BMW: Ultimate Fan Engagement — Live from Member Meeting 30

Coverage of this session by Evan Perkins of Connect with him by following him on Twitter.

3:50 —'s Erin McDaniel introduces BMW's Social Media & Emerging Technologies Manager, Kate Alini.

3:52 — Kate: We, the social media leaders, have the responsibility to deliver the ultimate content each and every time!

3:53 — We need to engage, activate, and reward our fans. Engagement programs come in all shapes and sizes, and we have both planned programs and also un-planned programs.

3:54 — Kate: #Un4gettable Weekend was centered around a new car release in the 4 Series. It was important to engage the hardcore fan, especially because the 4 Series was replacing the 3 Series.

3:56 — We gave two of our biggest fans a weekend with the car that included drives, track time, and lots of great experiences. In order to find these super fans, we used two criteria:

  1. Are they a true fan?; and,
  2. Are they knowledgeable about the 4 Series?

We did this under the guise that they were going to be part of a documentary.

3:58 — Kate: We created a full weekend using story boards, shot lists, social cadence, and copy. We treated it like an event.

3:59 — Our first super fan could tell the type of leather in a vehicle simply by its smell! We showed up and interviewed him, meanwhile we snuck a 4 Series into his garage. He spent the entire first day driving the vehicle around a professional race track. Then, the second day, we let him have time alone with the car.

4:00 — Kate: Our second super fan would wear head-to-toe BMW gear at motocross events. He was able to do some wonderful scenic drives and also drive laps on a racetrack. The next day we tried to give him time alone with the car, and he requested to go back to the racetrack!

4:02 — This allowed us to get tons of content in real-time to share with our audiences. We took videos, photos, etc., and were able to post all about the event across all of our channels. We also shared this content with our super fans, giving them a USB drive at the end of the weekend full of our content.

4:02 — Kate: Resulted in 2.8M impressions, 119K clicks, and 1,000 new followers!

4:03 — We also produced two-minute recap videos and included some of the video in a national TV spot, surprising our fans as they viewed themselves on a commercial.

4:04 — Kate: Our first super fan blogged every single detail about the weekend. Nate, our second fan, tweeted and posted throughout the weekend.

4:05 — Key learnings: We did both fan weekends on the same weekend. In the future we will not overlap. We also need to have a creative person at home-base ready to work with our agency to get content published in real-time.

4:07 — Kate: Our second engagement was the 4219Eli. Eli is a 4-year old BMW enthusiast! He had a great, imaginative dream about a particular type of car, and they took fan-created content and asked their followers to create graphic depictions of Eli's dream, called the 4219Eli. BMW also did an official rendering and posted it.

4:09 — The response was so immediate and widespread — all organic. We got international press coverage, over 11M impressions, and through-the-roof Facebook stats.

4:10 — Kate: One program was planed, the other was low-level and reactionary, but the common thread is that they need to deliver on providing great experiences. Our programs ought to come in all shapes and sizes, just like our fans!

Q & A

Q: Can you talk about the process of finding your ten finalists for your Super Fans?

A: Kate: We didn't do a call out but kept it under the radar. We looked manually through our channels for very active and vocal fans who already knew about the 4 Series. This left us with only a few dozen candidates, and we got it down to ten.

Q: Do you have a strategy in terms of follow up with these campaigns and their participants?

A: Kate: One of our super fans gets in touch with us about every week! We keep up with both fairly regularly.

Q: Regarding Eli's story, have you had other fans post similar types of stories expecting a similar response?

A: Kate: That particular article was on an objective news source, so they didn't expect us to respond. It is important to monitor other channels as well as our own, but we didn't see a big spike in asks (we get lots already!).

Q: The first campaign you shared was around a new product launch, but what other events do you try to get fans involved with?

A: Kate: We've done a few events around launches, but we've also done campaigns to raise money for donations. We sponsor the Olympics and built the bobsled for the USA bobsled team. Really any way we can engage our fans.

Q: For the 4 Series, how did your community respond? Did they expect to have something like this happen?

A: Kate: It was the first time we've ever done a program like this around the 4 Series. It was very new for everyone.