Again, a huge thanks to the VaynerMedia employees who helped me bring these together. Let me know what you think in the comments!
Kuni Lexus: Coco Upstairs...
On 12/4 for three straight posts,this Lexus dealership referred to there being "coco upstairs."
"Hot coco would be nice if you live in CO"
"Head upstairs for the hot coco"
"When you're upstairs with your hot chocolate, take a look at our indoor showroom and covered new car lot"
Now intuitively, I get what they were trying to do here. Clearly they were offering complimentary hot chocolate at the dealership in an attempt to get people in the door on a cold day. Nice. So why didn't they just say it? Everything else about the way that this dealer is handling Instagram is looking pretty good. The shots feel native to the platform (even if some of them are kind of difficult to interpret), they're hashtaging aggressively (although, they might want to try dumping some of them in the first comment like the LA Philharmonic), but they're never really making a clear statement. If you're selling us on the hot chocolate, show it to us! I mean how much sense does this make: "I would like to entice my customers with free drinks, so I am going to coyly mention the drinks while showing a vaguely-framed photo of the roof of one of my cars."
Tom's Ford: I lol'd
Great stuff from Tom's Ford. If you ever catch that guy who does your social in the back office surfing Reddit instead of doing work, thank him for this post before you yell at him, because when brands embrace a meme like this, it can open up tons of opportunities. You have the chance at earned media, and you're speaking the language of a younger, web-native crowd (remember, the kids who grew up with this stuff aren't kids anymore, they're in their mid-20's and they're in prime-time for developing loyalty to a car-brand). This is what it means to be native. This is telling the right kind of story for the room that you're in. The only real way to make this better would have been to customize the text in the image macro: "Brake Yourself, Winter Drivers are Coming" or something like that. In fact with tools like memegenerator.net, there is really not to. Now I understand that working with memes can be a legally tricky area, but if you're going to go for it, go big and make it your own.
FIAT of Manhattan: Where's the Link?
Now going in for a right hook when you're selling a $30,000 product is kind of difficult. You can't really just drop a link to the website, and hope you catch someone on the right day, so right hooks tend to be sparse and indirect when it comes to auto-sales. This post from Fiat of Manhattan, on the other hand, shows us an exception to the rule - accessories - and exactly how not to right-hook for them. If you're really selling these potentially-twelve-dollar-impulse-buys at the dealership, why wouldn't you want to present your followers with an easy and clear path to purchase them? Remember, that you only get a precious few opportunities to engage with your users each week. If you're not providing them value at every turn you're going to lose them, and I'm not sure what good that picture is doing if it's not giving you the change to get some adorable car eyelashes of your very own? If you can purchase these on their website, link it! If the play is to get people into the dealership, do that! But this copy is still hedging toward a purchase CTA, so I guess the moral here is, once again, "Don't be half pregnant." If it's a Jab, don't elude at making a purchase; if it's a Right Hook, give your followers something that is super actionable.
Liberty Honda: Perfect Holiday Spirit
Speaking of Jabs vs Right Hooks, this post is really only a few characters of copy away from being a prime-time commercial. You can almost picture it saying "The perfect holiday gift." The hashtags are smart in their specificity, but I'm afraid a lot of them are too narrow to drive any discovery. What I mean by that is people are unlikely to be scrolling through the #hartfordct search stream any time soon. Otherwise, this is actually a really strong Instagram account (maybe with the exception of their totally blunt Thanksgiving post, but I can forgive that. Just next time , find a way to tie it back in the brand at least a little, ok?). That said, this is a post that just honestly feels right for Instagram. Good on Liberty Honda for getting the platform!
Sterling McCall Lexus: Right Tool. Wrong Mechanic.
I think using a Facebook event for a local event like this is a great idea. This Lexus dealership, however, has done a really poor job of implementing it. Now, the obvious critique here is that the creative isn't sized correctly, which is why it got all stretched out, but that's not too insightful, and it's easily fixed. No, the big problem here is the copy, which is basically a novella. I think I've written entire Medium articles shorter than this event description. There is just no way a dog party at a car dealer warrants this many characters. Now ordinarily the idea of losing your reader before they get to the bottom of a Facebook event page isn't such a big deal, but Sterling McCall Lexus decided to make it a huge deal by completely undermining the RSVP functionality of Facebook events and asking that attendees send an email to RSVP. And where is that email address? Oh right, at the bottom of the 260 word description. Ouch.
Carvana: Newsjacking with the Best of Them.
Is this kind of cheating because it's an online car dealership? Maybe. But sometimes cheaters win, and they win big. I honestly wish I had jumped on the Amazon Prime drone joke as quickly and effectively as these guys did. It's also worth pointing out that while the Twitter copy looks simple, and it probably came to them naturally enough, that question-and-answer format is really enticing for users. Don't think I missed the part where they used their own @handle in the tweet. It's kind of a Busch-League move and everybody needs to stop doing it, but it's a nit-picky thing in the face of such a solid piece of content.