Ford’s Social Media Black Belt

I first met Ford’s social media chief Scott Monty in 2008 at a blogger meet-up (or was it a Tweet-up?) at the PRSA International Conference in his hometown of Detroit. Oddly enough, he kind of already knew about me, or rather about an issue I was having with my Lincoln MKX.

Basically, my car’s roof rack ripped off while car-topping my #2 son’s sailboat en route to a regatta. It created a gash in the roof, which the dealer and Ford customer service refused to repair even though the roof rack had a load-rating well in excess of the weight of my son’s boat.

I became so frustrated that I took to these pages, a la Jeff Jarvis, to express my displeasure and decry Ford’s short-sightedness. Apparently, Ford contacted Scott — who hadn’t even started in his new job there — to ask him how best to handle. He advised them to do the right thing. And they did. (It was the only time my wife was impressed that I was able to monetize my blog.)

Ford’s Social Media Chief Scott Monty

I reconnected with Scott last night in New York’s massive Javits Center a few days before the start of the New York International Auto Show and a good three years into his role as social media strategist/evangelist for one of the world’s most esteemed brands. He appeared courtesy of the Social Media Club of New York and its chief Howard Greenstein.

Who could have predicted even three years ago how much this practice would evolve since those early days of listening to the online conversation and engaging potential detractors? (Or that Scott would have 53,000+ Twitter followers who include virtually every automotive journalist, industry analyst and Ford enthusiast, not to mention a broad swath of social/digital pundits.)

Scott and the Ford Explorer product manager made their presentations and showed some videos. I dashed off a couple of tweets:

PeterHimler @ScottMonty “Can you sell cars on Twitter? I’m here to tell you that we can.” #ford #SMCNY
16 hours ago

PeterHimler @ScottMonty re: Ford’s social media strategy: “We won’t put all our eggs in Facebook. We don’t own it and can’t control it”
16 hours ago

I then muscled my way in to grab some sound with Scott. We talked about:

  • What has changed since 2008.
  • Does listening and engaging remain a core competency for social media professionals?
  • Where does mainstream media relations fit in the communications mix today?
  • How much digital content does Ford create?
  • How big is Ford’s social media department, and how can it scale?
  • What plans, if any, does Ford have to empower rank & file employees as SM evangelists?

Take a listen to the clip here. (RT: 6:13)

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