Jack reveals why social media is good for us
“My aim was to create content that gives people a flavour of a life down under with Solihull’s finest”
This month I want to talk about social media. For those of you already rolling your eyes, please stay with me, there is Land Rover content I promise.
Unless you have been living under a Land Rover for the past ten years (actually perhaps not entirely unlikely for some of you) I should think everyone has had some degree of exposure to social media. For those of you not in the know, essentially it is a website or web-based application that enables users to create and share content or to participate in social networking. We are talking Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and Youtube (plus many more!).
My introduction came via Myspace – does anyone else remember that? Then, like everyone else, I moved onto Facebook. It was a time when camera phones did not really exist, so thankfully my misspent time at university remains much of a mystery with little by way of incriminating evidence.
Whilst Facebook may have started as a way of keeping in touch with people you know (and in some cases, people you either do not know or never really liked), over the years it has grown to include common interest groups for all manner of things, including Land Rovers. On discovering the existence of such groups I, of course, subscribed to all of them. Now, when I logged on, no longer was I greeted with the pictures of friends and family, in their place were scores of Land Rover pictures. At last, I had found my slice of social media heaven. Trouble was, all my friends were also finding their newsfeeds full of my Land Rover ‘likes’, ‘comments’ and uploads. My pictures of Grandma (my Series IIA) were usually met with a couple of ‘likes’ (thanks Mum – speaking of which, at what point do you accept that friend request from your parents?), but the rest of my friends were getting increasingly tired of it all.
I decided it was time to turn my attention to another outlet, and so came Instagram – a platform that focuses on the visuals rather than all the other stuff you are subjected to on Facebook, like cat memes. I started my account as a bit of a repository for all my random stuff, which included a heavy blend of Land Rovers in various stages of undress. All the pictures were taken using my mobile and I honestly had no idea what I was doing. Initially most of my followers were friends from Facebook so it seemed there really was no respite for them.
Three years later and I almost have my head around the intricacies of Instagram and I like to think I have built up an account that offers my followers something a bit different from all the other Land Rover-related accounts out there, and trust me, there are many. My aim was to create my own, original content that gives people a bit of a flavour of a life down under with Solihull’s finest. I now have nearly 100,000 followers. It would seem there are many Land Rover fanatics out there.
You would be forgiven for thinking it is easy taking photos and sticking them up, but it really does become quite an involved process. I now use a DLSR camera and it seems I am forever planning the next photoshoot. I guess it is lucky that Land Rovers are so photogenic and I enjoy this new-found creative release. I have been really surprised by the people I have got to know across social media as well as the collaborative opportunities it has opened up for me. Over the last couple of years, I have worked with a real mix of companies including a brewery, toy makers, parts suppliers, clothing lines and vehicle manufacturers. Without doubt, one of the highlights was being invited by Jaguar Land Rover to sail with their BAR team in Sydney Harbour as well as getting my hands on the all-new Discovery and F-type Jaguar.
All that on the strength of an Instagram page… it is surprising, but I think it goes to show that companies are increasingly recognising the power of social media in promoting their brands. On that basis, perhaps JLR should give me the keys to the all-new Defender when it comes out. #wishfulthinking
Do not get me wrong, I do not think social media Land Rover pages are a replacement for a subscription to LRM or even some of the internet forums – the Series II forum is an amazing hub for technical information, for instance. However, I do think social media pages are a great way of sharing your passion with others and seeing what everyone else is getting up to. If you have not already – take a look.
With the imminent arrival of my Series IIA from the UK I have decided it is time to overcome my fear of video and give Youtube a try. I have been practising and can safely say I have not quite mastered it yet. I do not know what it is, but it seems the moment I set eyes on a video camera I adopt a completely different persona – I shift between sounding like a game show host and looking like I am recording a ransom demand video. Would that be of interest to you?
When Brit Jack Dobson emigrated to Australia in 2010 he brought his passion for Land Rovers along with him.