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For those who doubt social media can play an effective role in local business marketing, check out Kuni  BMW, which is based in Beaverton, OR. The dealership has a headstart with its nameplate — BMW owners are well known for their sense of community. Many still flash each other’s headlights when they pass each other.

But what Kuni has accomplished by tying community events with Facebook and YouTube stands as a case study.The Facebook page alone has 4,690 fans, and many active users. Conversations are generally centered on all kinds of BMW lore (new models, classic cars, international BMW marketing, etc.).

The community tie-ins are what captured my attention. Recently, posts have featured promotion, reportage and photo galleries of Kuni’s “Greener Days and Wine Tasting party,” including many area wineries. There has also been an auction of a $35k BMW on behalf of the American Diabetes Association, a $250 gift certificate to Portland’s BlueHour restaurant, and drawings for $400 bottles of wine (a recurring theme that obviously appeals to Portland’s large wine-tasting community). Many of the events are on video and posted to YouTube.

Hidden in all this is an obvious opportunity to sell advertising and placement to other local area businesses. If you are a high-end restaurant owner, what could be better placement than being marketed to the proud BMW owner community?

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