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Charles Turner on social media: one man’s Disco is another man’s Funk!


We had a long talk with Charles Turner, Group digital manager at Motul and with Alessio Esposito, Associate Director at Social Chain supporting Motul on social media activation. We discussed why social media are key in 2019, the love of fans for the Motul brand and why relevant content is gaining importance lately.  

Charles, we had a talk 2 years ago on Motul’s social media strategy activating your audience and fans. How does the new collaboration with Social Chain fits in?

We’re still at an early stage, putting the foundations in place to get to our end goals. These goals have been defined; we have built a three-year plan to get towards them. It is slowly going in the right direction. We are adapting a new strategy on social media and we are now learning from what we are doing on online to increase our reach, analyze and optimize the content which will indirectly impact our objectives. Motul is in the industry for 160 years, but this world is going through a digital transformation. As a leading brand in the niche market of premium oils, we need to stay in the lead, also on social media. We’re currently integrating our social strategy on different business levels, mainly by bringing the right content to the right audience. We are evolving to ‘social first’ content. You need a different content approach in America than in Russia to reach your fans. It’s a social transformation, because one man’s Disco is another man’s Funk!

Alessio, in the past Motul’s social content that was based on sharing pretty pictures and advertising video’s, do you think this kind of content is losing impact? 

Yes and no, we have been working on social media since their rise. We are currently operating in 4 different countries and keep our finger at the pulse. The social first strategy is quite a challenge for Motul. We have been focusing on a few quick wins for Motul. Most social media users are quite passive, they scroll through the pages or feeds, without really interacting with a brand, passing the time away. First of all, you still need excellent content. But we adapted the way we bring it: making storyboards, reworking content formats and creating ‘social hooks’, which has an impact on people’s online retention. Instead of one long video, we create five shorter more digestible video’s, f.e. top five tips from a mechanic here in Le Mans. We try to attract viewers by providing them interesting content, not just throwing beautiful adverts to our viewers, that’s not the reason people visit social media. 

Charles Turner on social media: one man’s Disco is another man’s Funk!

Alessio, what is a smart social strategy for a brand as Motul?

The former content strategy was purely focused on brand awareness and engaging users, which is good in the awareness phase. We are now converting the audience to active users; in the end, every company wants their fans to consider an active purchase of its products. The ultimate goal is to have clients who operate as our brand ambassadors like the Motul Superfans.We identified key touchpoints and corresponding types of content we create on events and partnerships. Motul is operating in one of the most exciting environments to connect with fans, which is a pleasure to work with.

Charles, what kind of tweaks are you using and how do you measure these results? 

There is no magical formula. We added some basic tweaks, such as subtitles in video because most people scroll without audio, ...  We have the traditional social metrics, such as views, engagements, impressions … The latter used to blind people. When I arrived at the company, impressions were important. Actually, your engagement rate is by far more important, but it’s more difficult to measure. The MotoGP videos generated 127 million impressions in 2017, which sounds great, but the question you have to ask is: ‘what is the impact on your business?’ It is a matter of aligning your social objectives to the local and international needs and the cultural differences between countries.

Charles Turner on social media: one man’s Disco is another man’s Funk!

Alessio, how does social media impact big brands in general?

Companies need to adapt to a new reality. Social media are here to stay. Every company needs to find its way, testing, learning and aligning to find its ‘sweet spot’. That’s the way we learn. If we keep on doing things the same way, over and over again we are not getting any smarter. Ultimately the question is: are you going for a quick win, or do you take the difficult path and cope with long term objectives?

Charles, we saw the huge rise of Social Media the last 10 years. What are the biggest changes lately?

When Facebook started you could talk to 60.000 people at once. It has grown so massive the last years one cannot physically see every post anymore. Algorithms are constantly changing; the behavior of users is changing, and the world is also changing every year. That’s why you have to ‘hook’ people in with relevant content, based on their interests. Understanding what actually excites them.

Alessio, in terms of future plans, what can we expect?

In general, the reason we love to work with Motul is their ability to test and their fearless ability to learn new things. We share the same vision here. As long as we both agree that social media is a constant way of adapting and learning, and we are with the first ones to adapt to these changes, that will be successful content the coming years.  We have seen an evolution from product news and PR messages to content with a purpose. Motul’s horizon is certainly widening. Motul has thousands of interesting stories worldwide we can share, and we can improve their storytelling. Ultimately what Motul does, is educating people, show what the brand is, how it effects people’s lives and make them love the product. The Motul brand is their strongest asset.  


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Charles Turner on social media: one man’s Disco is another man’s Funk!