By: Zorro D In: Google Optimization29 Jun 2012
There are not many brands that can brag about their logo tattooed on their shoppersâ€™ bodies. Nor are there enough companies that can congratulate themselves on their online fan-base. Harley Davidson (HD) is one such brand, or must I say a cult brand. Having accrued over two million fans on Facebook, over thirty three thousand followers on Twitter, over eleven thousand subscribers on YouTube and over forty thousand friends on MySpace; Harley Davidson makes use of social media in an integrated and subtle fashion!
Harley Davidson is not a brand that will shout out its social media strategy for everyone to know…It doesnâ€™t even need to do that…On observation, however, we find that the social media strategy is a tad different from other players in the social arena. The company uses social space not to build brand awareness directly but, instead to encourage its fans to project brand loyalty openly, to take ahead HD lifestyle, to uphold HD ideals and thus to strengthen HDâ€™s reputation indirectly.
Letâ€™s hear what Randy Sprenger, Manager of electronic advertising and direct promotions, has to say about the companyâ€™s social media strategy…Here he answers the questions shot at him in an interview featured in Adweek magazine:
â€œOne of the greatest advantages for social media is the voice of the customer. Weâ€™ll post a question, such as, â€˜Are you in favor of darkening the bike out, blackening the bike out or shiny chrome?â€™ Weâ€™ll get customers to comment. It wonâ€™t be unusual to receive 300 to 500 comments. It helps us learn what people are saying outside the walls of Harley.â€
When asked as to whatâ€™s the real secret behind HDâ€™s social marketing strategy, Randy replied:
â€œOur idea is that we are close to the customer. And weâ€™re not just saying, â€˜We are close to the customer.â€™ We are actually riders. We participate in events as riders. I think one of the greatest strengths is the passion and enthusiasm here at the motor company for our riders. We always want to be out, talking to them â€“ whether it be at [big bike rallies like] Sturgis or Daytona Beach or a [local] rally. We want to shake hands with riders and hear what they have to say.â€
So, Harley seems to be tickling the emotional heartstrings with posts like – How old were you when you first dreamed of owning a Harley? You may say itâ€™s primarily about creating an experience around HD motorbikes rather than selling the product directly. And that does not necessarily go into saying that the company does not organize any polls or contests at all. Of course, it does and pretty lucrative ones… An official HD tweet reads something like – â€˜Win an HD motorbike!â€™ Now, whoâ€™s gonna turn that down?
Harley has always tried to pull fans to its own community – HOGS. HOG is the â€˜soulâ€™ of Hardley Davidson; a bustling community of HD fans; of people who eat, drink and sleep Harley! From participating in national rallies to getting access to HOG magazine, there are many benefits of being an HOG member. The Events section keeps the members posted about all upcoming Harley events. And then there are Local Chapters that let you connect with your local Harley buddies. So, itâ€™s all about bringing Harley fans together and sharing experiences. And with fans evangelizing on a community like this, it helps a lot with word-of-mouth publicity.
So far, Harley Davidson has focused on a consolidated social media strategy which means they do not separate out their social profiles on the basis of type/ model of automobile. And if a consolidated strategy is working well for them, they donâ€™t need segregated profiles. But, they will have to think over it in the coming times.
The company targets a customer-base that is mostly young and social space is where all the red-blooded youngsters are. And as Randy Sprenger concludes:
â€œTraffic at corporate websites is trending down,â€ he explained. â€œPeople are no longer going to websites for information. They are using feed readers, Facebook and blogs. â€œ
So, Harley had to be here… Riding on full throttle, ready to over-leap its competitors…
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