Ford Motor Company set a new standard this year by introducing their 2011 Ford Explorer on Social Media. On June 26th, 2010 Ford posted twelve videos on YouTube and linked them to their Facebook “Reveal” page. One of the goals of this project was to get 30,000 people to ‘Like’ the Ford Facebook page. At about 3:00 pm on the 26th, Ford had 48,900 ‘Likes’. By 1:00 am on the 27th they had over 53,000.

Ford started their postings with a video that included Mike Rowe, the Ford spokesman, and Alan Mulally, Ford’s CEO.

Visit Ford on Facebook, go to their Reveal page, and look at the campaign they set up for July 26th.

Huck HuckabeeI have had two customers approach me in the last couple of months and talk about making major changes to their marketing strategies. In both cases these customers have been to trade shows and have attended seminars that are showing them the importance of Internet marketing and Social Media. One of my customers is reducing Yellow Page advertising to a bare minimal and moving those resources to a blog, Facebook and Twitter. The other, Starnes Jewelers, his already seeing the benefits.

Mashable, an online Social Media magazine, posted an article by Erica Swallow that really shows what is happening with small businesses and Social Media. Adoption rates have doubled from 12% to 24% in the last year.

Erica’s article reviews five neat examples of small businesses using Social Media. Click here and take a look.

According to Borrell Associates, from Williamsburg, VA, marketers will spent over $38 billon on social media advertising and promotions by 2015. That could get it closer to being the primary media means for business in the future. Marketers need to master social media or they could have a hard time finding work.

  1. Engage your current customers with social media. There are ample sources of social media. What you use will depend on your business and your clientele. LinkedIn has forums that can cover a wide range of topics or can be very specific. The same goes for blogs. YouTube can show video of a specific use for a product and get comments or suggestions from current users.  Research various tools to see what works best for your business.
  2. Generate qualified leads. Research by the Social Media Examiner, a web-zine, reported that 52% of their survey respondents had used social media in obtaining qualified leads. Friends of friends can connect with your business through common contacts. Customers looking for specific goods and services can search the social media for businesses that can meet their needs. Make sure they can find you in social media.
  3. Minimize negative word of mouth. Social media is in the control of the customer, not the business. Most businesses have some dissatisfied customers. Some of those dissatisfied customers will spread information related to their dissatisfaction by one of the most effective promotion tools ever known – word of mouth! And the power of word of mouth is multiplying as social media grows. Several tools are available, such as TweetDeck, that notify you when someone is talking about your business. From there a business can take action to minimize the damage done by such customers.
  4. Capitalize on positive word of mouth. Maximize the impact of positive word of mouth. Expand the conversations and ask for suggestions on how to improve your services. You can get some really good ideas from your customers.

What social media tools does your business use? How are you using them.