Disclosure: Even though I mention it in the first sentence of this post, I want to be very clear that Servco Pacific is a client and hired me to cover the event. Everything in this post are my true and honest observations, otherwise I may just have published a photo gallery of cool cars! Instead, I share with you a mini-case study of sorts.
For the second year in a row I was contracted by Servco Pacific to provide media coverage via social networks and media publishing tools during the First Hawaiian Bank Auto Show. Servco Pacific is the parent company to Servco Autos which has auto dealerships for leading automakers like Toyota, Subaru, Suzuki, Lexus, and Scion selling both new to used cars; as well as an auto parts, tire supplies, and industrial equipment divisions. Servco Pacific is a well-respected company across the islands and their automobiles are very popular among local residents.
“There are two key metrics in social media: Influence and Engagement.”
Moving Into Digital Neighborhood
With a website that could use an upgrade in platform and social optimization, over the past handful of years, Servco Autos has slowly moved into the digital neighborhoods of Facebook and Twitter. They focus their community building on the Toyota, Subaru, and Scion brands targeting the more than 600K Hawaii residents on Facebook. I know I used the word slowly, but I must add that their entry into social networking is very methodical. Too often businesses or their social media consultants run up the number of followers or fans as a measurement of ROI. Taking a strategic approach encourages sustainability rather than a viral one that while may create buzz, quite possibly could catapult a company into the one-hit-wonder graveyard.
Return On Influence
The conversation surrounding the I in ROI is plentiful across the socialsphere, but for this paragraph let’s focus on influence. That word bears much conversation too, but one of the leading thought leaders in this emerging industry, analyst Brian Solis has one of the most precise definitions of influence in the digital world. In his report, The Rise of Digital Influence and How to Measure It, Solis defines digital influence as: “The ability to cause effect, change behavior, and drive measurable outcomes online.”
It’s so simple, how can you disagree?
In the report, Solis goes on to discuss the social capital of digital influencers. “Social capital is the key that unlocks digital influence and new customer touchpoints,” and brands need to borrow or leverage the social capital of influencers. The words social capital and influence create a discomfort inside of me, but Solis is correct. In other words, credibility through word-of-mouth networking is more powerful than ever.
Servco Pacific again reached out to me and based on their targeted demographics, specifically for their Subaru and Suzuki brands I recruited someone with more social capital than me, local blogger Don Aweau. Together, we were able to extend the reach of the auto brands with more than 800 million impressions on Twitter and 61,527 qualified clickthroughs to 238 pieces of content — in less than 48-hours.
Digital social capital can fluctuate. It’s dependent upon content publishing and marketing, however it’s deceiving too because social capital is also earned through offline networking. There are many digital influencers or social media consultants that live and breathe for tweets, likes, and shares. They’re co-dependent on this digital currency. It’s important for companies to find a balance between building online and offline social capital.
Servco Pacific demonstrated this balance with their use of QR codes, mobile device recharging station, and social network video booths.
Like 2011, every vehicle had a QR code right next to the vehicle description and sticker price. I saw an increase in engagement with the QR codes by auto show attendees. But, more than that, Servco launched sweet spots for attendees to connect their mobile browsers to learn more about a particular vehicle through media.
Social network video booths allowed attendees to create and publish content to their personal Facebook and Twitter accounts framed with the vehicle brand logo. Coca-Cola had a more robust Facebook campaign that leveraged video booths, while something similar was seen at APEC 2011.
Probably the most practical and popular station to encourage social engagement was the mobile device charging station. Think about it, how many times have we been at an event and wished there were a charging station to give us more juice to share our moments…and for free! This station was prime real estate for Servco representatives to hand out swag and more importantly engage in conversations with attendees and employees of competitors.
Social Take Aways
So, if you’re a business still considering venturing into the waters of social media, it doesn’t have to be in-your-face-let’s-go-viral-in-sixty-seconds-or-less approach. Rather, build a community with a steady strategic approach, leverage the community of your community’s social capital, and engage socially offline.
Photo credit: Toyota Hawaii.