Why use social media listening tools for automotive brands?

Listening to customers and potential buyers is nothing new for brands, but for automotive brands it’s especially important now in helping attract online customers; using social media tools for automotive brands is vital in understanding what the audience is looking for online.

Social listening and audience intelligence platforms, such as Pulsar, use online signals, including audience data, Google data and social data, to surface insight that show what people are talking about and how they are talking about it.

As such, it has become pretty standard for automotive brands to use these social media listening tools to assess the effectiveness of their marketing. For instance, you can find out how many people used your hashtag, how many and what type of positive or negative comments were posted and how many people chatted about your brand, products or campaign.

While this is undoubtedly useful, these tools can be used for much, much more.

The automotive marketing toolkit

What’s really exciting about a social media listening tool is that it can offer a much deeper insight into audience profiles and behaviour. “It allows brands and agencies to use the ‘who’ as much as the ‘what’,” explains Jamie Watson, former COO from Pulsar.

With social listening, you can zoom in on who people really are, discovering behavioural information that can inform your marketing plans, allowing you to chime with their needs and feelings.

By doing so, you can check that your carefully curated audience personas actually represent your key audience.

“I think there are a lot of historical conceptions in car brands that are stuck,” says Jamie. “You can use social listening to start breaking all the old myths about who your audience is, what they like and what they do outside of driving their car.”

For example, you can discover if having a large boot really is important for your consumers, whether comfort is as key as practicality and if luxury mod-cons will complement their lifestyle.

Knowing an audience can also be helpful for deciding prosaic things, such as what is the best time to send marketing messages to consumers. This can help automotive brands to tailor their marketing to key moments on a consumer’s discovery and purchase journey.

For instance, Pulsar found that a Saturday morning was the best time to engage people in the ‘exploration’ phase of buying a new car. However, it was a Tuesday lunchtime that proved to be the key moment for booking test drives. Targeting these crucial moments could be instrumental for driving sales.

Says Jamie: “From a consumer’s perspective, you should never be guessing anymore. There’s enough data out there that you should never be clueless about the campaign you are running or the product you are launching.”

Finding the right influencers

Understanding more about who your audience is will also be useful in identifying key influencers, particularly ones who have a strong following in small – but powerful – communities or sub-communities.

Jamie at Pulsar predicts that in the future the most powerful message in the automotive social media community will be from consumers sharing their positive experiences of cars, generating positive word-of-mouth among different communities. This will eventually make automotive marketing appeal to a broader audience and not just a car-focused one.

Find out more about how automotive brands should be working with influencers.

Reasons to innovate

The creative funnel of automotive development is very long, which can make innovation more difficult to achieve. But understanding gaps in the market and ways to fill them can aid understanding and inform future campaigns.

Social media listening tools are ideal for this type of insight as they provide the context for conversations. For instance, chatter about electric cars may not be focused on their environmental impact – it could be on the technology or how the vehicles work. This identifies an education and information gap that a savvy automotive brand could work to fill.

It can also surface new ideas. “I can have a chat with someone and think ‘that’s a great idea!’,” explains Jamie. “It’s similar with online data; you can have five Instagram or Twitter posts telling you something interesting and you can build a whole new idea because of the commonality you find between people’s opinions.”

Our new automotive report

In short, social media listening tools are powerful because they allow us a crucial insight into different communities. These communities can become vocal brand supporters if nurtured in the right way.

We have two automotive reports you may find of interest:
Automotive Marketing
Brand Communities – The Automotive Edit

And listen to our podcast with Jamie Watson from Pulsar.