Thursday, February 5, 2009

Using Social Media Strategically: Ford

News to Tweet about! The 2009 Ford Hybrid autos were just selected as “Greener Choices” by the environmental group, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). Ford tweeted the honor today from their FordDriveGreen account on Twitter.

Twitter is a social networking website on which users communicate online (and via mobile technology) by sending and receiving short 140 character messages called updates or tweets. These updates appear on the user’s profile page and are delivered to Twitter users who sign up to receive them.

Good news travels faster

Proud Ford’s update links to their “Ford and the Environment” website and delivers an online press release which supplies all the details.

ACEEE “Greener Choices,” “are widely available gas-powered cars and light trucks with automatic transmissions.” The 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid earned a superior “green score” and is rated for 34/31 miles per gallon in city/highway driving. Ford’s 2009 Ranger, was also listed. And all these vehicles meet low emission standards. Good news, indeed.

Using social media wisely

As Ford considered its entry into the social media marketplace, it's clear that it was smart and strategic. And human.

Their Twitter bio tells, “Ford Motor Company is committed to making affordable environmental technologies in vehicles people want & value.” And because people have conversations, not huge impersonal conglomerates, the FordDriveGreen account is managed by @ScottMonty. Scott is head of social media at Ford and, according to his Twitter bio a, “husband, dad…and generally nice guy.” This smart move keeps FordDriveGreen human while also maintaining the value created for Ford should Scott one day move up the corporate ladder or onto otherwise greener pastures.

Asked “Why Ford tweets?” for an excellent Mashable article, “40 of the Best Twitter Brands and the People Behind Them,” Scott explained, “It’s part of a larger social media strategy to humanize the Ford brand and put consumers in touch with Ford employees.” Hard to think of any other medium besides Twitter that instantly puts you directly in touch with the people who run and converse about their businesses.

How do Ford’s social efforts compare?

At the time this blog was written, FordDriveGreen has earned an enviable 97.6 out of 100 from the HubSpot TwitterGrader (try it yourself on your Twitter account at ). TwitterGrader measures the reach and authority of a Twitter user and bases its score on a combination of the number of followers you have, the power of your follower network, the pace of your updates, your profile completeness and “a few others.”

Tweet cloud looks right on mission and message.

environmental ford escapehybrid rt car #ford looks likeplug-in vehicle new battery ..we're ford’s fuel-efficient willelectric driving #naiasecoboost’s twin ecoboost fuelgreat fusion ford's mpg green

In good company

Ford’s effort with FordDriveGreen puts them in good company with other smart social media users, including competing auto makers Chevrolet and Honda, grocer Whole Foods, banker Wachovia (yes, a bank!) and more.

What conversations does your business want to join? Create? Encourage? Just remember, Strategy First, Tweet Second.

All visuals: Ford


Paul Hydzik grows brand value. As a brand marketer and award-winning creative leader, Paul has more than 15 years of experience driving business success from start-ups to blue chips. His strategic resume covers all aspects of B2B and B2C branding from go-to-market to consumer insight to identity development and all forms of marketing communication.

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