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How Chevrolet Uses Snapchat To Turn ‘Love At First Sight’ Into Dealership Visits

The goal of Chevy’s social media marketing is to get consumers prepped before they’re in a car-buying mindset.

On Monday, Chevrolet presented Snapchat users with a branded filter designed to initially build brand affection — the filter was dubbed “Love At First Sight” — but there was a more practical goal in mind: getting people into their local Chevy showrooms to check out the 2016 Cruze model.

So while the filter placed heart-shaped sunglasses on the Snapchat user that they could send to others, the concept is in keeping with the car brand’s overall social media strategy, said Jamie Barbour, manager, Chevrolet Digital & Social Advertising, at General Motors, following a panel session at Ad Age’s Digital Conference.

Barbour was joined on her panel with recent Chevrolet partners Andy Cohen, host and executive producer of Bravo TV’s Watch What Happens Live, and Steve Ellis, Co-Founder and CEO of social media celebrity platform WhoSay.

In February, Chevrolet enlisted WhoSay to gather nine celebrities to help sponsor #DayitForward. The effort, which culminated on February 29th, promoted the idea of “giving back” to one’s community.

Chevy Cruze's Snapchat filter
Chevy Cruze’s Snapchat filter

The feel-good program generated over 150 million “highly-targeted” impressions and 31 million video views, a WhoSay representative told GeoMarketing. But as Barbour told us at the conference, the effort, like most of its social media campaigns, was meant to show that it can do well for its local dealers by doing good widely.

GeoMarketing: What was the goal of the collaboration with WhoSay and Bravo? Also, Bravo’s Andy Cohen is outrageously funny and unpredictable, but from a brand, was their any concern about possibly being too outrageous?

Jamie Barbour: That wasn’t a concern. The objective of the campaign was that we wanted to explore the idea of “goodness.” We wanted to start a movement for people to take an extra 24 hours and choose something good for someone else. We knew that we needed to use influencers to help get us at scale and enter into conversations that Chevrolet doesn’t normally talk in right now or necessarily have the right to talk in.

From there, there are millions of influencers now. With WhoSay, we were able to narrow it down to the right influencer to not only collaborate with Chevy, but to help put out an awesome message. And Andy was an awesome fit.

In addition to building brand affinity and a connection with influencers in social media, is there also a practical aspect of getting car buyers into a dealership as well?

Most definitely. We’re always looking for that attribution. We want people to know that Chevrolet is also behind this. Although our vehicle might not be in the forefront, we still want them to have that little takeaway. If they are looking to purchase a car, maybe they’ll remember the Andy Cohen spot and they’ll think, “Oh, Chevrolet!” So, most definitely, we want people to at least look at us.

Chevrolet, like a lot of brands lately, have been experimenting with Snapchat. Do you consider that platform to be an experiment that you’re still trying to figure out the value of, or do you see it as a necessary extension of your overall social media program?

It’s absolutely necessary to be part of Snapchat right now. Actually, yesterday we had a lens on Snapchat for the new Cruze called “Love At First Sight.”

At the same time, we’re definitely playing around. We don’t want to rush into it either. You have to be smart and strategic and understand and listen to the Snapchat audience in general.

Is there any way to judge whether Snapchat resonates with car buyers and gets people into the showroom? What sort of metrics can you look at to tell if the use of Snapchat is working?

With Snapchat, it’s hard to get any deep metrics right now. We’re seeing that we’re getting a lot of snaps back when we showcase from behind the scenes of our vehicles. So little sneak peaks of cars that are launching soon, particularly our performance vehicles — Corvette and Camaro — have a lot of appeal on Snapchat.

People log on and they can’t get enough and how good looking our cars are. It’s fantastic to talk to our owners and our Chevrolet community that way. So for the moment, at the very least, Snapchat provides another level of understanding and listening to those consumers who aren’t necessarily ready to buy, but are ready to listen and look at what we’ve got. That’s one way we can to get them interested once they are in that buying mindset.