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Lee Odden

Social Media at a Fortune 10 Company: Ford’s Scott Monty

By Lee Odden     Online Marketing

scott montyKudos to MIMA for getting Ford’s Scott Monty to do a session at the MIMA Summit, “Social Media at a Fortune 10 Company”.  Scott will be keynoting the DMA International conference in San Diego with Martha Stewart later this month (10,000 attendees) and MIMA was able to get him to do a breakout session.

The story telling trend of MIMA Summit continued with Scott Monty talking about “TheFordStory.com” a site that evolved out of the “carpocalypse” situation surrounding the automotive industry’s financial situation as well as his own story about getting involved with Ford.

77% of people in the US trust companies less than last year. Edelman Trust Barometer.

Ford has about 95% recognition rate worldwide, but when Scott began with Ford, he had no connection with it. A decision was made to do more to “humanize” the brand.

Henry Ford was an environmentalist. Soybeans in Model T paint, hemp in seats.

Bill Ford Jr’s vision for Ford Motor company: “We are a green, global, high-tech company that is improving people’s lives”.

Having a plan “One Ford” and sticking to it is key to leadership at Ford. Previously siloed, Ford leadership brings the organization together.

New Ford products, new Taurus, Flex, electric Focus (2012), Fusion Hybrid. Technology focus: Ford CEO will keynote CES. Ecoboost engine, V8 power with V6 and fuel efficient in all Ford cars next 4 years. All represents Ford’s emphasis on technology.

“Ninety percent of social media is just showing up. It’s the other half that’s hard”. A lot of Ford’s social media activity is just being where people are talking. Example: @ford and @scottmonty

Scott related how when he was addressing a PR crisis on Twitter and made a point to explain what he was doing in that process. Being transparent had a lot of value for followers to understand Ford’s position.

Being authentic in social communications is about being human.

Ford’s corporate social media strategy: To humaninze the company by connecting constituents with Ford employees and with each other when possible, providing value in the process.

“It’s not just about getting on Twitter and being chit chatty. It’s about listening, communicating, educating, persuading.”

First step was Digital Snippets, an aggregated news contentand social media press release content site using WordPress for a CMS.

“If you love your content, set it free. If it loves you, it will come back. If not, hunt it down & kill it”. :)

Tools used, Scribd. Delicious, Upcoming, Twitter, YouTube.

Examples of Ford social media initiatives:

  • Summer of Taurus. Senior leaders (including Senior Legal Counsel) to Tweetups and test drive events.
  • The Ford Story. New feature, your stories. Consumers are invited to provide their stories about how Ford has impacted their lives over the years. Different categories of stories ranging from Ford families to interests in green technology.
  • What people do to be green (Facebook)
  • the2010Mustang.com web site offers content creation and sharing on social sites features.
  • PlaidNation.com – gave them a Ford Flex as the vehicle they’re using to cross country.
  • WeddingRoadTrip.com – Couple drove cross country to see everyone they would have invited to the wedding to get advice. Gained media coverage and social media exposure. They go married and are now known as Mr & Mrs Ford.
  • FiestaMovement.com – Relaunched in Europe last year. #2 most popular car in Europe overall. Program to give a Ford Fiesta to a number of digital influencers for a year. Obligation was to post a video once a month. Also blogging, Tweeting and posting images. Site aggregates and features content.

Is it effective? Ends November. 4.3 million views of videos. 3 million twitter impressions. 50,000 say they’re interestedin this vehicle, 97% of those are not Ford owners. 38% vehicle awareness rate for a vehicle that is not here yet.

“Ford’s social media marketing and product quality have me re-thinking the brand” Tweet

Went from #12 most social brands in 2008 to #1 most social automotive brand and #10 overall. Social Radar Index shows 97.6% of conversation about Ford online is positive – a higher percentage than any other company rated above it in the index.

Can ROI be associated with social activity? “It’s not like we tweet and someone buys a car.” It’s about awareness and creating relationships.

Monty related a story of a guy that Tweeted about test driving a Ford twice, joking that the CEO should call him to tell him he’s not crazy. Ford CEO Alan Mulally actually called the guy and talked to him for 20 minutes. The guy bought a car 2 weeks later, after being a dedicated VW and Audi owner. He also blogged about it.

What’s Next?

  • Cross training staff and rolling social media into other functions.
  • Going for the 1%
  • Connecting with enthusiasts and find ways for people to be officially recognized by Ford.
  • Update FordProposals.com
  • Listening to Ford community for suggestions

This was a great session and both an interesting and impressive perspective on what a very large company is doing and actually implementing in the social media space. Watch for a very meaty interview with Scott in the next month or so on social media strategy, planning, tactics, testing and measurement.


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