Case study: Metro Honda’s Union County School Pride Project

Background of Metro Honda and their social media

Metro Honda is located in the town of Indian Trail, NC on the southeast corner of Charlotte NC. The majority of Charlotte resides in Mecklenburg County but Indian Trail is in Union County which is the fastest growing county in the US. A couple years back, Metro Honda made a commitment to focus their advertising and marketing to Union County as opposed to going head to head with the 9 other Honda dealers surrounding Charlotte. In November 2010, they started their Facebook page and did a several contests during the holidays to build their local likes to almost 1000 people.

  • Union County School Pride Project (UCSPP) outline
    1. The launch date was set for January 18th, 2011 with and end date of April 5th 2011. At the time, Metro Honda’s Facebook page had 1037 likes.
    2. The contest was geared towards public schools of any level inside Union County which consists of 52 public schools. Grand prize was $5000 for the top school plus other prizes were won during weekly contests.
    3. The basic concept of the contest was schools needed to accumulate the most points during this 3½ month contest. One point was accumulated for each person going to Metro Honda’s Facebok page, liking the page, and the posting the school they were representing. We allowed one vote per child attending a UC public school.
    4. Points were also accumulated during weekly contests.
    5. Schools also accumulated points by donating canned goods delivered to Metro Honda.
    6. Last way schools accumulated points was by having people check in on Foursquare and Facebook Places at Metro Honda.
  • Contest goals
    1. Increase LOCAL likes on Facebook page.
    2. Show commitment to community.
    3. Create buzz in the community.
    4. Create dialogue with their Facebook community.
    5. Increase traffic to dealership blog.
    6. Post contest goal – ensure that the level of engagement stayed at a similar level.
  • Implementation
    1. Pre contest
      1. We contacted the Union County Public School office to gain permission to put on the contest.
      2. We collected all the principals email addresses of the UC public schools.
      3. We also collected all the email addresses we could of teachers in Metro Honda email database.
      4. We emailed principals and teachers three times before the launch date detailing the information of the contest.
    2. Contest launch
      1. We emailed principals and teachers the day the contest launched.
      2. We did an email blast to people that lived in Union County telling them about the contest.
      3. We interacted daily with people to stimulate interest.
    3. A few of the weekly contest (during the weekly contests, schools got points for the overall contest as well as competed for weekly prizes)
      1. People were asked to create videos of what the money would mean to their school and why they loved their school. Then, people were asked to like the videos for their school and the schools got one point for each like on each of their videos. Prize was 4 brand new PC’s donated by the local Best Buy.
      2. People were asked to submit a school themed recipe (i.e. Panther Pecan Pancakes) and then people were asked to like the recipes and schools got a point per like for their school recipes. Prize was a catered lunch for the winning school’s faculty and staff donated by a local restaurant.
      3. We posted a picture of each school in an album and people were asked to like the picture of their school and the school got a point for each like in the overall contest total. The schools with the top 8 number of likes during that week were asked to send a representative to compete in the “Settle it on the Courts Challenge”. This event was held on a Friday night and the representatives competed for 3 brand new PC’s from Carolina Courts who also donated their facility for the event. The representatives competed in the following 5 competitions to determine a winner:
        1. Dodgeball
        2. Free throw shooting
        3. Trivia
        4. Simon says
        5. Salad eating
      4. We had a Facebook friend appreciation night and schools were able to accumulate points by having people attend and vote in person for their school. Gift cards were awarded to some attendees and one new PC was awarded to a school by the luck of the draw.
    4. Contest conclusion
      1. The reason we chose April 5th as an end date was that we had a three week opportunity to accumulate points during the NCAA basketball championships. People were asked to submit brackets and point values were awarded for each win they predicted. This was the last opportunity for schools to earn points and a natural with the popularity of college basketball in the area.
      2. On Wednesday April 6th, the General Manager (Greg) and General Sales Manager (Kris) of Metro Honda delivered a check for $5000 to Sun Valley Middle School. The principal of the school got all the kids to assemble in the gym and there was an award presentation that was captured on video.
      3. A week after completion, we designed a scavenger hunt to show appreciation for the kids hard work. The scavenger hunt rules said they had to take pictures of the schools and the sponsors of the contest and post them on Facebook, most pictures won. The prize was a Xbox 360.


  1. Metro Honda added over 6000 new local likes on their Facebook page with 5000 of them coming in the first month of the contest.
  2. Facebook insights from 1/18/11 to 4/5/11:
    1. 6035 new likes with 84% living within 25 miles the dealership.
    2. Post views – 2,765,886
    3. Post feedback – 44,178
    4. Total tab views:
      1. Wall – 56,605
      2. Video – 9,346
      3. School pride – 5,803
      4. UCSPP recipes – 4,657
      5. Photos – 1767
      6. Info – 1317
  3. Schools collected and dropped off at Metro Honda over 18,000 canned goods that were donated to the local food bank in Union County NC.
  4. People checked in on Foursquare and Facebook Places a total of 87 times during the contest.
  5. User generated content:
    1. Pictures posted on Facebook wall during contest – 487 pictures
      1. Example:
    2. Blogs submitted – 138 blogs
      1. Example:
    3. Videos created and posted on wall – 91 videos
      1. Example:
  6. Countless expressions of appreciation from people in the community.
  7. Blog traffic averaged 3900 unique visitors a month while the contest was going on.
  8. Settle it on the Courts Challenge
    1. 513 people showed up on a Friday night to watch.
  9. Facebook Friend appreciation night
    1. 239 people showed up at Metro Honda on a Wednesday night.
    2. A local band performed on the dealership floor for free.
    3. Police and fireman came to perform child safety seats checks.
  10. Total prizes awarded:
    1. $5000 grand prize from Metro Honda
    2. 18 brand new computers were donated by local business and given away as prizes.
    3. Lunch was donated by a local restaurant for one school’s faculty and staff.
    4. $500 was donated by Metro Honda to a middle school afterschool program. They had to videos to win.
    5. $250 was donated by Metro Honda to an Elementary teacher for her class. They had to submit videos to win.


  1. What we learned
    1. People are very passionate about their schools but the passion level decreased as the grade levels increase. Of the top ten vote getting schools, seven were Elementary schools and three were Middle schools with none being High schools.
    2. We realized just how the community was taking notice when local companies like Best Buy starting calling the dealership to make donations.
    3. The amount of canned goods collected was phenomenal. Adding a social good twist to any contest adds tremendous value.
  2. Mistakes we learned from
    1. We should have done more at launch to get more schools involved. A month into the contest we were only having about 15 schools participating on a full time basis.
    2. During the recipe contest, we had people email us the recipes and then we posted them on a permalink under the school’s name with links to vote and to view the recipe. We were receiving 15 to 20 a day and when we posted them in batches, a couple of people considered it spam. The numbers were very small but our goal is to isolate anyone. On a positive note, we had many people come to our rescue and say it was not spam and it was a small price to pay to win the contest.


Check out videos from the contests.

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