For several years, Ford has reigned as one of the top companies employing social media. Whether its paving the way for creatively using Facebook apps or fueling the Google+ movement with an incredible following and enthusiastic active fans, Ford’s social media usage is a prime of example of how brands can get it right. In an interview with Social Media Examiner, Ford’s head of social media Scott Monty, recently discussed the company’s social media strategy. Among the highlights, Monty discusses Google+, its new blog, and what the future holds for the company including its planned social media vehicle integration.
Ford Hearts Google+
Ford was one of first companies to join Google+. If you remember, Google+ initially only offered personal profiles citing that they would soon launch business pages. However, because of Ford’s relationship with Google, they were given permission to use the personal account as the brand as long as they gave feedback on the new social media platform. What they have found is that people on Google+ are very specific in their wants so Ford made time to ask what they are looking for and then delivered on that. According to Monty, their success is also due to the fact that Google+ allows them to have more in-depth conversation with fans because it isn’t as populated as Facebook.
Another main component of Ford’s social media strategy is its blog. Recently renamed “Ford Social,” replacing the original title “The Ford Story,” the blog aims to give fans multiple ways to engage with the company. The name itself implies that Ford is encouraging its fans to participate with the brand. One of its most popular new features is the “badges.” Ford enthusiasts can visit the blog site, click on the link that says “grab a badge” and choose from a variety of badges created to give them a way to express their love of the brand or particular vehicles. This allows Ford to target the type of information that their fans are interested in by grouping specific interests or as Monty says in the interview what they have “self-identified” with thus driving up engagement.
When fans register on Ford Social using their Facebook account, they see a message that says, “By joining Ford Social, you’ll get exclusive insider goods: access to contests, games, vehicle reveals and way more.” There are even tabs for enthusiasts to post their stories and their ideas for vehicle improvements. Clearly, Ford knows it’s all about the customer and giving them ways to profess their individuality. Simultaneously, they are earning brand loyalty, which as anyone who has every participated in a Ford vs. Chevy conversation can tell you, is extremely important.
The Social Media Future for Ford
On the horizon, Ford is also looking at integrating social media into its vehicles. In the preliminary stages, Monty says that the idea is to link the vehicle to driver social media accounts. While they won’t be able to send messages, they might receive a Twitter message if they need an oil change or a message stating that where their friends are and then giving them the option of rerouting their navigation destination to meet up with them.
Ford is clearly committed to not only being present at the social media “cocktail party” but hosting the party of the year that leaves fans wanting more. The company understands that people use social media to express their personality and will engage with content when they feel it benefits them. In addition, they are innovators, which is the same requirement that makes a vehicle brand successful.
We want to hear from you. What automotive brand do you interact with through social media and why?