Nissan, a global 500 company, is a multinational automaker, and currently offers products and services in more than 160 countries. Nissan have a clear vision to build relationships with their customers and have successfully turned to social media as a way to connect with the consumers. The Japanese giant launched their unique ‘New Star of India campaign’ that ran across Facebook to deliver engaging content to meet brand objectives.
How had Nissan embraced social media to enhance its brand?
We value the social networks greatly. It’s our chance to engage, listen and form positive relationships and experiences with customers, who may or may not own our products. As the web goes through a revolution to become more centred around people and not just pages to read, we need to fully understand where that journey takes us as a company.
Are the social networks now offering corporations tangible commercial opportunities to sell their goods or services?
At Nissan we don’t view social media as a direct sales channel. Whilst it is a space we can advertise or promote our products and services, any company that devotes more than 20% of it’s space to this type of content will loose audiences fast. We see the space as a place to engage, listen and act and when done right create brand visibility, loyalty and word of mouth recommendations.
The campaign grew from zero to over 530,000 followers in 5 months making our page the biggest automotive brand in India on Facebook and the first to reach 500,000. The main focus of this campaign was to increase the brand visibility in India as a fairly new volume entrant to the market. We also wanted to create an active youthful fan base to continually engage with going forwards.
Measuring the effectiveness of social networks is a focus for corporations at the moment. How does Nissan track the ROI that its social networks deliver?
We use share of voice but working in tandem our own metric called ‘Social Reputation Score’ that measures online sentiment. This of course breaks down into various other KPIs but all leading to the same top level target.
I think Nissan doesn’t insist on a Facebook ‘like’ for instance before content of other materials are shown to potential customers. Why is this?
The like “gate” can be a fairly useful tool when staring out to build a brand base on social, but that only goes so far. The trick is to create engaging content that is of real and tangible interest to our fan base.
What does Nissan see as the key challenge across the social media environment with brand awareness and advocacy?
Two key challenges – one is the creation of a truly social campaign that takes a consumer from any medium (TV, Web, Social, physical) and they choose where to get on, where to get off and how to find out what interests and engages them. The second is how we create a truly social web presence and experience to provide a seamless integration across platforms, which is not just bolting social onto a traditional site.
Nissan has a healthy presence on Google+ What do you think the future of this social platform looks like?
We are keeping an eye on Google + but so far it’s not reaping any major engagement with real consumers because they are not on it. It’s mainly a professional network with digital and mainstream enthusiasts. That said ‘social’ changes in a heartbeat and we need to be ready to go where our consumers are. Pinterest is our next major undertaking as it is the worlds third largest social network.
How does Nissan decide what it spends on which social media networks? Does Nissan have a social media road map it is working to?
We are working on a digital blue book that will enable our digital strategy to transcend platforms which come and go, and be more relative to people and their relationships.
People love their cars and what to communicate this feeling on the social media networks they favour. How is Nissan tapping into that desire to communicate?
It’s back to the previous keyword, content, content, content. If you create the right intent and engage in the right way then you can have meaningful conversations with your customers. We are lucky as you say that cars, as one of the key passion purchase that anyone will make, creates the desire to have conversations. It’s also about being there and prepared to listen. Everyone wants to feel like someone is listening, good or bad.
What’s next for Nissan in the social media space? Can you outline any new initiatives you are working on?
We want to get in place the solid foundations to listen and engage, and then we can build upon our reputation and success with projects like Star of India using key projects. As mentioned, real socialisation of content is something I’m looking at as well as Russia, one of our key markets in 2012 and how we can support their social revolution.
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