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The healthy conversation that began in response to last week’s blog post about social media coverage and integration at Motorcycle Live served to highlight some of the common ways businesses in the motorcycle trade are struggling with Twitter.

This follow-up post will case study CCM Motorcycles and No Limits Trackdays to demonstrate how getting properly to grips with Twitter (in parallel with Facebook and Instagram) would increase audience reach and engagement. The intention is to provide both businesses, and the wider industry, with constructive insight that may help inform future social media activity.

Background and Feedback

The post about social media at Motorcycle Live talked about how the show’s marketing team and some of the exhibitors had done a great job with their social media activity. As well as praise for CCM’s superlative Spitfire stand and overall volume of social posting, the article mentioned how that activity didn’t make use of the #MotorcycleLive hashtag and included only a limited amount of sharing (there was no lack of it, but there could’ve been plenty more). The blog also quantified the proportion of exhibitors who didn’t bother to promote their social channels in the show guide.

Here’s some of the feedback…

Example: CCM Motorcycles

In the same thread, CCM said…

At the time of writing, CCM have 2,961 followers on Twitter, 6,179 on Instagram, and 17,800 on Facebook.

The company appeared to take an Instagram-led approach, posting first on that channel and then mirroring some of the same content on Facebook and Twitter. That’s a perfectly sensible way to go about things.

With perhaps only an odd exception, none of CCM’s own posts on any of its channels included the #MotorcycleLive hashtag. Doing so, particularly on Instagram and Twitter, would have given their content much greater potential reach (and therefore more opportunity for engagement).

The suggestion that CCM’s “key demographics” are most active on Facebook and Instagram needs looking at a little more. It’s certainly the case that the company’s Facebook and Instagram audiences are larger than on Twitter, but that doesn’t necessarily correlate with the activity level of the most relevant parts of those audiences.

CCM’s own high-profile brand ambassador, Carl Fogarty, is a prime example. He has 45,060 followers on Instagram, but 226,025 on Twitter. During the nine days of Motorcycle Live, Foggy posted six times on Instagram in relation to CCM, but nine times on Twitter (plus a number of times before and after).

It’s important to remember that while everything on Twitter can be shared (retweeted), only ‘public’ posts on Facebook can be, and there isn’t a native sharing function at all on Instagram (a third-party app such as ‘Repost’ is needed).

Example: No Limits Trackdays

No Limits Trackdays also joined the conversation, saying…

The elements that can conspire together to have the kind of positive impact on engagement (likes/shares/comments/click-throughs) that No Limits (and everyone else) was hoping for are audience (size/relevance/loyalty), content (quality/relevance/variety/originality), and the delivery method used to get that content in front of the audience.

No Limits already has 4,690 followers on Twitter, 11,269 on Instagram, and 31,320 on Facebook, so it’s not lacking an audience to engage with. It’s worth bearing in mind that incremental increases in audience size can seem less significant when starting from an already sizeable number, but that doesn’t make them any less valuable.

During the course of Motorcycle Live, as well as activity on Instagram (not analysed here), No Limits posted 68 times on Facebook. 25 (37%) of those were show related. Only one post included the #MotorcycleLive hashtag, and only one included a link to the No Limits website.

In the same period, 55 tweets appeared on the No Limits Twitter profile. Again, only one included the #MotorcycleLive hashtag. 80% of the tweets were created by automatic cross-posting from Facebook (46%), Instagram (27%), and the company’s email newsletter (7%).

If No Limits found that engagement with its large Facebook audience was very low or non-existent, the key conclusion to draw is that the content being posted didn’t spark interest and/or lend itself to being shared (or may have done initially, but then less so with time and repetition).

In the case of Twitter, the automatic cross-posting from other channels will have massively amplified the scale of the content problem. This is because content already performing poorly elsewhere was delivered in a very compromised way to the Twitter audience.

The double-edged sword of automatically ‘feeding’ Twitter was covered in October’s social media benchmark research

“It’s important to note that the average audience size of Twitter accounts cross-posting from Instagram is less than half the overall average. Facebook cross-posters retain a slightly larger audience size, but this has fallen by 50% since last year. In other words, people are increasingly turned off by the truncated, image-less tweets generated by cross-posting.”

Summary

The contributions from Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to the total combined audiences of both CCM and No Limits Trackdays are almost identical. For CCM it’s 11%, 23% and 66% respectively. For No Limits it’s 10%, 24% and 66%. A proportion of those audiences will be active on more than one channel.

Although in these two examples Twitter represents ‘only’ a tenth of the total combined audience, that’s still many thousands of people who’ve identified themselves as being interested in what the companies are doing. Communicating with them in a compromised way and/or with less attention than other channels is unnecessary and potentially damaging to brand reputations.

Automatic cross-posting to Twitter from Facebook and/or Instagram will kill engagement and audience growth on Twitter. Twitter needs to be managed directly, just as the other channels do.

Consistent inclusion of appropriate hashtags in posts can make a significant difference to their reach. This is especially true on Instagram and Twitter, and even more so when the hashtag relates to an event.

Conversation around high-quality, original and varied content is the foundation of social media marketing, regardless of channel selection. If content doesn’t engage people, it needs re-thinking.