Personality Works on Facebook: How CarWoo reached 100,000+ Likes
CarWoo (an online car-buying marketplace) has made their Facebook page a fun place to hang out and not just for car lovers. I chased down Chief Personality Officer (aka Director of Social Media) Megan Hannay (@mahannay) for a run down on how they used quirky and fun to grow from 167 to 100,000+ Facebook likes in less than nine months.
Here’s what Megan had to say :
When did you start managing the CarWoo Facebook page?
I started managing the page when I came in as Social Media Director on October 15, 2010. At that time we had 169 Facebook fans. Before I was hired, the page was managed by our CEO, who, while he definitely had the messaging right on, wasn’t used to social media best practices, so I went to work creating a fun welcome tab and engaging posts.
We’re informative, but quirky. I was actually hired, in part, because I am a relatively quirky person, and the CarWoo! founders wanted that personality to come out in our messaging. I want our fans to learn from our posts, but I also don’t ever want to give off the feeling that we’re somehow ‘untouchable’ or ‘corporate.’ I strongly believe that brands should do their best to address their fans and followers and friends. Still respectful, but not distant and cold, and that’s what I’ve tried to bring out in CarWoo!’s Facebook personality.
Goals for the page? Target audience?
Our immediate plan is to get the page to 1 million fans. Even though only a few of them will be buying a new car at any one time, everyone needs to buy a new car eventually, and we’ve got a lot in store to keep people engaged and entertained even if they’re not quite in the market for a new car. Our target audience kind of falls within that train of thought as well. New car buying isn’t just for older people or younger people or men or women or car lovers or non-car-lovers. Everyone buys a new car at some point, so our target audience is really anyone for who is intrigued by our brand and our quirky posts and how we’re changing the industry.
What works for your audience? What types of post did well? Any type of posts that did not do so well?
Our audience really loves caption contests. I’ve also done other contests where I post a picture of a small part of a car, and the audience tries to guess what kind of car it is. People get a kick out of that as well. I find that most posts can work, as long as you engage your audience with the content. I try to always ask questions with my posts. If I forget to ask questions, that’s usually when we get fewer clicks and fewer responses.
What was the growth like for page likes? Steady or big burst of followers?
It was pretty steady for a while, but whenever we do campaigns and run ads, it usually gets much larger. If we’re not doing any campaigns, growth is pretty consistent.
How did you get the word out about the page?
We do all kinds of things. We have a callout on our home page and on our blog. We do guest posts with other bloggers to help spread the word about our brand in general, and I’m sure some of that spills over. Like I said before, we do campaigns and run Facebook ads that bring people to our page. And the sweepstakes we’re running right now asks people to share our page with their friends so we get enough fans to give away a Honda Fit, so we encourage our page to spread that way.
The sweepstakes is working really well. I think it’s because people don’t have to do much, and they have a chance to win a new car. Fans also love contests that let them be creative, like the caption contests I mentioned before or, like one time, I took about fourteen orange plush balls (we call them “wooballs”) and spread them around the kitchen and took a pic. The fans had to name all the places they could see a wooball. We did do a photo submission contest through Wildfire that only worked so-so. I think it was because people had trouble finding the tab. With this sweepstakes, we’re leading people there from the Welcome tab as well.
Did you do use Facebook ads? Learnings?
Yes, we have used ads. One benefit is that it really creates a community around your page. The fans that like you through ads often come back and comment and show support for your brand. Though, one interesting learning with CarWoo! is that, even though many of our new fans are car lovers, we are likely missing some fans who may not be huge gear heads, but who still need new cars. That’s why outreach methods like the sweepstakes help out. It gets our current fans to reach out to their friends, people who may love to use CarWoo!, but who’ve never heard of it because they don’t typically “like” car-related fan pages.
Is Facebook driving traffic, leads? Buzz?
Definitely! It drives hundreds, sometimes thousands of people to our site every day. Some of them flip through the blog, and others who are ready to buy a new car sign up. Plus, having so many great fans has opened other doors for us with great bloggers, or even manufacturers, such as Nissan, who recently invited me to test drive the new Versa.
What has surprised you the most about managing the CarWoo Facebook fan page?
I really have been surprised to learn how many fans get excited by quirky contests and interesting questions. I often don’t even have to promise a prize in order to get a lot of engagement, and I think that’s a mark of a brand that has people’s attention.
If you had only $500 and a few hours a week, what would you recommend to get some Facebook play?
I would recommend, with the few hours per week, creating solid content that’s going to interest your fans enough that they’ll want to engage and share it. With the $500, I’d buy a couple hundred worth of fun, but not super expensive prizes to give away in random photo contests and other fun things. I’d spend another couple hundred on ads, to attract new faces, especially when I’m running contests, and I’d spend the rest of the time making sure to promptly interact with and engage with my community.
What’s next for the CarWoo page?
We’re going to give away the Honda Fit when we reach 200K fans, and if this sweepstakes goes well and gets a good reaction from our followers, we’ll do another one for when we get to 300K fans. We’re marketing it a lot through social sharing, but we’re also driving ads, and reaching out to bloggers to let them know about the cool opportunity.
Here are my key takeaways:
- Getting fans to your Facebook page: It isn’t magic you have to invest in getting the traffic via ads, adding social plug-ins and leveraging your marketing channels.
- Clever images make your wall posts pop: A good images helps you get engagement and attention on a user’s Facebook wall.
- Big isn’t always better: Attracting fans via fun activities that offer small prizes might get you more “engaged fans” than huge contests, fans that like you not just for the big prize.
- Waiting for the big bang contest: Investing in a huge contest might make more sense once you have a solid fan base and your Facebook content is working well.
- Responsiveness and interaction gives your brand cred: You got to respond and engage with fans to gain trust.
- Finding a community manager that reflects your brands personality is key. Megan is quirky so it comes natural.
Well I hope you learned something or maybe even win a new car! I’m hoping to see the CarWoo Facebook page at a million soon.
I have done business (a tiny, ridiculously tiny project) with CarWoo back in the day when they were under 1,000 fans and just starting out. I did this story because it’s a good one, with the additional benefit that Megan would respond to my emails. Very refreshing!
Got any “personality works on Facebook” stories to share?