Imagine that you are heading the social media division at one of the biggest automakers in the world.
You have been invited by the executive board to present ambitious plans to increase the company’s investment in… social media. All it takes is just one really effective tweet that will blow them all away.
It happened to Scott Monty who, according to Forbes, ‘has long been a champion of using social media to humanize large organizations’. By showing the board just how effective social media can be in creating real insightful conversations, he got full support to strengthen his social team at Ford Motors.
This happened almost four years ago when fuel prices were at a record high. Consumers were worried about the costs of driving a car, so one of the most important strategic topics on Ford’s agenda was how to build more fuel-efficient cars in the future. Scott Monty decided to demonstrate the real power of social media right there, at the start of the presentation, by asking Ford’s followers what the minimum miles per gallon were that they would consider when buying a new car.
With rising fuel costs, fuel economy is on everyone’s mind. When buying a new car, what’s the minimum mpg you’d consider?
— Ford Motor Company (@Ford) May 4, 2011
Eighty people responded to the tweet by the end of the presentation. Most of the replies mentioned a mpg level at exactly the same level that Ford was already developing new cars in. Twitter had just proven the strategic direction of the company right.
“Our CFO used to be the biggest social media skeptic”, said Scott Monty during a recent presentation in the Netherlands. “When he looked at what had just happened on Twitter, he took off his glasses, looked at me and said: ‘If I could have those insights every day, that would be invaluable’.”
Demonstrating how social media actually works to engage with your target audience in a way that is valuable for both parties; that is a very clever and effective way to justify investments in social media. Or, as Monty put it: “The greatest use of twitter is in mining, listening and monitoring.”