Ninety percent of social media is showing up. The tricky part is the remaining 10%.
So says Mark Kleis, an auto enthusiast whom Ford selected as one of its Fiesta “agents” to drive around the country in the new compact car and blog about their experiences as part of Ford’s active social-media marketing efforts.
As a big company, Ford has pretty much figured out how to use social media. eMarketer Inc. names the auto makert among the top 10 firms doing the best job with that online phenomenon.
That includes knowing what to do and what not to do, Kleis, an editor for LefLaneNews.com, says at an Automotive Social Media Summit hosted by Thought Leadership Summits in Los Angeles.
Here are some of his dos-and-don’ts for companies trying to connect with customers through Internet social media sites:
- Be transparent. “If you aren’t going to be open with people, they will figure it out.”
- Be authentic. “If you are pushing baloney, millennials will pick up on it and tear you apart. They will blog you and destroy you.” (Talk about the power of the Internet.)
- Don’t argue. “Negative things occasionally are going to be said about you online. Provide positive alternative examples.”
Ford’s goal was to within two years become the dominant auto company using social media. “They did it in six months,” Kleis says.
Even Ford CEO Alan Mulally will communicate with customers on Twitter from time to time.
There’s one, too: A guy tweeted Ford, saying, “I’m test driving an Edge Sport for the second time this week. Can you have Alan Mulally call to tell me I’m not crazy?”
Mulally called. The vehicle was bought. “How cool,” Kleis says. “And the guy is sharing with his social-media friends that Alan Mulally called him.”