Many organisations don’t maximise the potential of social media, but this is not true of Ford. The American motor company is renowned for its innovative vehicles but its use of social media is something else that should be acknowledged. Ford’s interactive website ties in a blog, customer stories and stakeholder suggestions with popular social networks: Facebook and Twitter.
We live in an age where people are cynical of organisations. We’ve seen all of the tricks and heard all of the excuses. With social media it’s all out on the table and now it is important for companies to be transparent, honest and engaging. While social media causes these issues, it too provides the solution. Ford’s social media channels allow an open dialogue to occur with their stakeholders. They can share their stories, provide feedback and find extra information.
Source: Digital Sensus
Allowing customers to post their stories encourages a community to develop. It makes customers feel valued. It also creates a positive voice to be posted. This form of promotion is considered much more reliable by stakeholders as it comes from a body that is highly critical. In comparison, advertising is much less trustworthy since it comes directly from the company.
Inviting suggestions to be posted is another clever tactic to improve stakeholder relations that has not been previously adopted before web 2.0. This allows stakeholders to play a role in the growth of Ford, which is particularly positive for shareholders who have financial investments. Although this may not be the main public participating, it is encouraging to know suggestions are being taken from Ford’s key publics such as car enthusiasts, mechanics and car dealers.
The Facebook and Twitter aspects of Ford’s social media strategies have received fantastic feedback. A scroll through the @FordService Twitter feed reveals numerous tweets praising the way Ford responds on Twitter. The Facebook page shares this positive feel. The posts on their wall generate dialogue between publics and the organisation. Its 2.2 million followers are a good incentive for Ford respond professionally to customer concerns.
Overall, Ford’s social media strategy has been successful in developing strong relationships with its publics. Customer concerns are responded to in a timely manor and dialogue is welcomed to form a community. Stakeholders are given a voice in the continued growth of the organisation.
What experiences have you had with organisations on social media? As Kriss Freeman tweeted, “Every business should take notes from @FordService on how to respond on social networking. Fast, polite, incredible.”