[IMAGE left medium] What is the hundred-year-old U.S. auto maker able to teach you about social media? A short history lesson about Ford might help. Henry Ford established Ford Motor Company in 1903. The company survived the auto manufacturer massacre of the Great Depression. More recently, despite its shockingly low stock prices of about $1 a share, the company pulled out of the Great Recession. Ford came back, and many experts attribute their success of keeping loyal customers and engaging new ones to effective use of social media.
What Does Ford's Social Media Effort Do Right?
First, the company was one of the first of the big auto manufacturers to hire a social media executive. Scott Monty, the Ford social media guru, used Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, and Flickr as tools in an overall strategy aimed at speaking to current and potential customers as fellow drivers. Monty realized consumers weren't so likely to trust a company spokesman, but they were more likely to trust fellow Ford owners.
The best example of the company's success with social media may be the Ford Fiesta movement. Before they released and produced this brand in the US, the company selected 100 socially effective individuals with a publicized contest and let them drive the European version of the car. Then they created a website with crowd-sourced content from these Fiesta drivers and the driver's social networks. Of course, Ford made sure that this content was publicized through social media channels too.
Here are some of the results:
- Ford got 11 million impressions on social media.
- Ford enjoyed 5 million engagement signals such as shares and follows.
- Even better, 55,000 people said they wanted to know more, and the overwhelming majority of these did not even currently own a Ford.
How Can Your Small Business Emulate Ford's Success?
As a small business owner or marketing director, you might learn from Ford's social media example. Instead of conducting a nationwide search for active social media users, you might work on engaging local influencers and provide them with samples of your product or service. Hopefully, these community representatives will have something to tell their own large networks about their satisfaction with your company.
This could work if you hold a contest for a local school to earn a free breakfast tacos for the teachers or free auto detailing for real estate agents. You can produce a generous amount of publicity from the contest and the winner's experience with your products or services. The winners get free stuff, and you win by getting extra social media exposure.