Many car manufacturers offer potential consumers the ability to build or customize a vehicle on their website. GMC and Buick are taking this a step further and incorporating social media into the process, allowing consumers to share their virtual vehicle with Facebook friends, and see the response via comments and ‘likes.’
The consumer gains the opportunity to solicit feedback from friends about their potential vehicle purchase, while GMC and Buick see their brand effectively marketed via the consumer.
According to Janet Keller, GMC’s digital and social media manager, one-quarter of GMC.com’s monthly visitors use the vehicle-building tool. She told Direct Marketing News, “We already know that consumers are asking their friends and family about their vehicle selection, so why don’t we just bring that together in one seamless experience on GMC.com?”
Integrating with Facebook doesn’t just allow the consumer to share their vehicle ideas; it also gives the automotive brand valuable metrics regarding consumer preferences. Once consumers connect via their Facebook accounts, GMC and Buick can see how consumers design their vehicles, and what they (and their Facebook friends) like the most, knowledge which can be tied to purchases. The automakers also get permission to access their basic profile information, and the publicly shared interests there help the brand to tailor future marketing communications.
The integration does not provide GMC or Buick with a way to reach out to customers to build and share vehicles – the brands can only message those who “like” their Facebook page.
The Facebook integration with GMC.com is currently only available via desktop, although both automakers plan to create Facebook “Build a Vehicle” apps that will have a mobile-friendly version, possibly available this year.
The goal, according to Keller? “The ultimate gold standard is to be able to connect how people are engaging on GMC.com and with the tool and ultimately be able to lead that into sales and how this tool helps to facilitate sales at the bottom line.”