Toyota has taken a leap from being recognized as a traditional and somewhat boring manufacturing company to a digitally-savvy and -driven brand. They’ve gone from displaying print advertisements to running creative social media campaigns to increase brand awareness and customer acquisition.
Here are three tactics you can learn from Toyota’s social media marketing strategy:
1. Produce short branded-videos
As a part of its 2014 Tundra promotion, Toyota filmed 15-second Instagram videos and pushed them through paid Facebook ads. The concept and execution of the videos were simple, allowing Toyota to reduce major advertising costs while engaging with the target audience. Toyota has also applied this concept for their other vehicles such as Rav4 and 4Runner and the results have been enviable. Toyota has generated over a thousand ‘likes’ for each video and positive sentiment overall – not too shabby for a cost-effective 15-second video.
While you don’t necessarily have to create Instagram videos, you should create short branded-videos to attract your target audience’s attention for two reasons:
- They’re economical. All you have to do is take out your smartphone and you can produce a short 15-second Instagram video.
- They fit better with consumers’ shrinking attention spans. According to The Guardian, consumers today live in a world of “instant gratification and quick fixes” and are less willing to stay on a webpage for too long to learn information. You can adapt to this trend by delivering information in short videos.
2. Perform social media monitoring
Social media monitoring refers to assessing conversations on social platforms to gather valuable customer data.
Toyota has leveraged this marketing research approach to analyze conversations on Facebook and Twitter that contain targeted keywords such as such as “Lexus,” “decide,” “buy,” and “BMW,” This assessment helps Toyota identify active shoppers who are comparing between Toyota and competitors and assess sentiment towards the brand.
Toyota has also utilizes social media monitoring for sales, service, quality, marketing, and product development. For example, Toyota uses this approach to identify features that may have sparked a consumer’s interest in a competitor’s product or issues a customer may have with a newly-purchased car so that they can pass the information to their engineers.
While you may not be able to staff a full-time social media monitoring team like Toyota, you can definitely perform similar work with the help of an intern or part-time staff and a tool such as HootSuite.
You can ask an intern or part-time team member to use HootSuite, a social media dashboard, to track tweets that contain industry-specific keywords such as “automobile,” “cars,” or “sedan.” You can also ask them to monitor conversations that mention competitors’ names such as “Honda,” “KIA,” or “Hyundai.” To do this, go to Hootsuite’s “Add Stream” and “Keywords” functions and specify the keywords you want to monitor.
To learn more about social media marketing, read How to Discover Potential Customers by Using Twitter.
3. Use Pinterest to improve brand appeal
Toyota invests heavily in their Pinterest account to improve their brand appeal. To portray itself as a fun and exciting brand, Toyota often posts photos of their shiny vehicles at motor shows or stylish pictures of Toyota race drivers at race tracks.
This is an approach you can use to help humanize your company, develop emotional appeals for your products, and make your brand seem more approachable without looking too advertisement-like.
To leverage Pinterest to enhance your brand appeal, take photos at community events (i.e. volunteer events or company outings), behind-the-scene activities, or products in use. These images help consumers see the fun side of your brand and deepen their connections with your company.
Toyota’s social media marketing strategy provides insights about the different social media programs large corporations use to increase competitiveness and business performance. While it’s difficult for smaller companies to emulate every strategy corporations like Toyota implement, it’s still beneficial to utilize some of their approaches to either gather customer data or enhance brand appeal. These tactics will help improve your customer service and brand attractiveness so that you can increase your chances of winning sales.
If there are other social marketing strategies you want to share, please tweet and let me know!