Social-media marketing success is about more than just numbers of followers a brand has on Facebook, Twitter and the like — it's about engagement. What do fans do or not do, say or not say as a result of a brand's prompting via some social medium?
And measured that way, argues the social-marketing company Socialbakers, some brands rise surprisingly to the top. They include Audi, the German luxury-car marque that blew away nine other major brands selected by Socialbakers in a comparison of social-engagement rates. The also-rans included not only Audi rival Mercedes-Benz — which did finish second among the 10 — but also BMW, Taco Bell, Disney, McDonald's, Samsung Mobile USA, Walt Disney World, Skol and Starbucks Frappucino.
"We put a premium on engagement," Joe Quattrone, vice president of M80, Audi's social-marketing agency, confirmed to brandchannel. "We've developed the idea of what kind of content really resonates with fans. We understand what fans and followers want to talk about and we give that to them time and time again."
A Socialbakers representative told VentureBeat that "fan growth, company posts, fan interactions, users' wall posts, and the speed of a company's response determine a company's social success." To come up with its metric, Socialbakers essentially added up the number of reactions (tweets, likes, shares, comments, etc.) per day and divided it by the number of actions a brand took (wall posts, tweets and so on) and then came up with an index.
Audi has two million fewer fans than Mercedes-Benz, Socialbakers said, but generated 15 percent more interaction in June: 700,000 social shares, likes and other actions.
Quattrone cited a couple of reasons for Audi's success in this regard. First, he said, the brand satisfies brand fans' and followers' desire for "stuff they can't see anywhere else," such as photos of vehicles "that they can't get on the blog scene or just perusing Google images. We try to provide that on a consistent basis."
Second, he said, Audi of America tries to avoid filling its social-media channels with fluff such as "just talking about our TV spots and print ads." And third, Quattrone said, M80 has helped Audi succeed on this front because of the long tenure of some of its key players who are interacting every day with Audi brand fans in the social spaces.
Audi's strong engagement philosophy is consistent with its overall brand philosophy: While it is far from the highest-volume luxury make in the U.S. car market at this point, it wanst to be the most intriguing.