‘Show don’t tell’ is the ethos driving Audi’s social media endeavours into 2016 as the car brand backs Instagram to help it break the mould with visual content.
The German marque has spent the last year creating a visual identity for its digital marketing in the UK. And while “visual storytelling” is nothing new, there are concerns that not enough budget is being allocated to establish greater operational rigour around how assets like photos and videos work together to communicate the brand story.
“We’ve spent a lot of time looking at our visuals and actually it's one area to watch this space from Audi UK because we’ve got some exciting plans for the end of the year,” said Emma Page, digital communications manager at Audi. "It’s not just about posting something and tacking a picture; we put a lot of craftsmanship into all our posts. For me it’s all about the visual identity of the brand. Images speak a thousands words and that’s the mindset we need to take on for all our work in social media.”
Consequently, it’s brought Instagram into Audi’s view. The photo-sharing app sits alongside Facebook and Twitter as the brand’s core social networks in the UK, with it implementing its own best practice guidelines that helped it get on the beta tests for the Carousel ads that launched last month. However, Page believes it is the platform’s potential for organic reach rather than paid ads that will prove most potent as more spend moves to it. It is part of the reason We Are Social was brought on board earlier this year.
There’s a mixture of super car fans and “people who just love the brand” on Instagram, said Page and so currently it’s assessing how each post performs to steer what it should be communicating. Elsewhere, tests on Snapchat and Twitter’s livestreaming service Periscope are also planned for next year.
Audi’s also looking to make use of the advanced targeting options social networks are offering, working with Mediacom to develop sequential targeting of its posts. "For social in the business, we’ve now defined it as a hybrid of customer-facing social with marketing but also customer centric responses for customer care,” said Page.
“As social media stars to talk the language of the business and hit the bigger, wider business objectives then it’s a natural progression for Audi to allow social to have more dominance in our marketing mix.”
Eventually Page expects progression on social media’s return on investment. It’s an area giving the brand food for thought after it was able to sell one of its S1 sports models and an R8 super car on social media. Car makers are racing to catch-up to the connected consumer, with many more mindful now at how digital communities are influencing decisions at different stages of the path to purchase.
“It’s no secret that it’s an exciting tim to be in the automotive business,” added Page. “The vision of being able to buy a car online is getting closer. We’re selling cars through great customer care [online]. We’re not selling it (them?) through a click to buy link on Twitter. It comes down to us being able to engage with potential buyers early on and service them in the best way we can through social.”