BMW adopts fan page on Facebook as official presence

BMW has taken control of a Facebook page set up by a fan of the car brand to use as its official presence and capitalise on the 1m people within the pre-existing community.

The company is using the page as a hub for fans to talk to each other, while promoting new models, information and pointing users towards local BMW pages, which have more detailed information on the cars specific to each region.

The page, originally set up as an unofficial fan site, has more than 1.4m fans. The car giant follows Coca-Cola, which also opted to take over a page created by fans on Facebook rather than trying to start a community from scratch.

BMW is also one of the latest brands to look after its social media activity in-house, not through an agency, choosing instead to work directly with Facebook.

Tino Kuehnel, social media evangelist at BMW Group, said the company started the process by getting in touch with the fan, and that good communication was key to getting co-operation.

“We got in touch with the fan first and carried on that contact until we were able to tell him exactly what we planned to do with the page. This meant we received really good co-operation,” said Kuehnel.

Coca-Cola’s page is still run by the original fans Dusty and Michael, with the help of the drinks company, and has amassed more than 9.3m fans.

Neil Kleiner, head of social media at Havas Media, said such moves can be a valuable way for brands to build a meaningful community on Facebook, but they need to make sure they don’t take over entirely.

“When I worked with Coke on that situation, it was important it didn’t completely take over and that it was very much a partnership,” said Kleiner. “Brands looking to do this need to make sure they play a relevant role and help the fans make it a better managed community.”

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