Cutting through the noise in today’s media-saturated market can be a Herculean feat, even for today’s most respected automotive brands. As audiences continue to migrate toward digital platforms and mobile apps, marketing on Instagram (whether through brand channels or by collaborating with top Instagrammers) offers auto brands an effective and succinct way to reach today’s consumers. The marked success of top auto brands marketing on Instagram including Mercedes-Benz (their “Take The Wheel” campaign garnered 87 million Instagram impressions and over 2 million likes), and BMW illustrates just how effective brand sponsored posts can be for automakers. In a recent study, digital intelligence firm L2 discovered that engagement for auto brands was highest on Instagram.
Across the top auto brands on Instagram, Mercedes and BMW dominate (while BMW leads with 5.7 million avid followers on Instagram, Mercedes owns the top 20 list with multiple branded channels) though a host of competing brands are vying for top spots. Many of these auto brands including Jaguar, Maserati, Toyota, and Chevrolet are tapping into what Forbes describes as “the passion behind cars” and complimentary lifestyles espoused by top Instagrammers.
With increasingly more companies leveraging high brand engagement rates on Instagram, auto manufacturers who don’t capitalize on Instagram marketing risk being left behind by consumers who now spend prodigious amounts of time of social media channels (Bloomberg). According to eMarketer, the United States automotive industry alone spent $7.30 billion on digital advertising in 2015, a figure which is predicted to exceed $12 billion by 2019. By investing in partnerships with key social media influencers on Instagram, auto brands can amplify their brand message and capture the attention of Instagram’s 400 million users.
Instagram also offers automakers a viable way to promote their brand within specialized niches – something broad television advertisements fail to do. Top Instagrammers oftentimes build their social channels by creating content centered upon niche interests (e.g. autos, tech, fashion, food). By targeting Instagrammers who already integrate automotive or related niche interest into their lifestyles and aspirational content, car brands can maximize relevancy and brand messaging with each Instagrammers’ audience. Because cars are already considered lifestyle products, automotive brands can assuredly target engaged and receptive audiences on popular social media channels.
For more information on how to find Instagram influencers, check out our steps and processes here.
One of the most powerful ways to market a brand is to tell a story, and top Instagrammers are exceedingly accomplished at showcasing cars through captivating photos and short video clips. By integrating the sponsoring auto brand into traveling posts, adventure photos, or by attending auto-related events, social media influencers add a personal dimension to products and help their followers experience the brand in a unique, fresh, and engaging way.
Inviting social media influencers to attend (and blog, vlog) exciting events is one of the best ways that brands can leverage the reach of Instagrammers, YouTubers, and Viners. Auto shows, new model launches, and exclusive tours make for great Instagram photo and sharing opportunities, and followers typically reward “exclusive” or “behind-the-scenes” content with high engagement. To promote their new GT model and increase brand awareness amongst Instagram’s 400 million active users, Ford invited many of today’s top Instagrammers to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
With an Instagram audience of 2.6 million followers, Vine star Jerry Purpdrink Ford’s sponsored post at the North American International Auto Show earned over 67K likes on Instagram.
Posted up next to the new @Ford GT with the squad. @NAIASDetroit #FordNAIAS #TalkWithFord #ad A photo posted by Vincent Marcus (@vincentmarcus) on
Another Viner with a substantial Instagram following, Vincent Marcus gives his audience of over 140k an exclusive look at Ford’s new GT.
Developing a campaign around events with niche audiences is also an effective way for automakers to define brand identity and target markets that already embrace the company’s ethos. For Jeep, partnering with World Surf League was an adroit choice, and the brand leveraged key Instagram adventure enthusiasts and branded hashtag #JeepWSL to showcase their redesigned Jeep Renegade.
Partnering with professional surfer Keanu Asing was an ideal way for Jeep to increase brand awareness among Asing’s 21.5k engaged followers. As part of their partnership with the World Surf League, Jeep awarded the winners of the surf competition with a new Jeep Renegade.
In their latest Instagram marketing campaign, Jaguar collaborated with top fashion bloggers and Instagrammers to promote the Jaguar XE, the company’s new sports sedan. Like Jaguar, many luxury auto brands like Mercedes and BMW have enjoyed success when collaborating alongside Instagrammers to target niche demographics that embrace a particular lifestyle.
New vlog just went up on my channel ! Thanks again @jaguarusa for helping me move in the new #XE ! Also how amazing is my guy @dylannord at taking photos? ??? #ad A photo posted by Claire Marshall (@heyclaire) on
Lifestyle blogger Claire Marshall creatively promotes Jaguar’s new XE model for her 645k followers. This post was one of many posts that Jaguar sponsored to target the audiences of top fashion Instagrammers.
As one of Vine’s top channels, Liane V also boasts an impressive multi-platform audience on Instagram with over 2 million followers. Many brands are now realizing the importance of reaching audiences across multiple touchpoints via cross-platform marketing. As such, savvy marketers are partnering with digital influencers to create original storylines and custom content that’s both platform specific and integrates well across multiple social channels.
See how BMW’s latest Instagram marketing campaign also integrated influencer-generated content across YouTube, blogs, and Facebook here.