How Ford Became the World’s Best Social Media Brand

By: Abdulhadi Hafez

Ford ceases to kick its social media strategy into overdrive with impressively shocking campaigns that not only set global social media trends, but raise the benchmarks for how brands should utilize it for their business.

They have socialized and humanized their brand image so much to the point that they now have a social hub called Ford Social (see image above), where they aggregate all of their social media profiles and communities, allowing fans to share stories, images, videos and ideas with one another.

They showed us the power of social influence marketing and brand advocacy with the famous Ford Fiesta Movement campaign, which not only helped them survive the 2008 recession but yielded these outstanding results as well:

  • 4.3 million YouTube views 
  • 500,000+ Flickr views
  • 3 million+ Twitter impression
  • 50,000 interested potential customers, 97% of which don’t own a Ford.

the intuitive Ford Explorer Launch social event, the cool Fiestagram contest, and now the innovative Smartphone social media bluetooth app. 

The Software “Ford Keyfree Login” automatically logs in and logs out your web accounts as you approach your computer with your smartphone, using bluetooth technology. 

It’s free, time saving, no more hacking and no more industrial spying.

But how did they do it, you may ask? Sure it helps to have a social media genius like Scott Monty on your team, but there are 7 other lessons as to why Ford did so well socially with Jeff Bullas’s The 7 Secrets to Ford’s Social Media Marketing Success.

Not only did Ford show us how to utilize each social media tool in a creative and enticing way, but they also exemplified the power of social influence marketing and brand advocacy, and how to humanize your brand properly.

How the Heck do I Humanize my Social Media Brand?

By: Abdulhadi Hafez

Or maybe I should ask first, what in the world does it mean to humanize your social media brand? The simple answer to this question is to engage with people on social media sites as a human being, not a business! I don’t mean that you shouldn’t use your business name, logo, and so forth, but rather to talk to them as if you’re talking to your family and friends.

I mean, let’s face it, your business is using social media to promote its products and services and get some leads and hopefully leads out of it. There ain’t nothing wrong with that peeps! What’s wrong is using traditional push-style selling techniques with people online where most of your content and interactions deal with the promotion of your offers, products, and services.

That kind of stuff doesn’t work anymore man! People use social media to socialize, people! Not to be bombarded with more ads, and pushy-sales communications. They get enough of that while diving to work, listening to the radio, watching TV, and even while they’re using public bathrooms! 

Here’s the thing though, people ain’t the same no more. And how they react to advertisements has changed as well. According to Larry Weber’s “Marketing to the Social Web” book, some studies reveal that only 18% of people trust advertisements, while another study by Nielsen suggests that 70% of people trust the opinions of complete strangers online, so imagine how much they trust the opinions of their fiends posted on social media sites!

Social media has changed how humans interact with each other, and how they interact with and respond to brands online. This is why you now see the most successful businesses do what it referred to as “humanizing brands online”, by using the 80/20 rule: 80% of the time they are being transparent, open, and authentic in their communications and interactions with people, while only 20% of the time they are promoting their products and services.

I mean, just have a look at how Ford scored big on their social media campaign, the Ford Fiesta Movement. Ford moved away from the traditional way of selling cars, and used a whole different method altogether generating a huge buzz online and 50,000 interested potential customers, 97% of which don’t own a Ford currently! How in the world were they able to do so? Here are some of the elements that were found in their social media brand:

  • Show the real names and faces of the people behind your company and social media campaigns. Don’t be all corporate-like!
  • Use your real writing and speaking voice in all of your interactions. Not only does this add personality, but it shows authenticity as well. A good example (I don’t like to brag) is this the writing style of this very article itself!
  • Listen and respond to people. Reply back to those who interact with you, thank your followers, and contribute to other people’s posts with valuable input.
  • Post engaging content. I’m talking about things like questions, brain-teasers, polls, and fill-in-the blank statements (e.g. My pet peeve is _______)
  • Be funny and witty. Those 2 traits will not only get you through so many awkward situations, but it will also get you some loving from the ladies (or men!) as well. This very statement is a live example of how to be funny and honest.
  • Use Generation Y language. I don’t mean that you should start swearing, but use common abbreviations and expressions used by the Gen Y people such as: LOL, LMAO, Thx, Hey, ‘How the heck’, ‘What the heck’, etc. It shows personality and relates to the group that dominate social media, the Gen Y peeps.
  • Admit your mistakes! There’s an Arabic expression that translates to mean: “An excuse is more severe than the sin.” If you make a mistake, admit it to the public, apologize and communicate how you’re going to fix it. 
  • Be honest! The most important trait. Social media is about building relationships, and relationships can only built on trust, and trust can only be attained through honesty.