As more and more companies capitalize on the reach of social media and harness the power of social networks, auto firms like Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai and Tata Motors are also making efforts to tap customers on Facebook and Twitter. Here is a look at the anatomy of the Maruti Ritz social media marketing imitative on Facebook and Twitter.
Targeting Young Consumers
As India is growing and offering jobs requirements are being met across industries and verticals, the number of people in their early to mid twenties buying cars and homes is also growing. In a bid to tap younger customers companies are willing to more than double their spending to market products through sites like Facebook and Twitter.
That is probably why auto majors in India like Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai and Tata Motors, the top three players are firing on all cylinders to tap the potential of social media, a critical move for the future. Considering the fact that the age of users of social media and social networks falls that’s where all the action is in terms of interacting, exchanging views and seeking feedback.
People Are Researching and Seeking Information on Their own
Earlier the source of information for a buying decision for vehicles such as two wheelers and cars used to be friends and family. Not any more, with internet penetration, longer working hours and little time to talk to friends and family more people are seeking information themselves. The easiest and the most convenient means for them to do this via social media where information and opinions are freely available, more often without even asking!
As per a recent report ‘e-Marketing Outlook in India for 2012’ by Octane Marketing, last year there was a big chunk of first time car buyers who sought information on the Internet and social media pages before making a purchase decision. The report predicts that there would be 18 per cent increase this year in the number of Indian marketers, who see the importance of integrating e-mail and social media campaigns.
Liquid and Linked
No marketer who really wants to make a mark and connect with a wider audience today has a choice about whether or not he wants to use social media. To target your customers you have to be where they are and if they are online then that’s where you have to be.
With a large number of buyers of Maruti Suzuki India coming from small towns and villages the customer profile of the company is changing. That put together with greater ownership of smart phones and increasing internet penetration across India, being on social media is an important move for the company per se.
With the clean lines and slick design of the Ritz, it is an aspirational brand for people beyond Indian metros. Engaging with customers through social media marketing, answering their queries on social networking sites and seeking feedback the company has widened its net beyond metros to small towns.
Big Returns on Investment
Realizing the reach and power of social media Maruti Suzuki has doubled its spending on social media to Rs 16 crore this year as against Rs 8 crore last year. The hike in spending hasn’t come just like that. Among their models, Ritz has the highest following on Facebook with 5.5 lakh followers whereas the Alto has 4 lakh followers besides seeking feedback from customers for new product development such as interiors of the new Swift. With It and Where the Competition Is Brands these days need to be cool and trendy particularly if they are targeting younger consumers. As such social media presence contributes towards building an image which is “with it”, hip and happening. In times when product launches are orchestrated with social media campaigns, Maruti Suzuki has taken its “Moment of the Day Campaign” to the web because that’s where its consumers and competitors are. Hyundai and Tata Motors, two among the three top auto players (aside from Maruti Suzuki) are using social media too. Probably another reason to have a social media campaign…the competition has it too!
The Power of Images
“A picture can speak a thousand words” and that is exactly what the Ritz campaign has used to its advantage…the power of images. By running the “pick your moment of the day” series on a daily basis the company asks people to vote for their image of the day. Posting three images daily, the idea is to use topical advertising while involving people.
Contest Brownie Points
Contests are all the rage and Ritz had its “Perfect Couple Contest” which asked participants to talk about how much they mean to their partners and win diamonds (yes not a car which would have been too predictable!!!!) worth Rs. 2 lakhs.
To sign off here’s an insight in to the behavior of people on social networks, the 90-9-1 Principle popularized by Jakob Nielsen says:
• 1% of users are Creators who are actively creating content,
• 9% are Editors who are commenting and adding to content that already exists, and
• 90% are Audience or Lurkers. They are watching and consuming content.
The principle indicates that by fostering a conversation with 10% of the audience, you are building value for the remaining 90%. That’s what the Ritz social media marketing initiative is working towards.