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Social Media Strategies: Applications in Service Station Retail and Commercial Fuel Cards

NEW YORK April 26, 2012


Social Media Strategies: Applications in Service Station Retail and Commercial Fuel Cards


Social media is increasingly being considered as an additional marketing channel by fuel retailers and B2B fuel card issuers alike. This report examines the drivers behind social media, outlines key considerations and provides a wealth of case studies within and outside of fuel retail, and recommendations to ensure effective strategy implementation.Improve your internal business case for investing in social media by understanding how you can use it to interact with your customers more frequently.Implement a superior social media strategy by learning from pre-existing fuel retail Facebook, Twitter and YouTube campaigns.Understand what social media content works within the service station and fuel cards sector.Glean ideas for your social media strategy by uncovering the most innovative examples from global retail and banking sectors.Understand the strengths and weaknesses of marketing a B2B fuel card on the social web through competitor profiles.In some countries over 50% of the population engage with social media. For fuel retailers and B2B fuel card issuers, people- and content-based sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and blogs have all been employed thus far, with varying degrees of success.Facebook is the social media platform preferred by fuel retailers, with Facebook walls being used by companies to answer customer service queries, promote products, gauge customer sentiment and launch competitions. Best in class social media strategies include Petrol Slovenia, Statoil, Preem and Applegreen.Fuel card issuers have been slow to use social media. However, in the UK re-sellers including keyFuels and DCC owned-companies are using Twitter to raise their brand awareness and even prospect for new business.How has social media been used by fuel retailers and fuel card issuers so far? What lessons can be learned from their campaigns?How can I use social media to promote convenience store/fuels/car wash products? How should I answer queries on the social web?How can I drive web traffic to my social media pages? Which fuel retailers developed blogs, tourist guides and competitions using social media?Can fuel cards really be marketed using social media? What precautions should be considered before undertaking a B2B fuel card campaign?How do consumers use social media and what are the main platforms in terms of total registered users? Does this vary by country?







•Fuel retailers

– Employing social media for market research

– Improve customer service

– Utilize for marketing and public relations purposes

– Drive sales

– Customer loyalty and engagement

– Operational recommendations

•Commercial fuel card issuers

– Key findings

– Social media should be implemented by fuel card issuers for brand awareness and customer service

– Twitter should be the preferred platform for fuel card issuers

– Operational recommendations


•Social media is a major channel for businesses to engage with consumers

– Introduction

– Consumer engagement in social media is high and growing fast

– Social media has shifted power into the hands of the consumer

– Fuel retailers favour people- and content-based sites where traffic is high and consumers function socially

•A fast and responsive market research tool for fuel retailers

– Insight on competitors’ as well as own customers

– Provides a deep understanding of customer bases and activities

– A valuable medium for testing new product development

– Measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns

– Gauging customer sentiment to inform decisions

•Enhance customer service perception

– Fast and friendly responses to complaints in a public domain

– Use monitoring tools to listen in to online conversations

•Social media holds enormous potential for marketing and PR

– Conduct basic PR and marketing campaigns cheaply

– Link consumers to the brand via associated sites

– Use social networking sites to manage the company’s online reputation

– Use to promote products

•Blogs are a subtle way for fuel retailers to promote their brand and products

– The best blogs are content-focused and adopt an informative tone

– Use associated blogs such as motorsport and automotive blogs for brand promotion

•Selling related product

– Fuel retailers could adopt Facebook for direct selling related product

•Oil companies communicate with stakeholders via social networks

•Social media in a B2B environment

– Fuel card re-issuers in the UK using Twitter to recruit new business

– Businesses must beware of using Twitter carelessly


•Business objectives and target market

– How can social media fulfill business objectives

– The selection of the correct social media platform is vital

– Social media usage is not uniform

•Blogs raise brand profiles but have downsides

•Establishing an own brand social media platform

•Businesses must be wary of influential third-party social media platforms

•Businesses can engage with social media with varying levels of commitment

•Outsourcing social media

•Necessity of guidelines

•Social media monitoring addresses various factors

•Gauging the impact of social media operations

•Developing content and operating social media

– Fuel retailers must decide the nature of the content that will be present on their sites

– Service station ownership presents a problem for fuel retailers

– Major oil companies should consider promoting sub-brands on social media

– Summary of key considerations for retailers using key social media platforms

•Fuel card issuers weigh up advantages of social media

– Low penetration indicates fuel card issuers’ reservations about the sales benefit of social media

– Social media improves fuel card issuers brand presence and is another customer service channel

– Twitter is the preferable social media platform for fuel card issuers

– Summary of key considerations for fuel card issuers using key social media platforms


•Locally organized fuel retailers have a strong social media presence

– Applegreen has a joined-up approach to social media

– Aral ‘s Facebook page for its Petit Bistro cafe concept

– OKQ8 adopts a seasonal approach to its social media product promotion

– OMV Romania uses Facebook to promote its full service station products and services

Orlen Germany

– Petrol Slovenia has incorporated customer comments and queries into its primary website

– Q8 rewards customers that check-in to its forecourts on Foursquare

– Supermarket retailer Tesco has a Twitter account for other parts of its business, but not fuel

– Leading Irish fuel retailer Topaz has a presence across a range of social media

– Neste predominantly uses its Facebook page for site updates and fuels marketing

– Petrom’s social media strategy is centered around its Rediscover Romania campaign

– Repsol’s social media activity focuses on brand rather than product

– Statoil organizes its social media output on a country-specific basis

•Major direct fuel card issuers have little presence in social media

– Independent fuel card issuer fuelGenie operates a Twitter account, but it is rarely updated

– Fuel retailers with a social media presence have to be able to respond to fuel card enquiries

– ARKTIK Tweeted about its new partnership with euroShell

•In the UK, commercial fuel card re-sellers are very active on Twitter

– Fuel card re-sellers are using Twitter to actively sell

– Direct fuel card issuers need to address the possibility of social media customer service conflicts

– Re-sellers using Twitter use automotive and service station news stories to attract customers

– BP fuel card re-issuer Be has a Facebook and a Twitter account

– BWOC uses questions on Twitter to engage with customers

– FleetCor-owned Business Fuel cards has a Word Press blog

– The Fuel Card Company also pulls into fuel cards and automotive information into a magazine


•Fuel retailers should take their lead from the wider retail environment

– Retailers have successfully used social media for consumer insight, customer service and sales

– Retailers have used social media channels to collect pre and post-launch feedback

– Retailers have used social media to deliver enhanced customer service

– Retailers have used social media to drive customer engagement and loyalty

– Retailers have used social media for PR and to create innovative marketing campaigns

– Retailers have used social media to highlight charitable initiatives

– Retailers have used a variety of social media platforms to drive online sales

•Financial services social media strategies suggest the medium would work in fuel retail

– Transparency and openness are common in financial services social media

– First Direct streams live feedback regarding its customer service onto its website

– Australian bank Westpac addresses issues that are raised as soon and as visibly as possible

– Saffron has been an unusual social media success when compared to other UK banks

– American Express has user-generated content on its Facebook page to promote its card reward program



•Further Reading

•Ask the analyst





•Table: Four categories of social networking sites

•Table: Summary of the four largest social networking platforms, 2011

•Table: Applications of the main social media platforms

April 2011

•Table: Social media monitoring tools




December 2010

•Figure: OKQ8 advert

•Figure: Gap logos

•Figure: Neste uses Facebook to announce new service station openings

•Figure: Repsol’s fictional persona Lua’s Twitter page

•Figure: Dell’s fictional persona Dr Ashley’s Twitter page

•Figure: Preem’s Evolution Diesel blog

•Figure: OMV promotes its food service offer on its Facebook page

•Figure: Applegreen’s blog

•Figure: Shell’s Twitter account @ShellCareers

•Figure: Fuel Card Services Twitter account @FuelCardServices

•Figure: Visitors to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, segmented by age group (%)

•Figure: Petrol Slovenia ‘Tell Petrol’ web application

•Figure: How businesses with different social media strategies can divide their time

•Figure: Applegreen’s Facebook competition

•Figure: An Applegreen food-service related Tweet

•Figure: Aral’s Facebook coffee promotion

•Figure: Aral uses Facebook for customer feedback

•Figure: OKQ8’s Facebook car wash promotion

•Figure: OKQ8’s Facebook competition leaderboard

•Figure: OKQ8’s YouTube channel

•Figure: OMV promotes food service alongside lubricants on its Facebook wall

•Figure: Orlen’s ‘Oscar’ cartoon character on Facebook

•Figure: Orlen promotes automotive-related films on its Facebook wall

•Figure: Orlen’s Oscar blog

•Figure: Petrol Slovenia’s YouTube channel

•Figure: Petrol Slovenia’s ‘Tell Petrol’ website functionality

•Figure: Tesco’s Twitter account promotes fuel discounts

•Figure: Tesco Opticians and Tesco Mobile Twitter accounts

•Figure: Tesco’s Customer Care Twitter account

•Figure: Topaz promotes car wash offers on its Facebook page

•Figure: Topaz openly handles complaints on its Facebook wall

•Figure: Topaz’s car name Facebook competition

•Figure: Topaz’s YouTube channel

•Figure: Neste uses videos on its Facebook wall

•Figure: Neste advertises its Motorist Panel on its Facebook wall

•Figure: Petrom’s Rediscover Romania website

•Figure: Repsol’s Facebook ‘Repsol Guide’ page

•Figure: Repsol’s Twitter motorsport account

•Figure: Statoil Sweden’s Facebook page

•Figure: Statoil’s corporate Facebook page

•Figure: fuelGenie Twitter account

•Figure: Topaz fields fuel card questions on its Facebook wall

•Figure: ARKTIK Tweeted about its euroShell partnership

•Figure: Fuel Card Services Tweets pictures of its employees

•Figure: Be Fuel Cards Facebook page

•Figure: BWOC fuel cards Facebook page

•Figure: Fuel Card Expert and Fuel Card Service automatic tweets

•Figure: Business Fuel Cards blog

•Figure: The Fuel Card Company’s motoring magazine

•Figure: Dell’s IdeaStorm

•Figure: Best Buy’s customer assistance Twitter site

•Figure: B&Q customer stories

•Figure: Waitrose’s YouTube channel

•Figure: The Body Shop’s US Facebook profile

•Figure: ASOS’s shop on Facebook

•Figure: Dell Outlet’s Twitter account

•Figure: Uniqlo’s Lucky Counter initiative

•Figure: First Direct is upfront about the negative, using it as a tool with which to engage with clients

•Figure: Westpac uses Twitter to address customer concerns directly and personally

•Figure: Saffron BS is followed on Twitter by an impressive percentage of its customer base

•Figure: American Express provides a forum for peers to discuss how they spend their reward points




Companies mentioned

Atos S.A., Banco Santander, S.A., Google Inc., Hutchison 3G UK Limited, Kingfisher Plc, Marks and Spencer Group plc, MOL Group, Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc, Yahoo! Inc.




To order this report:

Gasoline Stations Industry Social Media Strategies: Applications in Service Station Retail and Commercial Fuel Cards

Market Research Report

Industry Analysis and Insights


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US: (805)-652-2626

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