Tesla went viral with their Model 3 release. Here’s what we learned.

August 16, 2017

Tesla went viral with their Model 3 release. Here’s what we learned.

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So, you went viral… good for you! Hopefully, you had the foresight to be running your social listening and engagement through a tool that tracks your viral moment in real-time and measures your results (Psst… I’ve heard NUVI is pretty cool for that).

One of the most important aspects of having a viral moment is recognizing, in real-time, that it’s happening. United Airlines recently went very viral in a very, very bad way. It is estimated that they lost $1.2 billion in just 48 hours. However, despite the uproar on Twitter and other media outlets, it took United longer than it should have to make a response and deal with the problem. They were obviously not prepared for the virality of this event and it seemed to take them by surprise. Even if your company could care less about social on a day to day basis, it sure cares about the losses it would take from negative publicity, as well as the opportunity loss from not capitalizing on any positive activity.

Sometimes, however, the viral moment is planned for and expected. Tesla just went insanely viral with its Model 3 release. Was there any doubt that they would? Was there any doubt the event would spark a large conversation on social? What did they do to capitalize on the spike in conversations? I’m guessing the issue for Tesla wasn’t creating buzz, it was having the manpower to measure, capture and actually do something with it, in real-time and then continuing the forward momentum. Using the Tesla release, here are three ways NUVI helps your company make sense of your viral moment. 


1. Social Media Monitoring

We created a monitor to pull in mentions around the Tesla Model 3 release as they were used across various social networks, and as you can see from the chart, the mentions surrounding their brand and products had been pretty steady leading up to the announcement on July 30th. There was very little fluctuation in the engagement numbers in the weeks leading up to the launch. While this is to be expected under normal circumstances, you would expect the chatter would increase substantially in those days and weeks. This data suggests Tesla was not aggressively marketing this new release or doing much to stir up extra media attention. 

tesla model 3 virality

But with the actual release of the Model 3, the incoming mentions spiked beyond 10k in a very short amount of time. These mentions come from various social platforms like Twitter and Reddit. Blogs, news articles, and YouTube videos also contributed heavily to the number of mentions. Without a social monitoring tool, it would be nearly impossible to manually curate and make sense of all that data. The viral moment would come and go, leaving you the enormous task of organizing, analyzing and then reporting on the data. 

2. Analyzing and Reporting on the Data

In less than a month, there were more than half a million mentions. This information could take weeks to pour over and then how much longer to organize it into some coherent way so that you could begin to look for insights. With NUVI reporting the analyzation and organization is done for you, saving countless hours that could be better spent reaching out to customers and developing relationships with influencers. This report makes it easy for Tesla decision makers to see at a glance top influencers, number of mentions, and some examples of the conversations taking place on social media. NUVI reporting

With this data, Tesla could then reach out to these influencers to address concerns or answer questions. For example, if I were in Tesla’s marketing department, I would want to reach out to Frederick L. Andersen who only has 994 followers (at the time this was written) but whose tweet was retweeted over 10,000 times, and address the concern about “social responsibility” since it appears to be a hot topic for many people. This would be an excellent platform for Tesla to develop relationships with possible critics and publicy address complaints. If 10,000 people retweeted it, then it was seen by millions. Doesn’t get much more public than that.

From this report, Tesla execs would also see what other top influencers are saying about them following the release of the Model 3. Most of it is pretty good news; mentions coming from CNN and Fortune Magazine appear to be positive. However, CNBC’s article could potentially create a PR crisis for Tesla. The article is condemning Tesla factories for unsafe working conditions. This would be an excellent opportunity for Tesla to publish a blog responding to the accusations, or even better, make a short film showcasing their factories and interviewing workers. They could even invite CNBC to do the research in exchange for a new, more positive article.

3. Engage With Your Audience and Influencers

However, here’s the kicker; all the visualizations, all the reports, and all the data you collect are only as good as the actionable insights you are able to gather and the actions you take.

Once you recognize a viral moment, maybe you were even alerted Saturday evening of a spike in mentions, you need to be able to easily identify key influencers and turn them into brand ambassadors. Social conversations can move quickly, therefore identifying individuals by spread, reach, influence, and sentiment is crucial to taking those quickly fleeting viral moments and lengthening the positive effects for your brand. This can also be the difference between losing a few of the customers who were already on the fence with your brand and losing say, $1.2 billion.

For Tesla, this can be as easy as identifying a few major media influencers. However, in the day of smartphones, blogs, and Instagram Husbands, everyone has a voice and identifying the best influencers for your specific needs can be more difficult.  How does Tesla dig through the thousands of comments per minute to determine who they can partner with to be a brand ambassador? It’s all about having the right tool. Native tools, or solutions whose core competency is social publishing, just don’t cut it for capturing those precious moments. From our bubble stream, Tesla can reach out and engage with customers in real-time. Imagine the sense of satisfaction someone would feel as they tweet out to a major brand like Tesla and get a response in real-time? The quickest way to develop an insanely loyal audience? Engage with them. 

In the picture above, John Rampton has an influencer score of 80/100, so safe to say he has a few followers. In fact, you can see from the lines going out from his tweet, his audience shares his content. Had that been a negative tweet, it could spread like wild fire. From this dashboard, Tesla marketing could respond to him in real-time and prevent it from spreading.

Rinse. Rather. Repeat.

So the deed is done. You viral’d (or is it viraled?), measured, identified and reached out.  You did your job and now you can go back to perfecting the points on your handlebar mustache… or can you? For Tesla, it’s time to dive deeper into the data and a good place to start is with a better understanding of the trending hashtags and terms around the keywords they are already tracking.  In the example below, the center circle represents the key-words NUVI was actively monitoring around Tesla.The outer circles represent the trends that weren’t being monitored but are attached to the original mentions. These additional trends are a veritable gold mine of untapped insights. They are popular terms that wouldn’t be on the radar without a social monitoring tool segmenting the data.  Perhaps Tesla should start focusing on the 2020 model year, which they wouldn’t have known about until now.  

Well, there you have it.  Know when you or someone you love, someone you hate, or someone you love to hate is going viral. Avoid losing billions by using a tool to find influencers, engage with them and measure your insights. Have the right data at the right time to make the right decision for your social strategy.

Want to know more about what NUVI can do for your brand? Schedule a demo today!

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