Earlier this year Ford launched what could be considered a social media experiment. The goal was to produce sales with younger drivers via authentic social media buzz. Ford went after 100influencers and gave them Ford Fiesta’s (releasing 2011). These influncers were already fans who were then converted to agents. Agents had to (in order to keep their status) post reviews, videos, tweets, Facebook updates and photos over several months. They basically created a buzz. It is a very cool novel idea that required Ford produce a quality product and trust their Agents. Although Ford did not control the message they didn’t need to because they had ambassadors. The result was wildly successful witha lot of positive chatter heading Fords way. Before I explain how successful they have been check out this video.
The video is agent made, even though Ford and Blendtec posted it to their feeds on you tube. The agent not only highlighted the strength of the car, he naturally states and hypes the benefit of that feature. This positive brand exposure has had a very impressive and surprising halo effect on the Ford Fusion. The campaign paired with another social push titled “we speak car” has resulted in a substantial brand favorably spike for the Fusion (a brand which was near death in 07). The consumer is more in touch with the quality of the product. As a result the Ford Fusion is now in direct competition with the Toyota Camry, a feat which was unrealistic 2 years ago. Many of the sales in 2009 have been to people buying their first American car after years of driving imports. When the Fiesta arrives in 2011 Ford is going to have a huge stock of video for advertisements, all produced at a very low cost and all authentic.
In terms of reach it looks like more then 6 million people have had a touch point with the Ford messages (mind you only 100 cars). Many of these people have become avid educated fans in the process some even counting down for the Fiesta to arrive. If you are asking “Can social media actually produce an ROI?” I’d suggest asking one of the people that bought a Fusion instead of a Camry.