How Scott Monty Stopped a Ford PR Disaster
What many people don’t understand about social media is that it isn’t truly a marketing tool. Instead it’s a way to build connections with your customers, solve problems, and strengthen your brand.
Scott (Ford’s social media expert) proved social media’s power today when the web went ablaze with talk about Ford sending cease and desist letters to enthusiast websites.
Ford’s legal department had realized that a few websites were selling products using the Ford logo, and that this was unacceptable. When Ford sent letters informing site owners that they needed to stop, the owners became outraged. It wasn’t until Scott stepped in and coordinated between the Ford’s legal team and web owners, that a resolution was reached.
So what can we learn from this “fiasco”? Social media is powerful and can be the medium between a company and its consumers.
When I asked Scott how he used Twitter during this he replied quickly and in a way that highlighted the many uses of social media.
He not only used Twitter to monitor what was being said, but to point out the resolution. Scott addressed the issue privately with the site owners, but kept the public informed. At no point did we wonder if Ford knew what they had done was wrong, we were told it was being looked into and we knew something was going to happen.
But the PR didn’t only extend to Twitter. When Scott reached a resolution between site owners and his the legal department, he made sure to post it on each site. A letter was posted explaining what had happened, that the owner wasn’t being charged with anything, and how to stop this from happening again.
Posting a letter on the actual sites that started the controversy was a great idea. Not only do you bring a high-profile individual from Ford to the an enthusiast site, but the conversation was occurring on these sites. As people were reading what was happening, they could see that the newest thread or post was a response to what had happened. Instead of trying to drag people to Ford’s message, Scott brought the message to the people.
Ford’s foray into social media is to be applauded. They’ve taken a huge step in innovation and one I think is a good direction. In hindsight, Scott the only thing you need to do better is work closer with your legal, pr, and marketing department. I understand each office’s want to be independent, and the need to be nimble. But without good knowledge of how to talk to bloggers and work in the digital world, the other departments may quickly undermine all the work you’ve done.
Regardless, social media is still young and mistakes will be made, at least we learned something from it.
What do you think about Ford’s use of social media? Are they doing a good job? What could they do different? Don’t forget to follow @ScottMonty and let him know! You can also leave a comment here.