Buying a car isn’t something you do every day. In fact, it isn’t even something you do every year. How does a brand create positive talk around its products knowing it could be years before fans actually take the plunge and buy a car? Here are some examples you can follow of how Ford Canada is growing their social presence:
Grow your network outside of your industry. "Who are the biggest influencers in your industry?" We here this all the time. It makes sense to follow the top influencers in your industry, but that can only take you so far. For Ford, branching out of automotive means getting in touch with mommy bloggers, saying hello to those who preach green and letting the technology industry know what they are up to.
Build deep relationships. If the product you are selling is $2, the bonds you create with your community can be pretty loose. If the product you are selling is thousands of dollars, your community will want a deeper connection with you. Broadcasting quick and fun messages across multiple messages is fine, but over a period of time, you'll want to arm some of your follows with in depth knowledge about your product. Spending the time and money to focus on a few people outside the company who can become brand champions is invaluable.
Be kind, not nice. “TGIF! Hope u r having an awesome afternoon! LOL.” This might work for brands of wine coolers and nail polish companies, but not for selling cars. Cut the fluff and put research and thought into how you are reaching out to potential fans. If people put hours of thought into what car they will buy, they will expect more than just a couple of "have a great day" messages. What can you do for your community that they will really appreciate?
Show off your geekiest employees. Who are the people that are actually making the magic happen? As someone in marketing, I can guarantee you it isn’t my department. Get the builders/doers in front of the camera and talking to your customers. They will do a far better job of explaining why they’ve done something. Also, their enthusiasm and passion will stick with customers longer than some long winded marketing speak. In addition to this, Ford does a great job of showing what those employees built. If you want to test drive a car for a week and blog about your experience, all you need to do is ask.
Build technology to enable the latest trend, not to be the latest trend. No matter how cool a technology is, once debuted, the writing is on the wall for its demise. Instead of trying to stay abreast of everything new, try to build a platform where people can the app or tool of the moment.
Please note: I know all of this because Ford Canada sponsored me to go to BlogHer in San Diego last week. I got to experience the strategy first hand.