Why Nissan is Winning on Social Media

May 5, 2016

Written by NewsWhip

Which car brand is getting social media all revved up? How Nissan is leading the way on Facebook through a passionate and engaged community.

Facebook is quickly positioning themselves as the global hub for customer service. And that includes the auto industry, especially as 38% of consumers say they will look at social media before their next car purchase.
Brands with higher positive social media engagement will get more favorably viewed than those with little interaction. Social signals indicate a genuine interest and positive reputation among consumers.
This in mind, we took a look at the Facebook engagement of the biggest automobile brands from January 1st through April 30th of this year. Below, the five most-engaging brands.
auto brands spring 2016
The clear winner here is Nissan, by a long shot. The Japanese auto brand has driven more than double the amount of likes and comments than any other auto brand we analyzed.
As we saw with the Chicago Cubs too, Nissan is only the fifth most-liked car brand on Facebook, with 15.7 million fans. Compare that to Volkswagen (25.9 million), and Mercedes Benz (20 million).
So what’s Nissan’s secret recipe? Using data from NewsWhip Analytics, we took a look at the formats Nissan is using on Facebook. 
Nissan content format
Despite video being king this year, photos made up the majority of Nissan’s Facebook content at 68.4%. The other formats were broken down as follows: 19.9% video, 6.1% gifs, 4.5% external links, and 1.1% Facebook event pages.
Out of the videos produced by Nissan’s official Facebook page during this time period, only one was a Facebook Live video, and one was a Facebook 360 video.  
Nissan content types
Looking at the actual content Nissan produced, we found that it fell into a few categories. A sampling showed us that 53.8% of the 50 highest engaging posts were photos sourced from Nissan fans.
Behind that, 23.1% was content that hyped upcoming Nissan vehicles, and the remainder came from external reviews, contests, awe-inspiring posts, and holiday-related content.
Let’s dive into their winning content tactics.

User-Generated Content

Sourcing content from followers lets brands show appreciation of their fans’ passion. Plus, car enthusiasts are extreme in their zealousness. The photos that Nissan fans take are amazing, high-quality visuals that show off the beauty of the cars.
[fb_pe url=”https://www.facebook.com/nissanusa/photos/a.248600560374.306071.238312155374/10156751376305375/” bottom=”30″]
Using content from fans is a great way to boost natural engagement. It lets a brand showcase quality content that they didn’t have to produce themselves. It also creates a sense of community where the fans feel a personal connection to the brand and what they themselves produced.
There becomes this cycle of content, where more fans are emboldened to share their auto photos, eager to be chosen and spotlighted by Nissan. It’s not a brand simply preaching content at their followers, but a collaborative process.

Active Community Managers

More to that collaborative aspect of Nissan, the community managers of Nissan are extremely responsive, and not just on their English-speaking pages. They are quick to answer followers about any concerns, as well as interact on a genuine and personable level with their audience. Where followers are a little sassy, they’re often sassy right back.
Nissan community manager
This level of openness creates an environment where Nissan’s fans feel that they’re being heard. It promotes higher trust and credibility in Nissan. 

A Big Global Presence

As mentioned above, Nissan doesn’t ignore its other global channels. Though they use different Facebook pages for their other regional markets, they nonetheless keep up a steady stream of content.
[fb_pe url=”https://www.facebook.com/nissanbrasil/videos/1117648011602251/” bottom=”30″]
This video on Nissan’s Brazil Facebook page tells a story, instead of just promoting something to buy
Using regional Facebook pages gives Nissan the ability to customize local content around what’s relevant to that market’s culture. Content can shift to reflect local tastes. Posts can be created for important days and seasonal trends in that region.
Applying a local strategy to a global brand lets Nissan create a deeper, lasting impact and reach more people . Try NewsWhip Spike to find the regional content that is getting your audience’s attention.

Teasing New Cars

Nearly a quarter of Nissan’s top engaging content came from showing sneak peeks of new automobiles. The visuals showed off the latest and greatest in Nissan’s product line, which drove huge reactions from their devoted fanbase. 
[fb_pe url=”https://www.facebook.com/nissanusa/photos/a.248600560374.306071.238312155374/10156371959490375/” bottom=”30″]
Posts like this get people hyped. The top comments on many of these buzz-building posts were from consumers eager to know more about when they would be available—information so new that the community managers often didn’t have answers for the yearning fans.

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Millennial Speak

Over 40% of car purchases over the next several years will be made by Millennials. With the upper end of Millennials now into their mid-30s, it makes sense that auto brands like Nissan are trying to reach them.
Some of the fan photos that Nissan has posted have used recent pop culture colloquialisms, such as “Bye Felicia”, along with ones popularized by DJ Khaled of Snapchat fame, like “Another One” and “Major Key”.
[fb_pe url=”https://www.facebook.com/nissanusa/photos/a.248600560374.306071.238312155374/10156566730075375/” bottom=”30″]
The success here is that it sounds organic from Nissan. However a brand speaks should be in sync with their overall image and message. It’s hard to imagine Rolls-Royce speaking in such a way on social platforms.
Beyond that, Nissan also uses gifs to connect with the digital audience, which to whom, is just another dialect like emoji.

Other Brands with Notable Successes

As we saw in our last post on auto brands, Subaru has an highly engaged network on social media, especially Reddit. In our latest rankings, they were the fifth highest ranking in Facebook shares, despite ranking 11th overall.
[fb_pe url=”https://www.facebook.com/astonmartin/videos/10153666897433355/” bottom=”30″]
Facebook Live continues to get bigger and bigger, bringing a spike in comments and actively engaged users to brands. Aston Martin has seen half of their comments this year come from a single Facebook Live video stream. It’s also the most-commented auto video of the year so far on Facebook.
Many other car brands, like Mercedes-Benz and Lamborghini, have also successfully paired exclusive content with Facebook Live video.

What to Remember Before Hitting The Social Road

As social media for brands becomes ever more important, there are a few lessons we can take away from Nissan’s Facebook strategy. Here’s a few tips:

  • Interact with your fans and speak to them on a personable level
  • Highlight their dedication and passion, and repurpose the content they create
  • Show off the stunning visuals around your brand
  • Stir up fan excitement by showing off what’s to come

Beyond these tactics, it’s important to keep a pulse on what’s happening in the industry on social media.
Why? Knowing what’s getting your audience excited gives you the ability to create compelling content. For a look at what’s trending, and how your own content is doing, there’s NewsWhip Spike.
new spike auto
A 12 hour look into Spike shows us the auto articles around the web that are catching buzz on social platforms. Brands can stay aware of trends and industry news before they go viral, and craft content that people are excited to read and share.  

What’s hot right now for auto brands?
Take a free trial of Spike to see the content that has car fans buzzing


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