Ford Ditches Auto Shows for Facebook

Ford’s latest Explorer model won’t be introduced at a glitzy auto show — instead, it will make its debut on Facebook. The company will launch the car with a campaign that focuses on drivers’ real-world experiences, rather than with glamorous TV ads. “We live in a 140-character society … When we have people’s attention, we want to make sure it sticks,” says Scott Monty, Ford’s head of social media.

Ford engineer Jim Holland is pictured on the left with 2011 Ford  Explorer. This is as much as Ford has shown of the new SUV, which debuts  this summer.

Linking the Explorer with Ford’s social-marketing strategy could help the brand become more relevant. Monty says Ford is using the Internet to help customers see it not as a faceless monolith, but as an organization of people like them who can answer questions, and listen to ideas and complaints.

Still, the Explorer reveal on Facebook is chancy.

“The auto industry is so closely tied to reviews and news from traditional media outlets that I think it is a risky move to eliminate an auto show announcement,” says Heidi Sullivan, vice president of media research for Cision. But “the buzz created could far outweigh any negative reactions.”

With the 2011 Fiesta, Ford launched a very early and intense social media campaign, revealing essentially everything about the car over a year before the official sales launch. The goal: to build hype and get everyone familiar with it rather than trying to surprise the buying public with big claims and flashy looks. The same tactic may work for the new Explorer, especially since it is a fairly major change from the previous version.

To see the Facebook unveiling for yourself, you’ll have to visit the Explorer Facebook Page and “like” it to get access to the first photos.

Ford Sets Record for Biggest Tweetup Ever

Setting a Guinness World Record is a classic way to drum up publicity. One of my favorites of the holiday variety was the largest-ever gathering of Santa Clauses, when almost 13,000 people in Northern Ireland dressed up as Santa or Santa’s helper — nothing says Christmas like a sea of Kris Kringles.

Ford set a record of their own on Tuesday night, hosting its Fiesta Movement Awards Celebration and bringing together 1,149 “Fiesta Movement agents and Twitter friends” at the Hollywood Palladium for the world’s largest tweetup. (A tweetup is any gathering of two or more people who know each other through Twitter.)

ford-tweetup(Image Via Flickr)

Said Connie Fontaine, Ford brand content and alliances manager:

Time and again, our Fiesta Movement agents have shown how social media, adventurous spirit and unbridled enthusiasm can bring people together in new, exciting ways. Never before has a group of car owners created such a sustained buzz for a new car. We’re thrilled to celebrate their collective accomplishment.

The Fiesta Movement social media initiative entails having 100 young “trendsetters” test drive a European-spec Ford Fiesta for six months, then describing their experiences through an array of social media sites. So far, Fiesta agents have traveled more than 1.4 million miles and generated more than 3.7 million Twitter impressions, 740,000 Flickr views, and more than 6 million YouTube views.

Ford Motor’s Scott Monty on Big Brands and Social Media

A hot topic at recent industry events has been the question of big brands and how they can use social media. Ford Motor Company is one brand, however, that has not let that question become an obstacle. WebProNews spoke with Scott Monty, the Head of Social Media at Ford, who explained how the company first became involved with social media just a few years ago. Their efforts began as a hobby, but he helped them develop an approach to incorporate social into their overall business strategy.

(Via WebProNews)

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