existing fans were given the option of four locations around the world in which they could plant their tree: Haiti, Brazil, India or The Philippines. AutoNation committed to planting up to 50,000 trees.
 
AN_casestudy_goso_3-1.jpg picture by drivingsales
 
AutoNation’s next task was finding a way to reward current and future customers, while simultaneously showing them that they were AutoNation. So Mosaic was created.

The campaign was simple. Over the course of 30 days, give 300 gift cards from a multitude of national retail outlets, none of which were automotive related, to people that visited the Mosaic URL.

Visitors to Mosaic would log in through either their Facebook or Twitter accounts. Then a timer would count down to zero and the first person to click the GET IT button would win the gift card for that giveaway. After that their photo would appear on the page as part of a winner’s photo mosaic of the AutoNation logo. This happened ten times a day for thirty days.

AutoNation then personally called each winner to confirm their address, and to talk with them about their car buying experiences. After conversations with each of the 300 winners, AutoNation discovered a lot about the buyer’s perceptions in relation to buying a car and what they could do to improve the experience.

The burning question is, how will any of this drive sales?

Although the goal was to build trust and relationships, the future sales potential is very much there. Between Facebook wall posts and conversations with winners, dozens openly said the next time they bought it a car it would be from AutoNation.

One winner said, “I’m impressed with AutoNation. I feel like they’ve created a community through engagement and I plan to buy my next car from them in the next year or two.”

Another said they had planned on buying a car at one of AutoNation’s competitors, but after the personal touches from the campaign they were going to check out AutoNation instead.

From the inception of Mosaic on June 21st to the end on July 20th, there were over 36,000 page views. AutoNation Facebook likes increased by 44.7%, with an increase of 76.1% in Facebook interactions as compared to the previous month.

Mosaic was met with trepidation at first. What’s the ROI of an endeavor like this?
Unlike traditional marketing, social media isn’t about measuring of ROI. It’s about building trust and interacting with customers.

Mosaic was a huge success because AutoNation had personal conversations with 300 potential customers. They discovered who they were. One winner had said they were going to use their gift card on a date night with her boyfriend. So AutoNation wrote in the card, “Enjoy your date night!”

Conversations like those have limitless possibilities for future sales because when the buying cycle comes back around, customers will remember AutoNation for going the extra mile to connect with them.

You must be logged in to comment

Login Create an account

Add your comments:

   

Liz Presson's Recent Posts

Related Posts

  • 5 Ways SEO Writing is Backfiring on Your Website

    Navigating SEO is a DrivingSales.com exclusive series by Timothy Martell, CEO of Wikimotive. In this series, Tim breaks down ways dealers can improve their SEO and offers insight into how it will benefit business.   Interest in automotive SEO content is likely at an all-time high thanks to increasing digital marketing budgets and the need to rank for high-value keywords that create a constant stream of leads.   Unfortunately, all of the wonderful benefits of SEO that you've heard from myself and other industry professionals come with risks if not properly executed. Here are a few of the ways SEO writing can backfire and hurt your website:     Thin Content Leaves You Vulnerable to Google Updates   Over the past few years, Google has been fighting to change content standards on the web for the better. One of the biggest ways they're doing this is through updates that target websites with "thin" content.   What is thin content? It's content that lacks substance. ...Read post

  • Don't Drive Social Media on Empty

    Build a Facebook Page, setup a Twitter account, create a YouTube channel, and make a LinkedIn profile. These (along with several other sites) are the things that businesses (small and large) are told they should do to start their social media marketing – and they do. Somewhere along the way though, companies missed the essence of social media.Read post

  • High Cost-Per-Click

    In the pay-per-click world, value is derived from how inexpensively a lead can be acquired.  Many times, a low cost-per-click combined with a high conversion rate can indicate a winning formula.  However, sometimes it can seem like a campaign is averaging a high cost-per-click.   There are many factors that affect this cost, but the two easiest to understand and control are competition and quality score. Competition refers to how many other advertisers in a similar industry are bidding on the same keywords.  If an advertiser is experiencing a high cost-per-click on a particular keyword, all other things being equal, it could be an issue of the keyword being very popular among local advertisers.  If a keyword search yields a ton of ads on the SERP (search engine results page), then it is obvious that there are many others bidding on the same terms, driving the cost up.  At this point, the advertiser should consider if it is worth it to pay the high cost-per-click.   If the ROI d...Read post

  • Does Live Chat Generate Leads?

    “Did you know that 95% of the average dealership’s site visitors will defect from their website ?” asks Brad Title, CEO and Co-Founder of Gubagoo. There are many factors that could make your traffic abandon your dealer’s website, one is  the lack of engagement, meaningful information and relevant offers among others. The fact is that capturing the voice of the customer is more difficult with the web, but itcan be done, and reality is that you can’t fix it if you can’t see it. Here are some tools to get you started: Google Analytics: is a free tool from Google, it helps you track your website visitors giving you detailed statistics, where they came from and which links they clicked on. Live Chat: Live chat can allow you to hear from visitors who wouldn’t call you, most people prefer live chat because is convenient (sometimes the customer is at a public place or at work and don’t want to be heard but they can chat from they’re phone, it also provides customer...Read post

  • Your Dealership's Website: Improve, Add To, or Replace?

    It's great to be out of the website business. After a decade of working for dealership website providers, I now have the freedom to tell the story like it really is. There are certain truths about dealership websites that dealers need to know. The first important point is that almost all dealer websites are either underutilized or incapable of being utilized at a high level. Here on DrivingSales the readership is more aware of this than the general dealership body, but even the people reading this article now have a good chance of falling into this category. Most websites should be improved, added to, or replaced. Let's look at the three options, but first let's discuss why this is the case. Universal Problems Here is a brief list off the top of my head of problems that dealers face with their websites. Yours might not have all of these problems, but chances are very strong that you have at least some of these deficiencies. Boilerplate Content - There's very little a website co...Read post

  • Buyer Intent

    Often, dealerships wonder why ad agencies don't buy generic search terms related to their models.  Honda dealers want to know why they aren't showing up for one-word searches such as "Civic" or "used Honda".  The reason is actually quite simple: it all comes down to buyer intent. If an automotive dealer wants to buy one-word search terms, they should realize that they will be capturing visitors that may not be ready to make a purchase just yet.  In most cases, given a limited budget, a better solution is to avoid using these terms and instead focus on purchasing deep funnel long tail terms that signify clear buyer intent.  This is also known as Zero Moment retail. For example, someone looking for a car might search ‘used car’ in Google.  In this case, the shopper doesn’t know what he wants, other than that he wants to buy a used car.  At this point, he is most likely researching what is available rather than settling on a particular vehicle to purchase - he has what is ca...Read post

  • Passive Intent - A Thought Technology I Learned from Warby Parker

    Passive Intent a phrase you wont find anywhere. Because for the most part it's somewhat contradictory. However the intention of being passive seems like an idea that we probably could all get behind.Read post

  • Should Dealers Target Everybody or a Selection of Buyers with their Advertising?

    At first glance, it's an easy question with an instant answer. Car dealers want to target everyone within driving distance with their message. As Ripley said in Aliens, "It's the only way to be sure." Upon closer examination, problems start to pop up. Even if we assume that "everybody" is actually a large portion of the audience (since you can't reach everybody from a literal sense), there are still holes in the strategy. Those who have extremely large marketing budgets could do it, but even then they really shouldn't. Here's why: At any given moment at most 3% of the adult driving population is in or near the market for buying one of your vehicles and that's if you have a very popular brand. For many brands it's under 1%. Reaching all of them requires large mass-media buys and a shotgun approach. Based upon diminishing returns, the second $10,000 can be less effective than the first, the third $10,000 will be less effective than the second... etc. Targeting is getting much, much...Read post