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Automotive Guide to Pinterest & Instagram

This guide covers everything from automotive content strategy and harnessing hashtags to setting and achieving the goals that will help your brand achieve marketing success on Pinterest & Instagram.

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Automotive Guide to Pinterest & Instagram

  2. 2. STEP 1 Here’s a stat that might surprise you: every one of the brands behind the top 10 selling cars of 2013 has an Instagram account. This is because in addition to being the perfect 21st century car showrooms, visual networks like Pinterest and Instagram offer auto brands higher levels of audience engagement than any other social platform. For automakers, engagement means sales, as a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers revealed that up to 15 percent of social leads result in test drives, and that only 67 social leads are needed to sell a car.
  3. 3. 4HELLO@PIQORA.COM 866.857.8433 FOLLOW US It’s easy to understand why car brands do so well on these networks; they are visual, mood-elevating, aspirational and inspirational, and those exact same adjectives also describe cars. Cars aren’t just a method of transportation; they are portals to a broader world, members of the family, objects of desire, and stunning works of art. In short, cars are a major passion for a lot of people. And passion is what Pinterest and Instagram are all about; these networks are unique in that users follow others and consume content primarily based on interests, not personal relationships. The car brands that are seeing the most success on Instagram and Pinterest tap into those passions with powerful visual storytelling, using images of their cars to engage the huge community of gearheads on these networks. Instagram in particular seems to be tailor made for auto brands. Auto marketers have identified Instagram as an especially effective tool for reaching younger audiences, and in 2014 carmakers grew their audiences on the network by an average of 152 percent. After Instagram, Pinterest generates the second highest level of engagement for car brands, outstripping legacy networks like Facebook and Twitter. INSTAGRAMMERS LOVE COOL CARS, EXOTIC TRAVEL, AND CELEBRITIES; ASTON MARTIN CAPTURED ALL THREE WITH THIS POST OF THEIR LEGENDARY DB5, WHICH STARRED IN SEVERAL JAMES BOND FILMS IN 2014 CARMAKERS GREW THEIR INSTAGRAM AUDIENCES BY AN AVERAGE OF 152 PERCENT
  4. 4. STEP 2
  5. 5. 6HELLO@PIQORA.COM 866.857.8433 FOLLOW US Luxury marques like Audi, Bugatti and BMW, who regularly post beautiful pictures of their gorgeous cars in action shots and exotic locations, do very well on the platform. In fact, BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Lamborghini and Porsche are the top 5 most popular car makers on Instagram, which should hardly be surprising considering sports cars make for pretty spectacular eye candy. Instagram has become a go-to destination for car enthusiasts to find content, a digital car show where automakers showcase their latest models, tuners display their wildest creations, aftermarket part companies hawk their wares, and automotive photography takes center stage. A LAMBORGHINI PARKED NEXT TO A GORGEOUS BEACH. WHAT’S NOT TO LIKE? (MORE THAN 20,000 PEOPLE AGREE)
  6. 6. CASE: VOLKSWAGEN VOLKSWAGEN HAS AN ENTIRE “DRIVER OF THE WEEK” SERIES DEDICATED TO SHARING COMPELLING, EMOTION-DRIVEN STORIES OF PEOPLE’S EXPERIENCES WITH THEIR VWS Luxury marques aren’t the only ones enjoying huge success on Instagram; Volkswagen, for example, eschews the glitz and glam of the supercar stables and instead uses their account to showcase their fans’ passion for their cars. Volkswagen is a perfect example of a car brand using Instagram for what it’s best at: forming emotional bonds between your brand and and your audience. Instagram is a conversation-driven community that gives brands the opportunity to share their values, passions, and ethos. Marketing on Instagram is about becoming a conversation leader, and you have to be careful about how you highlight your products. Volkswagen features their products in all of their Instagram posts, but they don’t focus on them. This is because they recognize that the more you try to hard sell, the more Instagram audiences will shy away and become disengaged. VOLKSWAGEN HAS AN ENTIRE “DRIVER OF THE WEEK” SERIES DEDICATED TO SHARING COMPELLING, EMOTION- DRIVEN STORIES OF PEOPLE’S EXPERIENCES WITH THEIR VWS VOLKSWAGEN DOES A GREAT JOB OF SHOWCASING THE EMOTIONAL BOND BETWEEN PEOPLE AND THEIR CARS, AND ARE REWARDED WITH EXCEPTIONAL LEVELS OF ENGAGEMENT-PER-POST
  7. 7. Audi is another brand that clearly recognizes this principle. Of course, they post beautiful pictures of their cars. But what they don’t do is announce promotions, holiday deals or sales on Instagram. Instead, the majority of Audi’s images on Instagram have a very “human” feel; while there are some professional shots of exotic cars in fantastic locales, the majority look like they were taken on phones, by everyday people. This is because many of Audi’s Instagram posts were taken by their followers. Showcasing User-Generated Content is a great move, as it keeps those users (and others hoping to get recognized) coming back for more. That strategy has paid huge dividends for Audi; by maintaining this “human” feel and highlighting UGC, they have been able to drive extraordinary levels of engagement to their profile. In fact, according to one study, Audi has the highest engagement level of any car brand, and even outperform brands like MTV and Starbucks, which have much larger audiences on the platform. CASE AUDI YOU DON’T HAVE TO SHOW PICTURES SUPERCARS TO DRIVE SERIOUS ENGAGEMENT ON INSTAGRAM; COMPARED TO AN R8, AUDI’S A3 HATCHBACK MIGHT SEEM DOWNRIGHT HUMBLE. BUT PAIR IT WITH A BEAUTIFUL SUNSET THAT ONE OF YOUR FANS CAPTURED, AND YOU HAVE THE KEYS TO A GEARHEAD’S HEART
  8. 8. 9HELLO@PIQORA.COM 866.857.8433 FOLLOW US Auto brands shouldn’t try and use Instagram as a megaphone to talk to everyone; they should use it to have intimate conversations with their fans. That’s what makes brands like Audi and Volkswagen exceptional. Rather than simply throwing a filter on a picture of their latest model, they make sure their posts are relevant, informative and entertaining. And that’s the perfect recipe for getting your content discovered on Instagram. VOLVO DOES A FANTASTIC JOB OF USING INSTAGRAM TO SHARE SPECIFIC REASONS TO LOVE AND APPRECIATE THEIR CARS, WHICH CAN RESONATE IN USERS’ MINDS WHEN THEY’RE MAKING PURCHASING DECISIONS. FOR EXAMPLE, THEIR “VOLVO SAVED MY LIFE” POSTS GIVE GRAPHIC EVIDENCE OF THE LEGENDARY SAFETY OF THEIR VEHICLES, AND THE USER COMMENTS REFLECT THE SENTIMENTS THAT SUCH POSTS CAN EVOKE, OFFERING POWERFUL SOCIAL ENDORSEMENTS OF THEIR BRAND. THE KEY TAKEAWAY IS THAT ALMOST ALL AUTO BRANDS ARE ON INSTAGRAM. TO STAND OUT, YOUR CONTENT HAS TO BE UNIQUE AND, MORE IMPORTANTLY, VALUABLE TO YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE.
  9. 9. 10HELLO@PIQORA.COM 866.857.8433 FOLLOW US Some auto brands are witnessing huge results from Pinterest; for example, Aston Martin is killing it. They have more than 200,000 followers, almost double their audience on Instagram. BMW and Audi each have more than a million followers on Instagram, but Pinterest is a much different story. BMW doesn’t even have a profile, while Audi’s two official accounts (one international, one for the U.S.A) combined barely break 2,000 followers. Some might chalk this discrepancy up to a mistaken perception of Pinterest’s user demographics, but the truth is that Pinterest is one of the few platforms where automakers can enjoy relative parity male and female engagement, which is just one of the many advantages offered by Pinterest. Pinterest an extraordinarily powerful e-commerce engine, and interactions on the network are overwhelmingly positive; people generally Pin things that they love and want to buy, ‘collect’ the available options, and make their purchasing decisions. A Pin on Pinterest can be viewed as a de-facto endorsement of your products, so even if you don’t sell your cars online the fact that people are interacting with your content on Pinterest is a great indicator that they intend to do something about it. That said, success on Pinterest comes from adopting content strategies specific to that network. COMPARED TO INSTAGRAM, PINTEREST IS RELATIVELY NEW GROUND FOR AUTOMAKERS, AND MANY ARE STILL IN THE EARLY STAGES OF ADOPTING IT.
  10. 10. 11HELLO@PIQORA.COM 866.857.8433 FOLLOW US Our research shows that for auto brands, images that feature cars generate the most engagement. While this might not be a surprise, it’s important to realize that while a “human” feel works great for car images on Instagram, Pinterest users favor more “professional” images of cars that typically do not feature people. This is because on Pinterest, people want to imagine themselves interacting with these products, rather than someone else. So while a picture of a car with its driver out in the real world might perform well on Instagram, a better strategy for Pinterest would be to show that car in more of a “showroom” style setting. A PERFECT EXAMPLE: THE FOLLOWING IMAGES OF HONDA’S ACCORD. BOTH OF THESE IMAGES COME FROM THEIR OFFICIAL ACCOUNTS, BUT WHILE THE INSTAGRAM PICTURE IS NATURAL, HUMAN, AND EMOTIONAL IN NATURE, THE PINTEREST IMAGE IS FAR MORE ARTISTIC AND “PRODUCT FOCUSED.” IMAGE STYLE
  13. 13. 14HELLO@PIQORA.COM 866.857.8433 FOLLOW US When it comes to great content for discovery of auto products, let’s go back to Aston Martin. It’s obvious that they have put a lot of time, energy and thought into crafting their boards and choosing images that will perform on Pinterest. They have a board dedicated to their cars in weddings, and boards for each model of car in their lineup. This is another key advantage of Pinterest for car makers; on Instagram, all the images of your different makes and models are usually hosted under the same account. Pinterest on the other hand allows you to use boards as specific marketing channels for individual types of cars. DISCOVERY
  14. 14. 15HELLO@PIQORA.COM 866.857.8433 FOLLOW US The second piece of the Pinterest puzzle is curating inspirational content. Diversity is key for a well-rounded, engaging Pinterest profile, and you can be pretty open with what kind of content you post to your profile. This means auto brands don’t have to only feature images of cars, but should include content that appeals to Pinners in general. Ideas could include gas saving tips, car care ideas, or roadtrip recipes. Even if these “lifestyle” Pins don’t generate as much engagement as product images on a per-Pin basis, including them broadens your reach and establishes your brand as a destination for people to draw inspiration from. INSPIRATION AUTOZONE HAS GREAT EXAMPLES OF CAR-RELATED CONTENT THAT APPEALS TO BROAD PINTEREST AUDIENCES, NOT JUST AVID AUTO FANS
  15. 15. TOP TIPS Generally, showing cars on Instagram with a “human feel,” is more effective than standard catalog images, and these types of images generate the most engagement. Based on a study of hundreds of Pins, our research shows that it’s best to show cars without people in the picture on Pinterest. For inspiration on photo creatives, keep an eye on what other popular brands are doing and take that into consideration for your own content. Pay attention to lighting, angles, stages and setting; if it’s working for them, it’ll probably work for you.
  16. 16. STEP 3 Auto brands are part of one of the most active content categories on the Visual Web. People will naturally be discussing and posting about their cars, and while this can be a great thing it’s essential to engage with and participate in these conversations in the right way.
  17. 17. 18HELLO@PIQORA.COM 866.857.8433 FOLLOW US These conversations are built around hashtags, but a lot of auto brands don’t capitalize on the potential of a good hashtag strategy. In fact, our research shows that 73% of brands don’t follow best hashtag practices. By opting out, these brands are missing a massive opportunity to engage in, and more importantly lead these conversations. WITH MORE THAN 200M REGISTERED USERS, INSTAGRAM IS A MAJOR CONVERSATION HUB WHERE PEOPLE ARE ACTIVELY HAVING CONVERSATIONS ABOUT YOUR PRODUCTS. BMW DOES A GREAT JOB HARNESSING HASHTAGS WITH THEIR INSTAGRAM POSTS
  18. 18. 19HELLO@PIQORA.COM 866.857.8433 FOLLOW US You definitely want to know how your brand is fitting into these conversations, and engage in them whenever possible. There are two ways to monitor brand mentions: So how can you best harness hashtags? For starters, add seven hashtags to each of your posts; doing so can lead to 23% more likes. A good mix would be your brand’s name, a hashtag that your brand creates, and 3-5 “community” hashtags. Just beware that adding more than seven hashtags leads to a dramatic downturn in the number of likes, as people can view that as spam. PIQORA’S DASHBOARD ALLOWS YOU TO TRACK HASHTAG METRICS SUCH AS UNIQUE USERS, POTENTIAL IMPRESSIONS, PHOTOS POSTED TO HASHTAGS, LIKES, AND COMMENTS HARNESSING HASHTAGS 1. BY TRACKING how Instagram users are tagging your brand in ongoing, natural conversations Pay attention to the tone of these conversations, and apply these analyses into your own Instagram strategy. 2. BY ANALYZING the conversations around hashtags related to your brand, whether these are official hashtags or those that are tangentially related. Download our Instagram Hashtag Report for more information.
  19. 19. 20HELLO@PIQORA.COM 866.857.8433 FOLLOW US After someone looks at your Pin itself, the second thing will they look at will usually be the description. Having a detailed, well written description of your products will make it easy for people to Pin from your site, and will have a huge payoff when they do. This is because your description will form not only the Pin’s description on Pinterest, but also that image’s keywords for search results. Finally, it’s important to remember that more than 90% of Pins originate from a website, not from a Pinterest profile. This makes optimizing your website for Pinterest very important, so check out our Marketer’s Guide to Pinterest Website Optimization, which is packed with simple steps to drive huge increases in referral traffic. ON PINTEREST, CONTEXT IS CREATED THROUGH PIN DESCRIPTIONS YOU MIGHT HAVE ONLY A FEW SECONDS TO ATTRACT A PINNER’S ATTENTION. BY SIMPLY ADDING A PHRASE, YOU CAN IMMEDIATELY GIVE THE CONTEXT FOR WHICH YOUR CONTENT IS INTENDED.
  20. 20. TOP TIPS Add descriptions to your Pins that include details like pricing, color, model, fuel economy data, etc. Tailor your Pin’s descriptions and primary keywords to match Pinterest’s own categories. The most repinnable descriptions are about 200 characters long. If you add the word “You,” the Pinner feels like you’re speaking to them. Incorporate your brand’s slogan in your hashtags. Using up to 7 hashtags can lead to 23% more likes
  21. 21. STEP 4 Instagram is ideal for establishing thought leadership, brand awareness and recall, while Pinterest is the perfect engine to drive direct response metrics like sales, clicks, and higher AOV. But regardless of which needle you want to move, it’s essential to approach Pinterest and Instagram with a plan. Posting to Instagram or Pinning to Pinterest just for the sake of having a presence on these networks is a surefire way to be disappointed by the results. You’ll need a clearly defined and established set of goals, and metrics to compare these to in order to track performance and make adjustments as needed.
  22. 22. 23HELLO@PIQORA.COM 866.857.8433 FOLLOW US A successful Instagram strategy is driven by on-platform engagement. Brands can systematize and amplify engagement by monitoring the following KPIs. LOOK FOR SYSTEMATIC GROWTH OVER TIME IN ADDITION TO DAILY SPIKES, WHICH CAN BE THE RESULT OF SPECIFIC CAMPAIGNS OR HIGHLY ENGAGING POSTS 1. COMMENTS AND LIKES Comment counts reflect your brand’s ability to inspire your audience, while likes provide insight into your audience’s engagement level. While simply looking at these numbers is important, you should take a close look at what your audiences are saying in the comments. Comments shouldn’t be one sided; they are a fantastic opportunity to engage with your fans and build valuable relationships with brand advocates, and Piqora’s Instagram Conversation Manager can help you manage these conversations on a broad scale. 2. NEW FOLLOWER GROWTH An expanding follower-base indicates growth in your brand presence and influence. It also indicates that your content strategy is effective, appealing, and engaging. Pay attention to large spikes in follower growth, as they can indicate that certain images are particularly effective, so you can learn from those images and iterate off of best practices.
  23. 23. 24HELLO@PIQORA.COM 866.857.8433 FOLLOW US Pinterest is a network built on intent. If people are engaging with your content, odds are they have strong intent to act on that. If a lot of people are Pinning and repinning your products, that shows virality, and that people have your products in mind for their purchasing decisions. Nick Mueller, Sr. Marketing Manager at Piqora Marketers who understand this will focus on creating and sharing content that helps foster intent and makes it easier for their fans to take action. For example, a great way for a car brand to measure intent is to look at repins. Since many auto brands don’t have a direct to consumer E-Commerce component, direct ROI measurement can be difficult. However, Pinterest can still be a powerful tool for these brands.
  24. 24. 25HELLO@PIQORA.COM 866.857.8433 FOLLOW US Instagram photo contests provide a fast track to increasing brand visibility on Instagram, while Pinterest promotions are a great way to drive engagement on your Pins, traffic to your Pinterest profile or website, and identify brand advocates and influencers. Both can be powerful audience building tools, and are an excellent way to migrate your existing followers over from other platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Finally, Instagram is teeming with original, highly creative user- generated content of cars, and photo contests are a phenomenal way for auto brands brands to source UGC from their fans. For more information, check out our in-depth guides to Pinterest Promotions and Instagram Photo Contests. Instagram Photo Contests and Pinterest Promotions can be a powerful accelerator for auto marketers to turbocharge your presence on these networks. A WORD ABOUT HARNESSING THE POWER OF PROMOTIONS LEXUS EVEN LEVERAGED AN INSTAGRAM PROMOTION TO INCLUDE THEIR 100K+ FANS IN THE DESIGN OF A CUSTOM RC-F SPORTS CAR.
  25. 25. TOP TIPS Evaluate Instagram comments from a qualitative as well as a quantitative perspective; they can be great feedback on how your content is resonating with your audience. Piqora’s analytics platform can help you identify industry-wide trends and interpret how well your content is performing, both individually and compared to the other brands in your vertical. On Instagram, look for variance in ‘likes’ between your posts to see what your followers are and aren’t responding to. Engagement is an indicator of intent on Pinterest, so tracking the content that people are interacting with most and iterating off of those learnings is a fast track to success.
  26. 26. EVEN IF YOUR BRAND ISN’T ACTIVE ON PINTEREST, YOUR CONTENT CERTAINLY IS Every day, millions of people turn to Pinterest and Instagram to check out the latest news, cars, and trends from the automotive industry. And here’s another truth that automakers should understand: more than 90% of Pins originate from websites, not from Pinterest profiles. So even if your brand isn’t officially on Pinterest, your content certainly is. As we mentioned before, BMW has more than a million followers on Instagram, but they don’t have an official Pinterest profile. The story doesn’t end there though, because a quick Pinterest search reveals thousands of images devoted to their cars. WRAPPING UP: WHY CAR BRANDS ARE FLOCKING TO THE VISUAL WEB, AND WHY YOU SHOULD TOO
  27. 27. If you are proactive in engaging in these conversations, these networks offer golden opportunities to foster meaningful, positive relationships with your fans and followers. And for auto brands that provide their fans with real, valuable content, Instagram and Pinterest can be game changers, driving unprecedented levels of audience engagement. – Piqora Team The data and techniques discussed here are just a small portion of the resources available from Piqora, so if you’d like to learn more go to and request a demo to learn how to take your visual marketing strategies to the next level. VISIT OUR WEBSITE REQUEST A DEMO