NEW DELHI: The just-ended Auto Expo in New Delhi saw exhibitors stepping up their use of social media – from live-streaming to influencer marketing – as a way of reaching and engaging would-be car buyers.

Twitter reported that around 2.9 lakh tweets were generated during the course of the week-long event, with the highest engagement coming from Tata Motors, BMW India and Audi India.

Taranjeet Singh, business head at Twitter India, explained that the platform enabled brands to build a live connection with customers. "Video was one of the key features and played a prominent role in this year's brand campaigns on Twitter," he told the Economic Times.

So, for example, Jaguar used live streaming app Periscope to broadcast the launch of its new XE model, while Mercedes used TweetCam, Twitter's tweet-activated camera, to give users a personalised tour of its pavilion.

BMW, meanwhile, unveiled several new models and ensured its "future of luxury" trended on Twitter. "Our social media strategy was to create interest and conversations for both brand BMW and the product launches," explained Kapil Arora, president of Ogilvy North, BMW's agency.

The role of video was likewise highlighted by Manveer Singh Malhi, chief digital officer at digital agency Triature, who had observed spending going into new areas.

"A large share of media budgets was directed to influencer marketing and creating user generated content from the event," he said.

"Brands also got influencers with high following to seed content on their social media platforms live from the event and, using [the] same personalities, to help in creating user generated content," he added.

Facebook was in evidence too, as brands deployed FB Live and 360 degree video alongside carousel ads and lead generation ads.

"We also had a partner drive engagement by using the Instagram anti-gravity booth to showcase their launches," said Prasanjeet Dutta Baruah, business head, Tech-Telco, auto and Finserv for Facebook India and South Asia.

Away from the event itself, Ford is serving targeted advertising on social media to customers for up to ten days after a showroom visit – that being the length of time usually take to make a purchase decision.

Anurag Mehrotra, executive director - marketing, sales and service, Ford India, added that the look-alike feature on Facebook "helps us be more targeted and effective and delivers really good results".

Data from Economic Times; additional content by Warc staff