Most Engaging Car Brands on Twitter

It’s easy to find car brands on Twitter, but which of those car brands is the most engaging? In other words, which car brands are using Twitter the right way to build relationships with consumers that can ultimately lead to word-of-mouth marketing and sales? Social marketing and analytics provider Visibli released a study that answers those questions by ranking Twitter engagement of the big five auto manufacturers.

hondaAccording to the Visibli research, Honda is far ahead of its top competitors in terms of Twitter engagement. The report says that’s because Honda targets the right followers (45% are interested in auto-related news), and Honda tweets content that its audience likes. 96% of Honda’s tweets are auto-related.

One might think this intense focus on a single topic could get boring, but according to Honda’s rankings in this report, that’s not the case. Honda receives 3.45 retweets per 10,000 followers. That’s over 36% higher than the 2.20 retweets per 10,000 followers that the number 2 brand on the list, Dodge, gets. Here’s how the top five automakers rank in terms of average retweets per 10,000 followers:

  1. Honda = 3.45 retweets per 10,000 followers
  2. Dodge = 2.20 retweets per 10,000 followers
  3. Chevrolet = 1.95 retweets per 10,000 followers
  4. Toyota = 1.76 retweets per 10,000 followers
  5. Ford = 0.51 retweets per 10,000 followers

As mentioned above, Honda tweets the kind of content its followers want and like to share. Other auto brands have more followers than Honda has, but Honda gets more exposure on a per capita basis than its top competitors do. For example, only 26% of Ford’s Twitter followers are interested in automotive-related content, but 67% of the brand’s tweets (that’s 2 out of 3 tweets) are auto-related. Another 31% of Ford’s tweets are related to technology.

What Can Brands Learn from the Most Engaging Car Brands on Twitter?

dodge challenger 1970When you look at the results of this study, they’re not actually that surprising. Common sense tells you that a person who follows a car brand on Twitter expects to see automotive-related content in that brand’s Twitter feed. It doesn’t necessarily matter if they identify themselves as being interested in automotive content or not, that’s probably what they expect to get.

With that in mind, a better research question would be to ask them what kind of content they expect to get from these auto brands on Twitter. If the brand doesn’t deliver on those expectations, it fails, and the results of this study certainly support that fundamental rule of branding.

According to the Visibli study, 35% of Chevrolet’s followers claim to be interested in automotive-related content. Only 50% of Chevrolet’s tweets are auto-related (1 out of 2 tweets). 34% of Chevrolet’s tweets are about sports and another 9% are about “other” topics (not technology). Unless there is a direct connection between Chevrolet and sports (for example, a team, sport, or event sponsorship), Chevrolet is missing an opportunity to connect with followers in 1 out of 3 tweets.

Social media experts will tell you that a diverse Twitter stream will keep followers engaged, and that’s true to a point. However, diversity of content shouldn’t trump audience expectations. The majority of tweets should be related in some way to consumer expectations for the brand or consumers get confused and turn away from the brand.

I’ve talked about confusion as the number one brand killer on the AYTM blog before, and it applies to tweets, too. Remember, consistency, persistence, and restraint are the 3 fundamental steps of brand building. Those rules shouldn’t be forgotten because you’re tweeting for your brand instead of writing an ad, direct mail piece, or other custom-facing communication.

Images: Flickr, Tomasz Wagner

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Susan Gunelius
Susan Gunelius, MBA is a 25-year marketing and branding expert and Marketing Communications Director for AYTM.com. She is the author of 10 books about marketing, branding and social media, and her marketing-related articles appear on top media websites such as Entrepreneur.com and Forbes.com.