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What Makes BMW the Most Engaging Car Brand on Instagram?

Instagram has over 500 million monthly active users and gets over 3.5 billion photos/videos liked daily, making it one the most popular social media marketing platforms in the world.

Source: Simply Measured
Source: Simply Measured

When it comes to mentions of car brands on Instagram, according to the Auto Insurance Center, BMW wins, hands down.

Source: Auto Insurance Center
Source: Auto Insurance Center

The brand has a huge lead over its competitors in terms of number of posts on Instagram — more that 260K over the next most-mentioned brand on Instagram, which is Jeep.

#BMW is also the most used branded hashtag on Instagram.

In the month-long data period (from Aug 18-Sept 18, 2016) for which we tracked BMW, the car brand posted 96 times, generating over 13 million in engagement. That means over 142K in engagement for each of their posts.Screen Shot 2016-09-20 at 6.26.47 AM

Here is a look at what tactics BMW is using on Instagram and how, combined with earned media, its owned account is helping the brand win on the platform.

BMW’s Tactics on Instagram

Posting the Content Type that Resonates with Followers

Of all the content BMW has posted on Instagram, 94% are photos. The brand understands that photos see more average engagement than videos on Instagram. Average engagement on their photo posts were over 2X the engagement that they received on their video posts, and have generated over 97% of the total engagement for the brand in this time period.

BMW’s most engaging post from the data period is a photo post with over 286k likes:

Posting Frequently

BMW has adopted a consistent cadence to posting content on Instagram for their followers. Being consistent helps keep the brand top-of-mind for the people who follow them, and also helps generate constant engagement, making it easier to identify peaks and lows and the reasons behind them.Screen Shot 2016-09-20 at 6.24.46 AM

Appealing to the Inherent Emotions of the Audience

Cars have been a source of design and inspiration for many, and in a way they encapsulate the technological advances we have made, from Ford’s Model T to self-driving cars. BMW understands that there is a nostalgia attached to such developments, and that this is one of the reasons why people collect vintage cars all over the world. The brand keeps this in mind when it creates content for its followers. Here, they posted a photo of the first BMW 02, which was launched 50 years ago.

Running Creative Contests

During this time period, BMW ran an engaging contest, where they put up the first ever live photo collection of all BMW models, aggregated by BMW’s followers. The best photos submitted were featured in the gallery. This shows that BMW is paying attention to earned media by inciting followers to get more deeply involved and capitalizing on the pattern of behavior they’ve been exhibiting anyway: showing off their cars.

How to Create the Perfect Post on Any Network

This is a very creative strategy to enrich customer experiences and at the same time create a strong and vibrant community of BMW fans, since recognizing your fans can be a strong motivating factor for getting them to share more content in the future. It also encourages others to share content in hopes of being recognized by a prestigious brand like BMW.

Re-gramming User Content

67% of all the posts BMW posted in this data period are re-grams from their followers. Re-gramming user content helps brands source fresh and engaging material. This is an especially winning strategy when you have an enthusiastic group of followers that is passionate about taking photos, just like car photographers or food and travel photographers.

How Are These Tactics Helping BMW? 

Having a consistent and well-crafted strategy to engage with followers on Instagram has paid off well for BMW. Their compelling visuals and strong messaging have created a very engaged audience on the network, with over 157.8% engagement as a % of followers for this data period.Screen Shot 2016-09-20 at 6.24.36 AM

BMW has also seen huge growth in audience numbers in this data period, gaining over 460K followers, which is a 5.6% jump in their total audience.Screen Shot 2016-09-20 at 6.24.27 AM

BMW has managed to gain an in-depth understanding of their audience on Instagram, creating a very strong focus on post quality and striking an emotional bond by recognizing fans in a unique way that does not end at just re-gramming.

What else do you think makes brands successful on Instagram? What differentiating strategies does your brand use? Leave us a comment below or let us know on Twitter, and download the Measuring Your Digital Brand Impact guide to learn more about building and growing your brand strategy. 

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Tripti Shrivastava

I'm a Social Media Analyst at Simply Measured. I love food, music, movies, and long walks. Let's talk about social media data!

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