German automakers like BMW and Audi aren’t shy about tooting their own horn when it comes to Facebook followers. BMW has long lead the pack and currently lists almost seven million fans on the “social network”.
But Facebook isn’t the only social media in town and increasingly Twitter is attracting new users. Here’s it’s not the Germans that lead the way, though Audi has a strong presence with 174,000 followers. Nor is it mainstream automakers with companies like Chevrolet, Toyota and Ford tallying 46,000; 69,000 and 95,000 followers respectively. Rather, the automaker most active in the 140 character or less format is luxury brand Lexus, with over 288,000 followers.
To find out why that is, AutoGuide spoke with Lexus Prestige Communications Manager, Nancy Hubbell. “Lexus is committed to engaging with our fans,” she says. “We tweet regularly, respond to tweets and do things like trivia contests and live tweets from special events.”
Experts will tell you the key to success in social media is interaction. A one-way stream of information won’t do much for your brand. “Perhaps the most important thing that happens through Twitter is that we solve any customer issues that may arise,” says Hubbell, who explains that Lexus has a dedicated team of customer service reps who’s job it is to track down problems and solve them. “Lexus believes in exceeding customers’ expectations and, to do that, we need to be where they are,” continues Hubbell, “Now, more than even, that’s on social media sites.”
Easily the most original of Lexus’ social media activities is tied into a more face-to-face social interaction program where Lexus hosts a dinner party at a customer’s house. “Lexus’ Coventant says we will treat each customer as a guest in our home,” Says Hubbell. “With these dinners we treat customers as guests in THEIR homes.” Lexus brings in a “top-notch chef” and all the party requirements, and just asks that the individual takes care of inviting the guests. Lexus General Manager Mark Templin acts as host and Hubbell comes along, live-tweeting the evening – with discussion often revolving around Lexus products, or cars in general. Hubbell starts the online portion of the evening with a “Bon Appetweet” tweet, “then I relay the conversation at the dinner and reply to people who tweet back, so we get an online conversation going.”