The Top Auto Brands on Social

Published on Mar 23rd, 2016

by Jack Weinstein

Dodge emerged in 2015 as the top U.S. mass-market automotive brand on social media and it has kept accelerating this year.

Through March 15, Dodge generated 5.2 million social actions (likes, comments, shares and retweets) on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Dodge led all mass-market auto brands with more than 3.1 million actions on Instagram, which accounted for 60% of its engagement. Dodge also published more content than the other auto brands with 635 posts on the three social platforms, 80% more than the average of the Top 10.

Dodge’s social engagement increased 373% compared with the same time period last year when it generated 1.1 million actions. It finished 2015 with more than 12.3 million actions, 29% more than second-place Jeep with 9.6 million. At its current pace, Dodge could more than double last year's engagement total by the end of 2016.

After Dodge and Jeep, Ford, Nissan and Subaru rounded out the top five in 2015. T hrough the first 2 ½ months of the year, Nissan jumped into second and Ram Trucks entered the top five.

(The ranking includes engagement for U.S.-based social pages for each brand, regardless of where the manufacturer is located.)

Auto Brands Excel on Instagram

Dodge’s 11 most-engaged Instagram posts through March 15 are contributed by users , a popular content strategy among auto brands. And each of those posts includes a photo of a Dodge Challenger that was submitted by its owner.

While Dodge generated the most engagement on Instagram, Ford had the largest share of its actions on the photo-sharing platform at 95%. It also generated the most actions per post with more than 18,200, more than double the Top 10 average of 8,300. And Ford posted the four most-engaged Instagram posts among the auto brands.

Ford’s most-engaged post included a call to action, asking its audience to like and comment to be eligible for “surprises.”

A video posted by Ford Motor Company (@ford) on Feb 14, 2016 at 10:40am PST

Ford also uses Instagram to introduce new models , including its trucks and sports cars . The brand also employs user-generated content for a weekly feature, #MustangMonday .

Auto Brands Embrace Social Video

Engagement from social video increased 111% for all brands and publishers last year. Count auto brands among those finding success posting video content.

Three brands in the Top 10 generated more than half of their Facebook engagement from videos.

Hyundai led the way. Only 39% of its posts were videos, but they generated 90% of its more than 357,000 Facebook actions. Hyundai’s top post (and the top overall mass-market auto Facebook post) was its Super Bowl commercial featuring Kevin Hart , which generated more than 200,000 actions. The post includes a YouTube video that can be played in Facebook or opened in YouTube, where it captured more than 15,000,000 views.

Ford also generated much of its Facebook engagement (82%) from video, but only had 61,000 actions on the platform. Seven of its 10 most-engaged posts are video and introduce models or new features .

Subaru also generated more than half of its Facebook engagement from video. Subaru only posted videos 17% of the time, but that content generated 54% of its engagement.

Its most-engaged video featured the Barkleys, a family of dogs who appear in posts as part of the #DogApproved campaign. Subaru’s most-engaged post generated more than 60,000 actions and had 1.8 million views.

While video content is becoming more common, photos still rule for auto brands. Nissan led the auto brands with nearly 2.4 million Facebook actions through March 15. It’s two most-engaged posts include photos introducing new models and links to NIssan’s pressroom. Many of its other posts are user generated .

Six of the Top 10 auto brands generated at least 70% of their Facebook engagement from photos.

Auto Brands Find Value in Partnerships

Toyota teamed up with BuzzFeed to produce a video for Facebook that generated more than 5,600 actions. The video, which includes Toyota’s “Let’s Go Places” slogan, features an adventure theme with three couples who challenge their partners to re-create each other’s family recipes. But before they cook, they drive to the grocery store in a Toyota Rav4 to buy ingredients.

The video, which was posted to the BuzzFeed Partner page, generated 600% more engagement than the average Toyota video this year through March 15. Toyota generated an average of 800 actions on 22 videos during that time period. The video also captured more than 1 million views.

BuzzFeed Food also published a Toyota-sponsored post . It’s another example of BuzzFeed using its vast audience to generate engagement for brands.

Other auto brands have found value in co-branded partnerships.

Jeep has been featured in posts by the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers and Cleveland Cavaliers .

Chevrolet has also leveraged much larger professional sports audiences with its NFL and MLB partnerships. Chevy has given away its cars to recent MVPs of the Super Bowl and World Series , which were featured on Facebook.

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