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8/30/2009
05:46 PM
Bob Evans
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Ford Swaps New Cars For Twitter Chatter

Ford is seeding the U.S. market for the imminent introduction of its Fiesta model by giving Fiestas to 100 bloggers with a requirement that they upload Fiesta-related videos each month to YouTube and discuss their impressions of the car on Twitter, Facebook, and their blogs.

Ford is seeding the U.S. market for the imminent introduction of its Fiesta model by giving Fiestas to 100 bloggers with a requirement that they upload Fiesta-related videos each month to YouTube and discuss their impressions of the car on Twitter, Facebook, and their blogs.USA Today says Ford sees this as a historic tie-in for the iconic company:

"It's extremely important to this company's history," says Scott Monty, whose job as head of social media at Ford was created about a year ago to take advantage of the growing social-networking wave. "It's about culture change and adapting to this ongoing way of communicating. The bloggers are fully free to say what they want."

Meanwhile, Levi Strauss is invoking the philosophy of legendary bank-robber Willie Sutton as it hopes to make deeper connections with younger shoppers. After one of his arrests, Sutton was asked why he robbed banks, and Sutton replied, "That's where the money is."

In a similar vein of thought, Levi Strauss director of digital marketing Megan O'Connor says the launch of Twitter and Facebook campaigns makes perfect sense for the 150-year-old company: "It was an easy call. This is where our customers are," she told USA Today.

The article offers up some head-spinning statistics about the impact of social media, including these:

"Facebook is up to 250 million members, 50 million of whom joined in the past three months. In April, they spent 13.9 billion minutes on Facebook, up 700% from April 2008, says Nielsen NetView. . . Twitter has about 40 million users who each day produce a staggering amount of tweets, Twitter's quaint word to describe short messages. Its users spent nearly 300 million minutes on the site in April, 3,712% more than in April 2008, Nielsen says."

In a Global CIO column earlier this month called "Why CIOs Need The Transformative Power Of Twitter", I offer six additional examples of how five large and one small organization are using Twitter to connect more intimately with customers and prospects. Those included PepsiCo, Mayo Clinic, Hyatt, University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari, Major League Baseball, and a small winery in Australia.

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