There aren’t many consumer products that inspire more adoration than cars. We love them, pamper them, polish them and show them off to our friends.
There’s a reason the 1975 lyrics by Queen’s drummer Roger Taylor — “I’m in love with my car, gotta feel for my automobile” — tongue in cheek though they were, still ring true today.
Except these days, instead of cruising Southern California’s iconic Whittier Boulevard, car lovers are doing most of their parading on social media. That’s one of the reasons Turtle Wax, which sells products that put a shine on America’s auto fixation, has ramped up its social efforts in the last 18 months.
A year and a half ago, Turtle Wax had a sleepy Facebook presence with about 5,000 Page likes, and a mostly dormant Twitter account. Now it has more than 312,000 Facebook fans, nearly 10,000 Twitter followers, and a fledgling but active Instagram community of more than 2,000.
Modest numbers, yes; but very good for a medium-sized brand that was playing social media catch-up to competitors, such as Armor All (223,000 Facebook likes), it has now surpassed.
Turtle Wax started building social momentum last spring, dipping its toes into paid social to support its #waxonshirtoff campaign. That UGC effort, boosted by Promoted Tweets on Twitter and Facebook ads, was a modest success with more than 850 entries.
Tapping Into An Organic Trend
This year Turtle Wax has shifted to a higher gear. And it has done it with a savvy campaign inspired by a trend noticed by the Turtle Wax social media team: car lovers were sharing photos of their reflections in freshly washed and waxed vehicles. The closer Turtle Wax looked, the more interesting the trend appeared — a group of passionate consumers who were competing with each other to post the most beautiful shot of their sparkling car.
It’s hard to imagine a more perfect opportunity for Turtle Wax, which launched its #Reflectie UGC contest in May. It’s been a great success, generating 5,655 entries before the entry period ended last week. Turtle Wax is picking 10 finalists and next month will present them for voting to pick the winner of a black 2015 Ford Mustang.
“We are able to capitalize on this behavior that our fans were already doing, expressing themselves online, and really turn it into a movement,” Turtle Wax’s social lead Christine Whitemarsh told Marketing Land. “Last year was the year of the selfie according to the Oxford Dictionary. We want to say that this year is the year of the reflectie.”
To get out the word about the campaign, Turtle Wax and Zeno Group, the agency that manages its social efforts, focused on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and also created a microsite on TurtleWax.com to serve as a hub. It bought promoted posts on Facebook and promoted tweets on Twitter, targeting groups who have shown interest in auto care.
“It’s all a part of making sure that we have an integrated social approach,” Whitemarsh said. “Not only having it on Facebook and Twitter but making sure that we are set up to reach consumers on our own site. As well as Instagram. Instagram right now is our fastest growing community.”
Twitter’s Men’s Interest Targeting Drove 13% Engagement Rate
Twitter was the runaway winner for gathering entries, with 46% entering the contest that way. That likely had something to do with the ease of entry, tweeting a picture with the #reflectie hashtag and @TurtleWax, whereas on Facebook users had to click through to the form on the microsite.
It also helped that Twitter’s ad targeting was outstanding, with promoted tweets racking up an engagement rate of more than 7% overall (Twitter says 1%-3% is the average). At the top end, tweets targeted at the “men’s interest” sector — followers of such male oriented sites as Bleacher Report, Gear Patrol, Grantland, BroBible and the like — received a 13.37% engagement rate.
Because Turtle Wax isn’t a big enough advertising spender to have access to Instagram’s self-service ad platform, the team had to be creative, hiring Brander to work with Instagram influencers to post on Turtle Wax’s behalf. Brander tapped influential Instagram users (followed by more than 20 million people in total) and the campaign generated more than 110,000 likes on the network. Here’s one example from a Instagrammer with 116,000 followers:
Turtle Wax also primed the pump with two paid celebrity endorsements, enlisting Seattle Seahawk cornerback Richard Sherman and rapper Flo Rida to make #reflectie posts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
The upshot of the effort is that Turtle Wax has developed a very solid social presence. It has added more than 40,000 likes on its Facebook page, increased Twitter followers by 130% and Instagram followers by 110% during the campaign. It is building stronger bonds with consumers and at the same time is generating content that it can use to amplify its message.
“Now we have all of this own-able content which is great for a smaller brand,” Whitemarsh said. “Creating great content is something that we aspire to do but in the interim due to resources this is a great way for us to curate and create content that our consumers are sharing. And we’ve been able to repurpose the content in traditional digital advertisements, banners, and other vehicles with retail partners.”