November 2, 2011

Here’s why it make sense to use Google Plus

Google+ launched prematurely — so take advantage

Chris AbrahamThere is unnecessary unrest that has been buffeting the launch of Google’s newest online social network, Google Plus, and the reason for that is simple: Google was forced to launch G+ because Twitter blocked Google’s real-time and direct access to Twitter updates. This is now becoming old news but it explains everything. This is why Google+ didn’t have a brand page similar to Facebook Pages, built-in upon launch, resulting in either a transparent and compliant real name membership or deletion, with the exception of Ford Motor Company and a few others that are the only brands that are in a testing phase, the sort of testing that happens in limited and private beta.

What has been happening even before the real names scandal is the scandal that any and all Google Plus profiles that were not simply real users with real names were deleted en masse. Most of the very early adopters who did not read the explicit terms of service (ToS) took the opportunity to not only create a G+ account for themselves but also set up Google Plus profiles for their brands and companies as well.

Within a day of being allowed in via viral invite or connections, there were thousands of connected, fleshed-out and promoted ad hoc corporate and nonprofit brand pages popping up everywhere.

This is a pretty common behavior in any new system as the tech-savvy flood in and test boundaries and limitations even if they have read the ToS closely. The truly unique and impressive (or tyrannical) response was in Google enforcement, which was immediate, insidious, terrifying and often sloppy when it came to brands. Brands were deleted that were, in fact, true names run by true people, often celebrities.

I remember adding Vin Diesel to my circles. He was removed, though I never discovered if real Vin or brand Vin or fake Vin fell under Google’s sword. Another was Captain Kirk (William Shatner), who was deleted but who really was who he said he was. Continue reading

November 9, 2009

How Ford does social media

Ford’s social media efforts from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

Scott Monty & team take integrated approach rather than focus on short-term campaigns

JD LasicaMajor corporations have begun jumping into the social media pool. One of the biggest success stories this year has been the performance of Ford Motor Co. — they’re making big waves but aren’t splashing around, thanks to the integrated approach taken by Scott Monty, head of social media, who joined Ford only in the summer of 2008.

I caught up with Scott shortly after his keynote chat with the Wall Street Journal’s Kara Swisher at Blogworld Expo. Their BWE conversation was largely inaudible, so this 6-minute interview serves as a quick synopsis of what Ford is up to in the space.

“It’s a commitment. It’s about changing about the business model and embracing it day in and day out.”
— Scott Monty

“We don’t think of social media at Ford in terms of campaigns,” Scott says, “because it’s a commitment. It’s about changing about the business model and embracing it day in and day out.”

From top to bottom, Ford has infused the company with the Zeitgest of social media — employees feel a connection with their customers and a sense of having skin in the game. Social media helps put a human face on the company. “It serves to remind people there are real human beings working at Ford Motor Co. who are passionate about great products,” he says.

Watch, embed or download the video on Vimeo

Given Ford’s strong performance in recent months, including a $997 million third-quarter profit, several publications suggested that social media could be one of the key drivers of the company’s recent success. According to BusinessWeek, the automaker will spend 25% of their marketing budget on digital and social media this year.

Three weeks ago Ford won the Society for New Communications Research’s award for brand of the year for its “innovative use of social media to improve the way the company communicates with its stakeholders.” A couple of the notable social media programs Ford has launched include:

fiestmovementpicFiesta Movement: Ford has given 100 “socially vibrant” people on the Web a Ford Fiesta (including Sarah Austin of @pop17) for 6 months. The Fiesta is a European car that Ford will begin producing in the U.S. in 2010. The 100 “agents” get to do whatever they want — tweet, take photos or videos, blog — and Monty’s team aggregates the conversations on without editing it.

He adds: “At the end of 6 months they return the cars and we get real-time feedback from them that we’ve fed into our engineering team to make tweaks to the North American production version.” It’s a combination of crowdsourcing as well as digital buzz. “Ultimately what we’ve got is 50,000 hand-raisers who have seen the Fiesta online or in person who’ve said they want to know more about it when it comes out.” Fully 97 percent of those people do not currently drive Ford vehicles. Continue reading