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9 Reasons Why General Motors Social Media Marketing Competition Was A Success

I recently met Christopher Barger (Director of Global Social Media for General Motors) via a comment on my blog post about social media marketing.

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The article was titled “Who Is Winning At Social Media Marketing: Ford or General Motors?“, where I made some statements and observations that he didn’t agree with, (you can read the article and the comment here .. Christopher’s comment is the second from the top).

General Motors Social Media Marketing Competition 9 Reasons Why It was a Success

He also mentioned that they were about to embark on a social media marketing campaign which involved the Chevy brand and was titled “Chevrolet’s SXSW Road Trip Challenge” and I wrote about this in an article with the headline “General Motors Gets Into Gear With A Social Media Competition” which is described by the website as follows:

“Starting the week of March 8 (the week before SXSW), eight  teams of social media folks from across the United States will embark on a combination  road trip/scavenger hunt competition from their hometowns to Austin behind the wheel of some of Chevy’s newest products. Along the way they’ll need to complete 50 “challenges” in order to determine the winner. The winning team will be the one that not only has completed the most challenges, but has done the most interacting with their community on Twitter and their own sites”

One of the clever strategies was the selection of socially vibrant participants in the social media competition.

You can watch the following video to hear Stephen Clark from WXYZ “TV” describe how the competition would play out.

Christopher also offered to update me and my readers on the status of the competition and its results, so after a DM (Direct Message) requesting an update, he replied with the following response via email which provides a great insight into how General Motors is indeed “getting into gear with social media“.

So here is Christopher Barger’s update on the Chevy Social Media Marketing Competition:

“Hi Jeff — sorry it took so long to get these to you (he is obviously busy, which is a good sign.. my comment). Before you look them over, I want to add this caveat:  these are only short-term measurements of success, in my/our eyes. The numbers are great — I’m thrilled with the initial results and increased visibility and connection for Chevrolet.  But for our SXSW program to truly be considered a success, I will be looking months down the line…

If I look at things in the fourth quarter, for example,

  • How many of the people who began interacting with us during SXSW are still connected to and connecting with Chevrolet?
  • Do we see more RTs or see the messages/info we put out becoming more pervasive across Twitter or other networks?
  • Do we see more people watching our video content on FB, or embedding the YouTube videos?
  • How many of the people we met or started talking to during SXSW are coming to local Tweetups when we organize them?
  • Will any of them have asked for information on new Chevy vehicles or if we know if their local dealer is engaged in social networks?
  • Could we offer codes or something that allows us to measure whether anyone who started following us during this activation is actually buying a vehicle?

He goes on to say

If we don’t see continued engagement long-term — and it’s on *us* to make sure we do strong follow-ups and continue the relationships we started, continue to do both online and real-world interaction with our new friends — then this was a nine day marketing campaign that worked really well.  I would consider that a lost opportunity to go well beyond.

I think that by any measure we succeeded in improving Chevrolet’s reputation and perception in the digital/social world… it even bled into the traditional marketing world, with AdAge noting that we were largely seen as the festival’s marketing winner. But in the end, we’re all in business to do business… so I’ll be watching to see how the consideration and sales numbers play out too. That said, here are the short-term measurements:

Here are The 9 Reasons For Christopher and General Motors To Smile

  1. 61.1 Million social web impressions from March 8 to 21 (with overwhelmingly well above 98% of those being positive, as far as the reports and measurements that I saw) with
  2. 15,924 online mentions including
  3. 13,440 Tweets (this is more than double the number of tweets about Chevy in Jan-Feb)
  4. 1,216 blog posts
  5. 1,268 other posts (including comments, photos and videos)
  6. 33,500 page views through Facebook and ChevySXSW.com
  7. More than 300 pieces of positive user-generated content posted to ChevySXSW.com (including 250+ videos)
  8. Chevrolet added 8,764 fans to its Facebook page (up 12.7% in 3 weeks);
  9. @Chevrolet Twitter followers were up +68% in the month of our SXSW activation

Social web influencers like Guy Kawasaki, Robert Scoble, Jason Falls, Leo LaPorte, Chris Heuer, Joseph Jaffe, Dom Sagolla, C.C. Chapman and others drove and posted positively about  the Chevy Volt, reaching hundreds of thousands more people than we could have reached on our own.”

On the traditional marketing side of the Chevy marketing campaign: Christopher said:

“More than 250 “traditional media” placements generated more than 80 million impressions; included USA Today, C/Net, AdAge, AdWeek, BrandWeek, Charlotte Observer, Detroit Free Press, WXYZ-TV, the Austin American-Statesman, and others. In some cases the road trip teams took it upon themselves to pitch media to generate coverage for the road trip *on our behalf,* without being asked to do so.

I’m proud of what we’ve achieved so far — but please remember that to us it’s just a start.  I’m reserving final judgment on the program’s long-term success until I see how we do with the follow-up and long-term interaction.”

Christopher Barger
Director, Global Social Media, General Motors

If you want to tweet Christopher his Twitter address is @Cbarger

What I have enjoyed about the discussion on this topic is that the Americans love their cars and will defend their preferred car brand with a passion and the tweets and the comments about the topic have certainly displayed that.

So what do you think about the success of the Chevy social media marketing competition?

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