3 Social media lessons from ford

To create real results and accomplish long-term goals over social media, businesses have to think beyond simple, one-off campaigns and make a normal commitment to marketing and customer engagement on social media. That’s what Ford Motor Co.’s global head of social media, Scott Monty, said today at the "Social Wheels in Motion" session during Social Media Week, which kicked off yesterday in NEW YORK.

With nearly 90,000 followers on Twitter, Monty blogs about social media and is rolling out a reputation among the top thought leaders on everything social.

Examining a few of the campaigns he’s managed at Ford, Monty offered attendees some lessons for managing social media for brands. Listed below are three of his top takeaways:

1. Let your followers tell your business story. Possibly the social media campaign Ford is most beneficial known for rolled out in ’09 2009 and was called the "Fiesta Movement." Ford recruited 100 visitors to drive the Ford Fiesta for half a year, and payed for their gas and auto insurance. The drivers were then asked to talk about their experiences driving the automobile on YouTube and FiestaMovement.com.

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What started with a straightforward social video contest finished up generating plenty 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 a lot more than 100,000 visitors to Ford’s website. (Ford is reviving the Fiesta Movement campaign for the 2014 model.)

Create a great service or product and let your visitors utilize it and share their experiences over social media. "For those who have a great product, you shouldn’t be afraid," Monty said. "Let them be your voice."

2. Create a social media a dialogue, not really a broadcasting system. On social media, customers "want to activate with personalities, not product features," Monty said. Translation: Avoid Facebook and Twitter to simply announce services or services.

To engage together with your customers and assist in their loyalty to your brand, understand who they are — what their interests are and how they interact on social media. For example, Monty pointed to Ford’s creation of Doug, a "spokespuppet" character that appeared in a number of YouTube webisodes promoting the Ford Focus. The type was brash and funny, and increased awareness about the Focus among a younger demographic.

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"Dialogue with people in ways they are able to understand, not corporate-speak," Monty said.

3. Celebrate your fans. At the core of Ford’s social media efforts can be an effort to give the business’s fans and followers an opportunity to experience the brand with techniques they never expected — and become rewarded for it. Prior to the unveiling of the 2011 Explorer, Ford created a Facebook page that gave its fans sneak peeks at features and video interviews with the look team and chief engineer. Another example, the Ford Social site, allows customers to claim badges predicated on their interests, win exclusive usage of industry events and even submit ideas for new vehicle features.

"Engagement matters," Monty said. "Remember to appreciate and celebrate your fans."