Latest reports show that there are 25 cars for every 100 people in Sri Lanka. This suggests that there around 5 million motor vehicles in the country at the moment. The car market in this island nation is well popular for family vehicles, sedans, compact cars and SUVs. The usage is dominated by Toyotas, Nissans and Hyundais, apart from the numerous buses and three wheelers. In this article, we take a look at the Sri Lankan car industry in social media, the content posted on the social pages and their strategies.
There are many car agents and dealers in the country but their presence on the internet, let alone social media, is unsatisfactory. Only a few of such Companies have set up their own websites and the majority do not have any social media presence. Most people resort to third party websites such as buyandsell.lk, ikman.lk, hitad.lk and autolanka.com to sell, buy or rent a vehicle, since the cost of brand new vehicles is at a very high level.
Among the official agents for the various car brands, most of them were found to have active social media pages on Facebook and LinkedIn. Diesel and Motor Engineering PLC, the agents for Mercedes-Benz, Tata, Jeep and Chrysler, maintain a highly attractive and exciting Facebook page with constant posts about their vehicles. The photographs vary from their models, promotional campaigns to leisurely illustrations of relevance. The page also contains photo albums of recent events, an event calendar as well as a feedback option. The page has recently reached 50,000 fans and the Likes and comments for the posts too, reach high numbers. It is also commendable that the page replies to the user comments of its posts, showcasing how important the Company considers social media marketing.
Dimo Sri Lanka also maintains a separate Facebook page for careers at the Company. This page directly posts vacancy advertisements of its openings in addition to workplace photographs, interview tips and motivational quotes. The page has 25,000 Likes and also has its Twitter page with over 1000 tweets. Dimo’s YouTube channel contains the Company’s television commercials and promotional videos and has gathered over 2000 total video views.
Toyota, possibly Sri Lanka’s most popular car make, has two Facebook pages; one for the Company, Toyota Lanka and the other for Toyota Plaza, its showroom situated in Wattala. The main page posts photographs and illustrations of its cars and parts of its cars. Some of these posts are very informative and are aimed at educating the public on the use of various technologies and features. The page also posts photo albums and videos of recently held events.
The Toyota Plaza page is solely dedicated to posting albums of the latest vehicles available at the store. The page is nearing 500 Likes. The Company has also set up a LinkedIn page that shows an overview and products of the Company.
United Motors, the official agents for Mitsubishi and TVS, maintains an active Facebook page that promotes its vehicles and fuel products. More emphasis is given on the high-power cars and sports utility vehicles. The page has gathered 1,700 Likes and the posts attract few Likes and comments.
The Nissan Facebook page, which claims to be the official Sri Lankan page authorized by the agents – Associated Motorways – has a staggering 6.7 million Likes. This figure seems elusive considering Sri Lanka has only around 2 million Facebook users. The page is occasionally updated with various posts and these attract a number of Likes and comments.
Associated Motorways, the agents for Nissan, Renault, Suzuki and Yamaha, maintains a LinkedIn page to give an overview of the Company and its products. Peugeot Sri Lanka, operated by Carmart Limited, has its own Facebook page which posts photographs of its vehicles, events and updates in addition to videos and advertisements. The page has 3,600 fans and attracts a considerable amount of Likes and comments for its posts.
Among the other active pages when considering the Sri Lankan car industry in social media, are the Facebook pages of Land Rover, Jaguar and Micro Cars. The Land Rover page, with almost 10,000 Likes, posts attractive photographs and illustrations of its vehicles, both of past and present. The popularity of Land Rovers in Sri Lanka is evident with the high number of Likes that these posts attain. Jaguar Sri Lanka’s page posts photos and videos of its elegant beauties, highlighting their appearance and performance. The page was set up in May 2013 and has gathered 300 Likes so far.
Micro Cars Limited, Sri Lanka’s own car brand, maintains an active Facebook page that has accumulated almost 5,000 fans. Photographs, videos, photo albums and special offers are among the items posted on the page on a weekly basis. The page seems particular about sharing branch and contact details and highlighting event information.
Senok Trade Combine, official dealers of Audi, Volkswagon and BMW, have inactive Facebook and Twitter pages at present. These pages have mostly posted news items while they were active. Stafford Motor Company, dealers of Honda, have not updated their Facebook page since August 2012. Lanka Ashok Leyland, which has the most commonly seen bus type in Sri Lankan roads, has a Facebook page that has posted promotional photographs and photo albums of its vehicles. Instead of focussing on the commonly seen vehicles, the page has given prominence to special type and family-business oriented lorries.
United Motors’ Twitter page has been inactive after posting just a couple of tweets in June 2013. BMW Sri Lanka has posted attractive photographs on Facebook but the page has been largely inactive over the past few months. Wheels Lanka Trading, an importer and dealer of vehicles, has posted promotions and vacancy advertisements through its Facebook page but has been inactive for over a year.
It is apparent that few of the most prominent vehicle brands in the country are going about the concept of social media marketing very well. Posting attractive photographs and albums with regard to your brand is a sure way of building excitement among your fans, and most of these Companies have identified its significance. While most organizations have just one page for one platform, it is noteworthy that Dimo and Toyota have separate Facebook pages for Dimo Careers and Toyota Plaza respectively.
The effort taken by these Companies to get in touch with their fans through social media is commendable. However, they should pay more attention to providing customer service through its social channels. It is also advisable that other car importers and traders embrace social media and make use of social media marketing opportunities to increase brand exposure and expand overall sales.