SAN DIEGO, Calif. - Ford is one of the sponsors of this weekend’s seventh annual BlogHer Conference – the world’s largest conference for women in social media – at the San Diego Convention Center. BlogHer is the leading participatory news, entertainment and information network for women online, reaching more than 25 million women each month. @Ford spoke with Craig Daitch, Ford’s U.S. Social Media manager about BlogHer and why it is important for Ford to have a presence at the BlogHer conference.
Q: What is the BlogHer Conference?
A: Blogher is a conference that was designed and developed to celebrate women bloggers. The thing about blogging is it’s such a ubiquitous activity. There are more than 180 million blogs in the world, and that list grows daily. And there is segmentation and different interests based on everything from demographics to geography.
BlogHer carries a directory of over 80,000 blogs authored by women. They blog about everything from lifestyle, fashion and health to sustainability, feminism and technology. What’s important is their point of view. Technology written by a female blogger, for example, may have a different perspective than say technology written by a male blogger.
Q: Why is Ford a sponsor of the BlogHer conference?
A: It’s an important audience for us. We certainly understand the influence of voice online and the attendees of BlogHer are typically very influential and they show a great affinity towards Ford Motor Company and our products. We want to capitalize on that earned media for the purpose of influencing others within their network to give Ford Motor Company consideration.
In addition, it allows us to tell the Ford story where we’re not just speaking to product, but we’re speaking to lifestyle as well. We’re speaking to features in the vehicles to different audiences based on their preferences. For example, if we speak to green bloggers at the BlogHer conference, we may speak about the sustainable materials in our vehicles or the power of choice between electrified vehicles and gas vehicles.
Q: What type of presence will Ford have at the conference?
A: We are one of the sponsors of the conference and we are sponsoring a picnic the day after the conference called the "Ford on Foot Family Roadtrip." A lot of networking goes on at the conference itself. There are a number of speakers. So you’re really on the go when you’re there. The picnic that we’re sponsoring includes not just the women attending the conference but their families as well. It’s a Ford family day, and we’re going to have a series of pit stops that are going to feature fun, family-friendly activities. Each activity is going to have a product takeaway, so it’s going to be very pervasive in terms of how we incorporate our messaging into each of the pit stops.
Q: What will Ford be presenting at the pit stops?
A: We will have a Warriors in Pink booth with spray-on tattoos and Warriors in Pink symbols for the children who are attending to color. We’ll be doing MyFord Touch demonstrations in the Ford Explorer. We’re going to have a demonstration on sustainability with the Ford Focus and show all the sustainable materials that were used to create the Focus. We’ll also have a demonstration of the inflatable seatbelt with the Explorer. And we’re going to have vehicle test drives. Vehicles that will be on site at the event include the Mustang, Focus, Flex, Edge and Explorer.
We will also be incorporating Foursquare into the program.
Q: What is Foursquare?
A: Foursquare is a location-based mobile social network platform. By “checking in” with a smartphone application or SMS, users share their location with friends while collecting points and virtual badges. It’s extremely popular – more than 10 million users – and what’s nice is that it plugs into the user’s other social media networks. If I belong to Twitter or Facebook, for example, I can broadcast whatever location I check in to to my Twitter followers and my Facebook friends. Retailers and brands leverage the Foursquare platform by utilizing a wide set of tools to obtain, engage, and retain customers and audiences. It’s pretty fascinating, and it’s a technology that continues to evolve. Ten million users is a significant user base. It’s a growing technology and one that we’re very interested in. And we thought what better opportunity to test the reach of Foursquare than with the BlogHer conference because this group is very tech savvy. They understand how Foursquare works. In fact, most of them already incorporate Foursquare into their daily lives.
Q: How will Foursquare be integrated into the Ford event?
A: Each pit stop will have a check-in through Foursquare. We want to make it more informative than competitive because Foursquare is part of each person’s social identity online. It’s certainly more of an evangelism piece so these people can announce that they’re actually at the BlogHer Ford family picnic. It’s almost like a point of pride. It’s like social currency for someone to tweet that they’re a blogger attending a picnic sponsored by Ford. There’s some credibility associated with that. So the check-in is used more as a means of broadcasting their location and what they’re affiliated with that day.
Q: What does Ford hope to gain by participating in Foursquare?
A: We hope to make it a very engaging experience for participants and generate awareness and credibility for the Ford brand. When the check-ins get broadcast, they will likely spark conversation. People will be inherently curious about what the "Ford on Foot Family Roadtrip" is, and it will give the bloggers an opportunity to engage their followers and their fans for the purpose of explaining exactly what it is they’re doing at the Ford picnic.
Q: Why is social media such an important tool for Ford?
A: The interesting thing about social media is that it gives our fans and customers a platform to speak in an authentic voice. And anytime we can have our customers evangelize their affinity for us with their own voice we earn more credibility.
Q: If other social media enthusiasts want to get in on the fun this weekend is there a way for them to do that?
A: They can either go to the Foursquare website at www.foursquare.com or they can follow the conversation on Twitter by using the hash tag: #FordBlogHer. That will take you to all conversations related to the BlogHer conference, including the Ford event.