NB: This is a viewpoint by Ranjani Raghupathi at Unmetric.
Like many other industries and businesses, social media isn’t the new thing to figure out for car rental brands.
These companies have gone beyond the trial and set-up stages and are now running business operations and marketing campaigns through their social media channels.
From immediate assistance on Twitter, interesting posts on Facebook or clever and shareable videos on YouTube; they seem to do it all.
Recently, we analyzed the social media performance of all the major car rental brands in the US, and while they all have their strong points, only one brand stood out as the top performer across the various social network sites.
Fan numbers is the most basic of metrics to measuring social media performance, and while many don’t give it much importance, others use it as an indication of popularity.
Growth of Enterprise in Facebook
Currently, Enterprise has over quarter million fans in Facebook and is growing at the rate of 34%.
Given that Enterprise is the largest car rental company in the world, this is not too surprising, but it is interesting to note that Enterprise Holdings’ other brands, National and Alamo come in at second and third which suggests a strong focus on social media for the holding company.
The growth rate for Enterprise on Facebook is remarkable, given that it is already the most liked car rental brand in the world. It’s growing at twice the rate of the sector average and lends credence to the fact that social media is a vital part of its marketing strategy.
Fan numbers might be one of the most basic metrics, but it says more about quantity rather than quality.
Unmetric’s unique "Engagement Score", which is calculated based on the number of likes, comments, shares and estimated impressions each post gets, and gives a fair comparison of the quality of the content on the page, regardless of the number of fans a page has.
Many brands are able to post regular content, but when it fails to elicit even a "meh" from the fans, it’s a pointless exercise. At the end of the day, we’re talking about car rental brands here, hardly the most exciting part of a leisure or business trip.
These brands have to do something pretty spectacular to hold the interest of fans, and often, posting lots of updates isn’t the way forward.
In this respect, Enterprise scores the highest average engagement in spite of having only 32 updates, while brands with hundreds of updates could not engage their fans to the same extent.
Incidentally, we also see Enterprise Holdings’ other brand, National, doing a fair job of engaging their fans too.
Enterprise's content strategy in Facebook
The content strategy employed by Enterprise integrates current events, brand information, travel tips, CSR activities and other uniquely branded posts.
Its series of "Family Road Trip Tips" have been a huge hit and the standardization in the images makes them easily recognizable from a branding perspective.
The quotes/ideas from employees brings out the human side of the company and is a content strategy that is shown to work very well for other "non-sexy" brands like UPS, GE and Dow Chemical. Similarly, this strategy has boosted their engagement above and beyond the sector average.
The post below about the Stanley Cup caught the attention of many and brought in an Engagement Score of 196 (the average post in the sector scored 35 and Enterprise had an average engagement score of 53).
Many brands are able to improve their social media engagement, thanks to their sponsorship or affiliation to more interesting things like sports, celebrities or events.
Enterprise is the official car rental brand of the NHL and their videos and Facebook posts are able to successfully leverage this for their content strategy.
The second most engaging post, with an Engagement score of 106, is one of their uniquely branded updates about brand information. It’s likely that this was a sponsored post as it received higher engagement than other posts categorized as brand information. Sponsoring these types of posts gives Enterprise an edge when it comes to generating higher fan engagement than its competitors.
The following post, with an Engagement Score of 75, is the perfect example of how engagement can be generated even without visual aids and gets the fans discussing and interacting amongst each other.
It uses the tried and tested ‘fill in the blank’ strategy, which although has been derided by some in social media, still works, as long as it isn’t overused and the blank resonates with the fan demographics.
Twitter as a customer service channel
While nearly all of Enterprise’s Facebook posts drive home fan engagement, their Twitter account is completely focused on customer service, so much so that 90% of their tweets are replies and the rest are re-tweets of positive brand call outs.
Proactive tweets (where a brand tweets out a message) are non-existent, they didn’t tweet a single one, which suggests that Enterprise sees Twitter as a conversation platform rather than a place to push marketing spiel.
In the time period analyzed, they replied to 815 of 1755 mentions (which is a little over 45%). Their replies are timely and mostly a request to DM, which sticks to the digital tradition of trying to take a conversation private, offline and away from public view ASAP.
They reply to tweets in an average of 110 minutes, the fastest among all competitors, but way off the reply times of airlines like JetBlue, Delta and American Airlines.
To round out Enterprise’s social media strategy, its YouTube channel has a good catalogue of videos and it is updated regularly with new content. Unlike brands which just add TVCs to their respective channels, Enterprise has created unique videos especially for YouTube viewers.
Once again, in keeping with their Facebook strategy, the videos integrate current events (hockey being their favorite due to their affiliation with the NHL) and company info into their uniquely branded videos.
Of the two videos added in the time period analyzed, one is ‘user experiences’ of their new car share option while the other is a TVC that shows how all employees are sports enthusiasts and how they keep their sportsmanship alive by playing for team Enterprise.
Enterprise has a well thought out strategy of using Facebook and YouTube for interacting and engaging with fans, while using Twitter as a customer service channel to address and resolve queries.
This combination of using all channels effectively in unison to create buzz around the brand has given Enterprise a clear social media supremacy among the car rental brands.
A clear content strategy that leverages human stories and the excitement of sport has helped the brand engage people in an industry that doesn’t normally get pulses racing.
Many other brands in both the car rental and other seemingly ‘non-sexy’ sectors can definitely learn from Enterprise.
NB1: Analysis methodology - all data has been compiled and analyzed from the Unmetric platform which tracks dozens of metrics to enable brands to benchmark themselves against competitors and their industry sector. All analysis was conducted for the months of May and June 2013.
NB2: This is a viewpoint by Ranjani Raghupathi, marketing executive at Unmetric.
NB3:Car love heart image via Shutterstock