Social as the Great Equalizer

By now we’ve all heard about the pervasive presence of social media, and we as a society join increasingly more platforms all the time. In the business space, thought-leaders have started to wonder if social media can be the great equalizer between small and large businesses alike. So, those at Social Media Week gathered some of the industry’s most recognized names in social media and held a panel moderated by Dominic Chu from Bloomberg called Social as the Great Equalizer: Interviews with Companies Large and Small.

Representing the small businesses were Divya Narendra, founder of SumZero, and David Fudge, the Director of Brand Marketing at Bonobos. Hailing from the larger companies were Craig Hepburn, Global Head of Digital and Social at Nokia, Scott Roen, VP of Digital and Partnerships at American Express, and Sara Larsen, VP of Digital Marketing at SAP.

One of the first questions put to the panelists was: How do you know whether your social media efforts are working? David Fudge explained that it starts with figuring out what your goals are. Before you are able to measure success, you have to figure out what metrics you are going to use.

Craig Hepburn chimed in next and said bluntly: “If you don’t understand the value of social, don’t do it. You need to make sure it fits the culture of your business.” Hepburn advocated creating contextual experiences to build stronger relationships with customers, and using social to understand what your customers really want and need.

After this discussion the conversation came around to exploring what makes content engaging, and how you can drive conversation. Scott Roen noted that in B2B relationships it is all about getting the emotional connection. For American Express’ Open Forum they tapped into business’ challenges and they saw a huge influx of participation. American Express gave small businesses a tool to utilize during the tough economy, and established their site as an insightful resource.

Hepburn championed getting behind a social cause as a brand that people already care about, and helping the community amplify it and make it more successful.

Ultimately, the panel agreed that any business or individual could get into social very easily. However, it can also get complicated really easily. Researching to truly understand the psychology and sociology behind social media makes a huge difference.

Last tips for businesses using social media focused on being authentic and timely. You have to be authentic to the brand, but you also have to be authentic to the social channel you’re using. As long as a business stick to their core values and uses social to benefit their customers, social very well could be the next equalizer.

Image courtesy of Flickr, luc legay

Ford Remixes Old Fiesta Campaign for 2013 Strategy

Social Media Week has taken New York City by storm, as thought-leaders and innovators discuss industry trends and developments. Kicking off Tuesday morning at the Business and Entrepreneurship Hub at Bloomberg HQ was Global Head of Social Media at Ford, Scott Monty. Scott Monty has been ranked by Forbes as one of the Top 10 Influencers in Social Media, and his presentation clearly demonstrated his mastery in the industry.

Scott Monty started the session by emphasizing the importance of personal relationships in our rapidly developing digital age. Monty believes that social media is bringing business back to a trusted relationship, and it helps combat the impersonality of our mass media age.

After establishing these sentiments, Monty took the audience through the history of Ford’s social media efforts and the lessons they learned along the way. He pointed out that the lessons Ford learned were universal, and that both big and small businesses could benefit from them.

Four years ago, Ford launched the Fiesta Movement introducing their new Ford Fiesta. The campaign involved giving away 100 Ford Fiestas to digitally connected people around the United States for 6 months, and then tasking them with video challenges each month. The whole campaign was documented via social media platforms, and the Fiesta Movement videos earned 6.2 million views on YouTube, 750,000 views on Flickr and 40 million impressions on Twitter with the hashtag #Fiesta Movement.

All in all, the success of this campaign was measured by the 82% increase in consideration by consumers new to Ford, and a 30% gain in consumers below the age of 25. The lesson Ford learned: If you have a good product, let go of your fear and let others tell your story.

The success of the 2009 Ford Fiesta campaign must have pleased the Ford executives, because Monty announced a revamping of the same campaign for their 2013 initiative. This campaign is called Fiesta Movement: A Social Remix and is extremely similar to the campaign four years ago. It will feature 100 people, a mix of celebrities, alumni from the past campaign and regular people who will get to use a Ford Focus for six months. Like last time, each of the people will be tasked with creating a video around a specific theme each month, and this content will be eligible to be Ford’s advertising content.

Ford’s advertising for this campaign will be largely user-generated and crowdsourced from the missions and activities of the Focus advocates.

Recruitment to become a Ford Focus agent started Tuesday, February 20 and the whole campaign is expected to roll out in late April or early May. If you’re interested, you can register online at or follow the hashtag #FiestaMovement.

Image courtesy of toprankonlinemarketing