Car Shows Need to Engage Facebook Fans

In a span of less than 10 minutes recently, The Elegance at Hershey  car show shared 19 Facebook posts featuring photos and videos from their just completed event. Examples are shown below; there’s also a screen capture in PDF format that shows the entire series of shared posts.

“Why is this such a big deal?” You might ask.

First, you have to understand that when someone creates a post on a brand page (such as those for a car show), Facebook uses its ever-evolving algorithm to decide on whose personal news feeds the post will appear. This means that although you’ve previously clicked to like or follow a page, it does not ensure you’ll get to see all the posts from that page. Only posts that Facebook deems relevant to your personal interests are presented. Here’s how to customize what you see on your personal news feed.

Leveraging the Facebook algorithm

Whether intentional or coincidental, the folks at Hershey are onto something potentially of great value to all car shows. Now, more than ever, Facebook “rewards” a savvy brand page by distributing its posts to a substantially larger targeted audience than would otherwise receive them . . .  if the page interacts with its community.

The simplest way a car show can engage people who like or visit its Facebook page is by sharing their personal photos taken at the event and responding to comments. Online marketing experts refer to this as user-generated content. The enthusiasm expressed in the posts from show attendees is priceless. Others will pick up on the exchanges and begin sharing the grassroots posts on other brand pages, group pages and to their friends. It’s a goldmine of publicity for the event.

User-generated content results in tremendous exposure for a car show without costing a dime!

Sharing strategies that work

Some recent shared posts on the ConcoursNEWS Facebook page have received upwards of 500 or more likes, with little effort on my part. This post was shared from the personal page belonging to Mike Nix, who attended the San Marino Motor Classic and took a ton of nice photos. Relevant news travels fast!

I simply visited the post on his page, clicked the share button, wrote a brief message and shared it to my page. Within two days, the post proved successful with 200+ likes. Mikes’s album post was shared 33 times from my page to other pages, which in turn accumulated their own likes and comments. On Mike’s own page, the album received 38 shares.

Significant Facebook exposure occurs when brand pages share content produced by actual fans and not just known media sources or authorities.

Page managers must learn to play Facebook’s “game” to be successful. Sometimes it’s sharing and engaging. Other times it could be ad boosting or posting videos.  Search on “Facebook strategy” to see what marketing experts have to say.

I’ve been tracking social media usage of about 50 premier concours d’elegance and other top car events in the US and Canada for several years. Some, like Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance are reaping the benefits of increased presence on social media. In just over a year’s time, this major Canadian car show has more than tripled its number of Facebook page followers to 8,573, placing it fifth behind Pebble Beach, Hilton Head Island, Greenwich and Amelia Island concours events.  A larger number of page likes will likely translate into a proportionate increase in post likes, attendance and contributions to designated charities.

How does a car show learn about relevant user posts?

Facebook users can tag pages to alert others of content related to a show page. If the notification feature is turned on in the page’s Facebook settings, the page admin(s) will automatically receive email or text alerts. Even with alerts turned off, there’s a notifications tab in the display. Plus, anyone can use the Facebook search option to show all instances of an event name. Social media managers and those authorized as page admins need to be sure to that all posts considered for sharing be thoroughly vetted.

In the posts shown above from the Hershey Elegance post-a-thon by Cadillac Men and Matthew Little Photography, the page name of the tagged event is differentiated with blue text. (The blue color is hard to distinguish in the screen captures, so the event name has been underlined in red for the purpose of this article.) 

To tag an event or person, registered Facebook users need to insert the page name preceded with an “@” symbol or select the name from a drop down menu that appears when typing the page name. 

Note: This procedure is old hat to many Facebook users, but to those new to Facebook and Facebook naysayers, it’s important to understand the concept.

Posting strategies that fail

Historically, the majority of Facebook posts by concours events receive relatively poor responses, based on the number of post likes in relation to page likes. Once you get past the top five concours brand pages — Pebble Beach heads the list with more than 50,000 — the next 15 events average about 3,000 likes. It’s not uncommon to see a post by these shows receive less than 20 likes. No wonder lots of show organizers see little value in social media.

Reasons for a post receiving a low number of likes can be attributed to boring content, not reaching the target audience, or both. An effective solution has been to participate in the Facebook Ad Program by boosting a post to have it appear on a fan’s incoming feed — for a fee, of course. Facebook has to keep its shareholders happy. Right?

For a car show wanting to increase page likes within a certain demographic, an ad budget of a couple hundred dollars will pay big dividends.  Then the show can target messages to potential sponsors and attendees using this sharing strategy at NO COST.

Message to car show organizers

  • More than ever, the collector car realm as a whole needs to better avail itself of social media platforms to help perpetuate the hobby.
  • Now that sharing of posts is a highly valued aspect of the Facebook algorithm, there’s less pressure on the page administrator to create original content.
  • Increased participation on a car show page should increase both awareness and donations for the many charities that benefit from car shows.
  • Followers of Facebook pages will be excited to know their “voice” will be heard as they share photos, knowledge and comments.
  • Finally, word of mouth has traditionally been a favored method for promoting a car show. By making Facebook fans of the shows part of the experience, they will surely become great advocates of the event.

Note: Facebook group pages, Twitter and Instagram will be addressed in a future posts at Concours.NEWS.

Concours Welcomes Dirty Cars

A special class of historic rally cars from the Radnor Hunt Concours d’Elegance. Included are Porsche, Mercedes, Mini, Lancia, Alfa Romeo, Triumph.

Classic Car Event on Google Street View

Google Maps launched its Street View feature in 2007 as a navigational tool, but it quickly became a source of entertainment. It was inevitable that the car-mounted camera would capture funny or compromising situations.

While far from outrageous, these scenes from the Google perspective will be of interest to car enthusiasts. The Google car just happened to drive by and record about 60 collector, classic and sports cars preparing to depart on the 2012 Countryside Tour, part of the Cincinnati Concours d’Elegance at Ault Park.

For more than two decades, supporters of the event have gathered at the village square in historic Mariemont, OH, for the start of the traditional tour, held mid-June on the Saturday preceding the concours car show. The half-day drive through southwest Ohio is a fundraiser for the Arthritis Foundation and routes participants to a featured site or activity. Despite the blurred faces and license plates, the images show great detail.

The colorful Google car transporting a 360-degree camera is hard to miss. Here’s one cruising a Cincinnati neighborhood.
The Google car transporting a 360-degree camera is hard to miss. Here’s one cruising a Cincinnati neighborhood.
Early in the morning, Mariemont Police officers close off the 28 public parking spaces that are normally occupied at noontime by ice cream parlor, restaurant and movie theater patrons so that tour participants can squeeze their cars into the confines of the landscaped square.
Cars taking part in the tour include: Auburn, Beck, BMW, Corvette, Datsun, Ferrari, GT-40, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, MG Metro, MG TD, MGB, Miata, MINI, Morgan, Morris Minor, Mustang, Pontiac, Porsche, Rolls Royce, TVR, VW.
The featured stop on the 50-mile Countryside Tour was Front Street in the historic riverfront town of New Richmond, OH, where participants met up with classic wooden boat owners for a short cruise on the Ohio River.

New Richmond photos credit: Dennis Cohen

BONUS: Click this link to access one of the Google views shown above. You can pan and zoom to get  closer look at the cars. Note the timeline in the top left corner showing June 2012. If you click along the street to move to another position, it’s likely that this date and event won’t appear due to subsequent updates. Perhaps the Google editor was a car buff and left a few frames behind for our enjoyment?

Remember that camera-equipped car shown at the beginning of this post? Here’s me taking that photo while Google was taking mine!

Radical Car Display in Cleveland

RADwood, the series of car shows featuring cars and culture from the “lost” 1980s and ’90s, is featured in a new exhibit at the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum in Cleveland, Oh.