They Did What!?: General Motors’ Content Marketing Bomb-Drop and Beyond


Just about two weeks ago, a mere days before Facebook officially went public, General Motors dropped a bomb on the social media world. GM would no longer be advertising on Facebook.

This news caused quite a stir online. After all, though the money GM spent on those advertisements is just a drop in the bucket when you consider how much revenue Facebook generates that way, Facebook advertisements are largely considered a given. Companies know that’s where their target market is hanging out, and so that’s where they concentrate efforts on trying to reach them.

GM was very clear about something, though: they would not be deleting their Facebook accounts. While they noted that they didn’t believe advertising on Facebook was very effective for them, they continue to embrace the platform itself.

In fact, GM has some pretty solid content in place, not just on Facebook, but across several channels. It’s obvious that they’re taking content marketing seriously. Could their split from Facebook advertising lead to a more concentrated push for content marketing?

Let’s look at what they’ve got in place right now, though, as far as a content strategy goes.

Web site

There are a couple of things happening content-wise that I really like on GM’s site.

First of all, you’ll notice on the left that there’s a drop down menu where you can select the brand of GM automobile that interests you. It’s a smart move not to lump them all together, which would almost certainly be overwhelming and cluttered. If I come here looking for info about Cadillacs and have to wade through too much content pertaining to Chevy and Buick first, I’m probably going to give up quickly.

The solution? Content segmentation. That’s what GM’s got going on there, and it’s almost certainly the perfect call for it.

On the right, you’ll see some blog content (or at least, blog content of sorts). GM never calls this “content bank” a blog officially, but the space houses articles not just about their cars specifically, but about other events and news from the automotive world (and how GM is at least on the fringes of those stories).

Interestingly enough, I noticed GMBlogs advertised on the Twitter page – it wasn’t immediately apparent to me on the web site.

You’ll also note that links to GM’s primary social media accounts are featured front and center, as well.

One more thing about the web site: the screen shot above is pretty much what you see when you arrive there. To me, this indicates a true focus on content.

Twitter

GM’s main Twitter account (there are others for each individual brand) is appropriately paced and very, for lack of a better term, human.

Let me explain that a little bit better. When you view their profile, there are images of all the people who post on behalf of GM, including their personal Twitter handles. When you read the tweets, it’s obvious that real people are doing the work – they’re responding to their followers, sharing pictures, content, and even just a friendly hello, posting several times throughout the day.

In short, it’s the kind of account that you want to follow because it’s friendly and fun, and promotes GM’s products without being overbearing.

Facebook

I’ll be honest: I really like GM’s content mix on Facebook. Timeline has made it easy to see what kind of content is being shared, and there’s a good balance.

Like Twitter, the Facebook account is updated only a few times a day. GM’s content strategy is strong, though, and they make those updates count by sharing a variety of content, including video, infographics, images, and articles – all with that same friendly, inviting tone.

And, again, while the content pertains to their products, there’s no hard sell.

So while GM may have given up on Facebook for advertising, they’re most definitely leveraging it for content marketing, and it seems to be working well for them. In a way, it seems to be getting back to the roots of content marketing, doesn’t it? Less money, more manpower?

Something to consider, anyway.

 

What do you think of GM’s content marketing efforts? Do you think they’re doing well, despite their recent Facebook controversy? Let us know what you think!

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Renee is a writer currently living in Central Pennsylvania (whatever you've heard is probably true). In addition to writing for CEM, she serves as the Managing Editor for Business 2 Community and pursues her dream of once again renting her own apartment (preferably in Philadelphia), if only to house her ever-growing collection of books. She received a BA in English from Susquehanna University and an MA in English from George Mason. She's still waiting for someone to write a song about her life so she can just quote the lyrics for her author bios. Catch up with her on Twitter , LinkedIn, or reneedecoskey.com.

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Comments

  1. I think the part this analysis missed, maybe because it’s such a successfully subtle element… everywhere there is content, there is at least *some* call-to-action to interact with a brand. Yes, interaction with GM itself is encouraged, too, but the motion is always toward a vehicle or brand. It’s definitely a soft-sell approach, which allows GM’s attempts at humanizing the brand to be successful. Car purchases are increasing in their consideration time, and GM realizes that. Stay in front of potential customers in a friendly and helpful way, and they’ll look to you first when they’re ready for that purchase.

    [Yes, I was a bit player on the redesign team for this iteration of gm.com. Mary Henige would know me as Christy Brewer. 😉 ]

  2. Renee,

    Thank you so much for your post and analysis. We are a content rich company, for sure. The first screen grab is from our gm.com consumer site. We include the five most recent news stories so consumers can learn more. In 2011, we published about 800 news releases on our media site. (http://media.gm.com/media/us/en/gm/news.html)

    As you indicated, we also have various corporate and brand blogs to further highlight our stories. I’m glad you think our content and tone is fun. Our goal has been to humanize our company. We’re filled with thousands of dedicated men and women; we’re not just a logo!

    Regards,

    Mary Henige
    @maryhenige
    Director, Social Media & Digital Communications
    General Motors

    • Hi Mary,

      Thank you so much for commenting! You certainly don’t see that with many big brands. 🙂

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post, and I really appreciate that additional insight that you’ve added. You also hit the nail on the head when you said about humanizing the company. GM is doing a fantastic job of that and other brands would be wise to follow suit.
      Renee DeCoskey was just talking about…How to Remove Friends+ From Facebook PhotosMy Profile

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  1. […] writing or content marketing. GM did this exact thing a few months ago, which Renee covered. They pulled their advertising dollars in favor of a more direct content marketing strategy on Facebook and […]

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