Driving Sales and PR with Social Media

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An automobile made by Ford is currently generating major publicity and its eco-friendly?!? No, it’s not one of the signs of the apocalypse; it’s the new Ford Explorer. Crazy but true, the new Ford Explorer has driven into new territory perhaps signaling a positive change for American made cars. The major source of this Ford Tough brand reinvention? Social media marketing.

The 2011 Ford Explorer redesign unveiled Monday by CEO Alan Mulaly in an exclusive preview is a smoother ride than the previous rough and tumble models providing a smoother ride and it is now 20 percent more fuel efficient. The new Explorer made its debut Monday in Manhattan a top of a man-made mountain. Ford filmed the whole unveiling event, streaming it live on Facebook in an effort to please the Explorers some 48, 000 fans. Facebook users were giving an exclusive preview that also included live chats with engineers and tons of recently updated photos. Dubbed the online “Reveal” , Explorer’s Facebook page was a one-stop for new product info and also served as a media guide for news outlets that caught wind of the Ford Manhattan publicity takeover.

Ford has been pretty vocal about how important social media marketing is to the future of the company that in 2008 battled image problems and low sales. Ford has dozens of Facebook pages devoted to its different models as well as Twitter pages that are product specific. In the era of car makers facing the firing squad for botched safety features and let them eat pavement attitudes (hello, Toyota!) Ford has tapped into the power of social media marketing. Ford is using the channels to give consumers a sneak peek into new products like the Explorer while creating discussion. GM and Chevy have also leaned on social media heavily over the last two years for promotional blitzes like Ford’s Explorer campaign.

But what do you readers think- does a smart social media campaign change your mind about older, somewhat beleaguered products? Tell us in the comments section below!

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