In a regular feature I’ll be taking a look at brands from a particular industry to see how they compare with one another on various social media channels.

Last month I wrote about why Ford’s social media strategy is so good, in which I took a look at the 110 year-old car manufacturer and how it’s managed to transform its digital presence through expertly tailoring its content and connecting to each social channel’s audience with authentic engagement and a suitable tone of voice.

Let’s take a look at how other brands compare in the world of automotive social media.


Mini’s NOT NORMAL campaign was a huge success, helping to reestablish its brand identity and connect with audiences as a friendly and innovative brand.

Mini scoured the internet looking for its most loyal brand ambassadors and discovered hundreds of images and videos on social media, that Mini then used for its campaign. 

Followers could upload a creation to its Tumblr hub or by sharing it with #MININOTNORMAL, then within hours could see it on a digital poster or billboard anywhere in the UK.

As reported in The Guardian, within six weeks 230,000 engaged with the campaign via social media. 2,217 pieces of consumer content were shared. 29,420 new fans and followers were recruited. Mini’s Twitter following tripled. 3,853 visitors to the campaign hub went on to look for a new MINI on 11% of which became qualified dealership leads.


BMW runs a fairly standard Facebook page with repeated links, images and reviews from its other social channels. However as David Moth reports in How BMW uses social media the manufacturer achieves quite a stunning amount of engagement from its followers.  

Most of the posts on this page average around 30,000. In one year, BMW has increased its Facebook following from 13.4m to 17.2m with very little engagement from the brand, just a steady strategy of uploading almost daily photo albums or images. It flies in the face of what we regard as how to market a branded Facebook page, but it’s difficult to argue with huge results as these.

Is this purely down to the brand itself? The perceived cultural cache that comes from being seen to be a BMW fan, whether one has one or not. 


Has a similarly uninventive Facebook strategy as BMW, but then doesn’t quite hit the sharing figures that BMW does with its 8.5m fans. 

Taking much more of a risk is Audi’s Instagram page.

Just like Ford, the content isn’t repeated anywhere else. If you want to see cool images of Audi’s cars from its entire history you have to follow this channel.  

However Audi’s current #PaidMyDues campaign is causing a little consternation amongst its followers

The campaign sees Audi promoting its new A3 Sudan by asking followers to tweet, Instagram or Vine their real-life triumphs over adversity, with the most inspiring ones being reinterpreted by a variety of artists during a six hour live event.

The finished works of art were then auctioned off for charity via eBay. A neat idea, but one that seemed to just confuse Instagram followers who were more used to cool pictures of cars rather than portraits of semi-obscure, unrelated artists. 

Although more people had a problem with the hair dangling into the salad rather than anything else. Give your followers what they want.


It’s the world’s first crowdsourced car! 

In a baffling display of trust from the French car brand who’s marketing team clearly hasn’t seen that one episode of The Simpsons, Citroen let its Facebook fans design its forthcoming C1 Connexion.

Matt Owen covered this in his outstanding automotive campaigns post last year, and as he states the results were actually great, with the brand’s social engagement figures exceeding expectations, with over 24,000 different versions of the final car submitted and an extra 15,000 fans joining up for the ride.

The ultimate success of the campaign was the driving of 500 actual car sales. 

There were way more car puns in there than I feel comfortable with. I blame Matt. 


Porsche ran a similar crowdsourcing campaign in 2013 as part of its ‘50 years of Porsche 911’ anniversary. Facebook fans were offered the chance to vote on a variety of different specs for a one-off model.

As a further gamified twist, fans could then enter another Facebook competition to win the chance of driving the unique Porsche 911 at Silverstone.

The initial post resulted in 16,000 likes and 1,200 comments deciding the colour of the car. A further ‘making of’ gallery achieved 53,000 likes. 


In my quest to find a car manufacturer that equals Ford for entertainment and innovation on Vine, I have found a worthy opponent… Toyota.

It helps that its running a particularly charming overall campaign with The Muppets, but Vine is a great place to see some exclusive content. 

There are also some great little retro ads marrying old Toyota’s with their relative era’s dance styles… 

Not to mention some sneaky glimpses into the future.

Vine is a fantastic channel for any brand wishing to offer a mix of lo-fi innovation, humanising behind the scenes footage and engaging hilarity. Brands could do a lot worse than following Ford and Toyota’s lead.

Christopher Ratcliff

Published 27 May, 2014 by Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff is the editor of Methods Unsound. He was the Deputy Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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Comments (4)


Joe Armstrong

How about the Nissan Leaf Q&A project?

To get owners and consumers to talk amongst themselves about its Leaf electric car, Nissan has launched a new Q&A Web site, "Real Owners. Real Questions," where visitors can ask questions about the car and get algorithmically filtered comments from owners. The automaker says the timing is tied to its celebration earlier this year of having sold the 100,000th Leaf.

about 4 years ago


Kirsty Cooke

MINI is just such a good example of conveying brand 'personality' through social media.

I know dealer groups are never as impressive as automotive brands on social media, but the recent AutoTrader award for Social Media went to Arnold Clark dealer group - you should check them out for good content and a fresh approach.

Disclaimer: I used to work there! ;)


about 4 years ago


Jaames cook

I agree Kirsty, but one in particular really stands out. (I'm an automotive journalist) Perrys motors facebook page has a prolific following and engagement. - more fans than Vauxhall I think - and they also have over a million views on

Other good ones to look at are Mercedes Benz retail group and be field group.

about 4 years ago



Thank you for this wonderful post.

Car brands case studies in soc media are my favourites. They tested the playing field, adjusted their marketing budgets (30%), and went right in.

I show these examples to my prospects ALL the time. Now, I got some more material in one place!

in Canadian Rockies

about 4 years ago

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