General Motors isn’t making the wrong choice by cutting its Facebook ads, they are making the wrong choice by not changing their entire Social Media Strategy. This isnt personal, this is just an analysis of why the 10 million dollar Facebook spend wasn’t generating results.
(I am working on a series of posts which cover growth strategies and correlating Social Media Metrics that serve as more than vanity metrics to address this in more detail.)… I digress
The auto industry, generally, is getting social media wrong for their type of product and their growth engine. Rather than communicating how features are benefits, the auto industry should be thinking lifestyle branding. (I have data that supports this, but I’m not going to give it away at this time)
THE BIG PROBLEM: The auto industry is ignoring “the why”. “The why” is the most important question anyone with a message can ask, there are many whys but “the big why” sounds something like this:
Why are people on this medium?
Its cousin sounds something like this:
Why are people interested in what we have to say on this medium?
Why’s are easy to skip, and they seems silly to ask, but communication teams that are willing to ask these question are miles ahead. Why do people follow General Motors on Facebook? Its not because of an ad that says our trucks are best, its because of a personal connection.
Vehicles are lifestyle brands, a car is a big purchase most people make once every 5 years. The stronger the brands tie to a persons core beliefs the stronger the brand affiliation. Good feelings = long term sales (Does anyone else see content strategy for at least 7 of their vehicles, I do)
Lets look at Chevy Silverado— A GM brand that could easily burn through a Million bucks a month on sponsored stories alone…
So Q1: Why are people on Facebook? -
To connect with people and have fun. (Sorry brands people aren’t on Facebook for you)
Q2: Why do people like Chevy Silverado on Facebook?
This is a little harder but we know its likely males between the ages of 18-34 overwhelmingly in Texas (see image below). People that follow this brand are mostly interested in the truck or own one… Users are would want information to entertain and make their friends laugh, they are hoping for the social benefits (to be first to be the most entertaining). This page should be a bastion of manhood and girls who play by their own rules (AKA the truck market)
Q3: Are they Hitting the mark?
If you go to the Silverado Facebook page, without question they are missing the target. The posts have an almost feminine tone, and appear to lack a consistent strategy. I suggest they ask, “Is this page actually adding any value to people that like it?”
The first one is fine, but, is it really going to get people to engage?… Is it something that falls in line with a lifestyle brand? The post should be re-imagined from the ground up.
A slight change in the copy on the second post would change the tone and be more successful… “Serve, Honor, Protect, hit “Share”and join us in support of Military Appreciation Month.” -With this audience dont say it in 5 words if 3 will do.
GM should be trying to position vehicles as lifestyle brands. Ford is winning the Social battle because they have personality, GM tried to win it by selling direct. This is all said without even getting into the KPI’s that should be guiding budget decisions for media placement. Throwing money at bad strategy says nothing about the networks where the money is being placed ..The lesson GM is teach us, Facebook ads built on bad strategy doesn’t work.
GM I hope this helps. I am not knocking anything other than a style guide and suggesting an adjustment to the positioning of the brand on social media.