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Marketing

Published February 14th 2012

An Interview With The Man Who Invented Tweetups

Scott Monty is one of the most powerful people in social media, ranking at 11th in Forbes’ Media Power Influencer list. Now Head of Social Media at Ford, Scott was the originator of the term ‘tweetup’ and has long been an advocate of social media.

Ford were famously the first company to have a dedicated page on Google+ and have a rich heritage of implementing social media in their marketing strategies.

Since you’ve joined Ford, the motor company has been a pioneer in online marketing with its Fiesta, Explorer and Fusion campaigns. How important have these campaigns been to Ford’s successes?

With the Fiesta, social media was key to the launch of the vehicle. It was 100% social for the first 9 months, leading into a more traditional media mix. It absolutely paved the way for a high level of awareness before the vehicle was even at dealerships.

Similarly, we’ve been able to do the same thing with other major launches like the Explorer and Fusion.

Social media has to be at the heart of everything we do, and when we can use it to tie to the emotion behind a vehicle reveal, we see a drastic boost in awareness and purchase consideration.

Measuring the success of your campaigns can be difficult. With your wealth of experience in the field, what do you consider the best practices to be in online analytics?

We first have to know what it is we’re trying to achieve and then understand the baseline from which we’re measuring.

Only then are we able to determine whether or not we’ve been successful. It’s important to not try to boil the ocean, but to pay attention to what you can measure and what you can demonstrate you’ve affected.

It’s going to vary from campaign to campaign and event to event, but that simple formula is enough to give us a sense as to what matters.

 

 

Social Media Monitoring is an area that companies are gradually coming to accept as an essential aspect of their business. How have Ford used monitoring tools to find insights in data?

There’s the notion that if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. While that’s mostly true, we’re interested in finding the tools that capture the metrics that are important to different groups.

Communications, marketing and customer service all have very different needs that range from hourly, weekly or even monthly reporting that give us the results we’re looking for.

Based on that, we’re able to determine if we need to help a customer with an issue, inform a follower about some new technology, or give feedback to our product development teams based on trends and data we’re seeing surfaced.

Which companies do you think have ‘got social media right’?

I don’t think it’s a matter of “getting it right” overall, because getting it right can mean different things to different brands.

Dell and Comcast do a great job of listening; Cisco, Intel and IBM are old pros at integrating social media into their employee base; and many companies are using it for creative marketing solutions.

It depends on the brand and how they resonate with their customers.

What are your opinions about customer service with regard to social media? Do you think there is a right or wrong way to approach it?

As with the above, it depends on the type of business and the customer base. You’ll see many examples of customer service for brands that operate in the tech or online space – Dell, Comcast, and Zappos are some top examples.

Then there’s Virgin Atlantic, who recognize that their customer base is very often mobile and vocal; they’ve managed to make their customer response efforts a strategic asset.

Even Ford’s own @FordCustService account has been lauded not only for its handling of customer issues, but the personality and individuality the team brings to the dialog.

Should every big company be using social media in their marketing strategies? Are there any industries that shouldn’t be trying to use it?

I think social media has a part to play in every large company, although it may fit in different business units within different industries.

Ultimately though, it has to be defined by two things: the corporate culture and the degree to which the customer uses it. If there’s not a fit with either one of those, it’s fruitless to try to cram social media in as an additional channel.

What have your experiences of Google+ been so far and how do you see the future of the network developing?

In the beginning, it was a fairly intimate network, with lots of tech influencers. As it’s grown in size and scope, we’ve seen all sorts of users added from around the globe.

In particular, we’ve noticed a spike in followers just over the last month or so.

With the integration of Google+ and Google search results, we’re already seeing people being attracted to our content from contextually relevant links.

We’re looking forward to continuing to work with the Google+ team to prioritize some of the features that we would like to see in the platform that would make it the most useful to us.

Where do you see social media standing in five years’ time? Is there room for another platform?

Social media as we know it almost didn’t exist five years ago, so it’s foolhardy to predict where we’ll be in another five years.

Offhand, I’d guess that we won’t be talking about social media; it will simply be integrated into everything we do and how we think.

If Twitter, Facebook and Google+ keep giving their user base what they need, odds are they’ll still be around; then again, there may be some unmet need that isn’t currently recognized that could be the subject of an unforeseen competitor to serve. Only time will tell.

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