Industry: Car manufacturer
References: Ford, Forbes, FordSocial
“What’s the ROI of putting your pants on every day? It’s hard to measure but there’s negative consequences for not doing it.” – Scott Monty, Ford’s global digital/multimedia communications manager
Scott Monty’s quote represents the issue with ROI in regards to social media; companies have a hard time engaging just how effective their social media is, but it is important to still do it. Ford’s approach to social media is what they call the “Woody Allen Theory of Social Media” which suggests that 90 percent of social media is about just showing up. With that being said, Ford has over 80 Faceb0ok pages around the world that range from specific Ford car models to types categories of vehicles that Ford manufactures. For example, Ford Mustang has its own Facebook page and is the most liked car on Facebook. Besides Facebook, Ford is also on other major social media platforms, such as Instagram and Twitter, which also have multiple accounts depending on location or target market.
While they don’t have a “social” department, Ford sees social media as being part of marketing, communications, and customer service. Ford has about 40-something people around the world that work on social media for the company, although there are very few people just solely dedicated to it. Besides having a marketing department, Ford uses WPP agencies to help them with all of their work. Their marketing team specifically uses Team Detroit in the United States, which is a conglomerate of Ogilvy, JWT, Mindshare, and Wunderman. In Europe, Ford works with the Blue Hive, which brought a number of WPP agencies together. Combined, they work almost as one unit for Ford as everyone comes together since the agencies work well with each other. Their corporate social agency is Social@Ogilvy and they connect well with Social Detroit to make sure that the communications team and marketing team are really one when it comes to social media. Part of the challenge with having so many agencies working together is building an easy-to-understand and replicable processes so that all everyone on the team is aligned.
One of the reasons why social media is important to control and measure for Ford is to influence consumer purchasing. Generally people go through the purchase process when buying a big ticket item like a car. Social media is an integral part of Ford’s marketing strategy to make sure that they have a strong brand and a following.
The Ford Fiesta Movement
Perhaps the social media campaign Ford is best known for rolled out in 2009 and was called the “Fiesta Movement.” Ford recruited 100 people to drive the Ford Fiesta for six months, and paid for their gas and car insurance. The drivers were then asked to share their experiences driving the car on YouTube and FiestaMovement.com. What started with a simple social video contest wound up generating a huge amount of buzz. The Fiesta Movement generated 6.2 million views on YouTube, 750,000 views on Flickr and 40 million Twitter impressions, Monty said, driving more than 100,000 people to Ford’s website. By sharing customer experiences of this campaign, Ford was able to showcase people enjoying the Ford experience to influence potential customers in purchasing the Ford Fiesta and/or other Ford cars.
“[Back then] when Ford advertised, they didn’t advertise product. They advertised the Lifestyle.” – Lisa Drake
Lessons for Others
Ford’s social media plan revolved around improving the brand’s reputation as well as help to build purchase consideration. Ford continues to build their community through social media which might not always directly lead to ROI and sales conversion instantly. As Scott Monty puts it:
“When you think about how social fits into that, for the most part it’s at the higher end of the funnel. It’s about awareness, about general consideration. It’s not necessarily about lead generation or bottom line sales. It contributes as a factor, but for a complex sale, like a vehicle, it’s much more difficult to tie social to the bottom line. So what we look at it is comparisons at how PR works, and media relations, as we look at our own channels, and things that we do like blogger relations, which are much more akin to the communications side of the house than they are to marketing.”
Ford’s approach is to take a long term approach since it matches the type of products that they are selling. What Ford can teach others about social media metrics is that measuring ROI cannot always be calculated right away.
Submitted By: Benjamin Wong
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