DETROIT -- Ford Motor Company staged what is believed to be the first social media activity of its kind Monday, linking online influencers around the world to an extensive list of Ford executives at the North American International Auto Show.
"We conducted a 12-hour, first-ever social media jam that included group vice presidents and above," said Scott Monty, manager, Ford Global Digital and Multimedia Communications. "We connected with people who couldn't be at the show, but still have an active interest in Ford. They are part of the general public that we’re engaging to help get our messages out."
Among the Ford executives who tweeted, chatted or participated in online interviews were Alan Mulally, along with Sue Cischke, Jim Farley, Mark Fields, Derrick Kuzak, Martin Smith and Ingvar Sviggum.
"It's so exciting because you can see how interested people are in Ford," said Cischke, group vice president, Ford Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering, after finishing her session Monday afternoon. "We had a lot of good questions about what we're planning to do in the future. There is a lot of interest in EcoBoost, diesels, hybrids and our other products. It’s really fun to see so much enthusiasm about Ford."
Monty says he's waiting for an initial report to gauge the effectiveness of the event, but thinks the impact was substantial. The Huffington Post, which interviewed Mulally, is the top blog in the world with more than 10-million unique monthly visitors. Gerhard Schmidt, chief technical officer and vice president of Research and Advanced Engineering, also was featured on CNET, which attracts over 28 million monthly visitors.
"Because we did this as a concentrated effort, it had more impact than doing a single chat or interview," explained Monty. Plus, we had the right executives paired with the right bloggers, so we reached the right audiences.
"The buzz Monday morning for Ford was tremendous. Winning both car- and truck-of-the-year honors certainly gave us some momentum, and then the live stream of the press conference – the launch of the Focus – was amazing. There is a lot of good will and great buzz out there about what we're doing. And the news will continue to spread."
Farley, group vice president, Global Marketing and Canada, Mexico and South America operations, chatted with two marketing professionals from the floor Ford stand at the auto show. A transcript of the discussion is archived at The Ford Story. After the page loads, search for the story "Connect with Ford During 2010 NAIAS." Open the article and scroll down to the live chat and click on the replay button.