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Lessons From Ford’s Brilliant Social Media Campaign

Back in 2009, Ford launched a new social media campaign to promote the launch of the new Ford Fiesta in the American market. Originally sold only in Europe, the sub-compact is aimed at young drivers, and comes with a <$20,000 price tag and 40mpg on the highway. For advertising, Ford went digital. It decided to find 100 Ford “agents” to drive the Fiesta for 6 months and give them “missions” to complete (as well as Tweet and make videos about). This experiment, dubbed the “Ford Fiesta Movement” came to a close in December 2009, after excellent participation from the agents made it one of the most well known social media movements to date. The movement produced a remarkable 11,000 Youtube videos, 15,000 Tweets, and 11 million social media impressions. An impressive 80,000 potential customers, 97% of which did NOT currently own a Ford, asked to be kept up to date about the U.S. launch of the 2011 Fiesta.

About a year later, Ford’s financials for fiscal year 2010 were in: Ford made its highest profits since 1999. Article author Ernan Roman attributes this mainly to Ford switching gears and actually establishing a two-way dialogue with its customers, and focusing more on digital marketing and social media. Roman also suggests that Ford has decided to rethink the way it acquires customers, using customer engagement tactics (like social media outlets) instead of aggressive targeting and advertising. Not only did this new strategy raise profits to the highest in over 10 years, but it also created awareness, let customers become loyal brand advocates, and promoted the brand in a way that was actually, dare I say it: fun.