Monday, September 12, 2011

Google+ Business Test Account Ford

 
Brand accounts are not allowed on Google+. That is unless you’re Ford Motor Company, MTV, or a few select others. However, more signs are beginning to show that Brand Pages are close to being rolled out.


You can see it here: Ford Motor Company


In the late 2000′s, the attorney’s at Ford enraged web enthusiasts by threatening lawsuits over Copyright infringement, suing the people who are enthusiastic about your products in certainly NOT a smart PR move. Once the facts came out Scott quickly utilized Twitter to keep enthusiasts up to date about compromises being made and how the company was resolving the fiasco. Clearly, Ford is becoming a company that understands and utilizes social media to it’s advantage.

Ford also launched the new Ford Explorer on Facebook; leveraging the social network to tease the audience with all sorts of content that users could “Like”. According to Spiral16:


When it was all said and done, it was determined that the digital launch had a bigger impact than a Super Bowl ad. Some stats:
  • Total impressions – 99 million
  • #1 Trending Topic on Twitter; #2 in Google Trends for the day
  • 500,000-plus 2011 Explorer site visits versus daily average of 7,000 for 2010 Explorer
  • Hit 50,000 Facebook likes of the Ford Explorer by end of day July 26 – added over 10,000 likes in a single day
Clearly, the campaign on Facebook was worth the effort if it had a bigger impact than the extremely high profile, but very expensive Super Bowl Ads. The man behind Ford‘s push into social is their head of social media, Scott Monty. He has been called “an unstoppable force of nature,” “the best corporate social media lead on the planet,” and Alan Mulally, the CEO of Ford Motor Company, called him “a visionary.”
Ford Google+ Test Account
As you can see in the image above, Ford is one of the few companies that Google has allowed to maintain a Brand Page on Google+. The Brand Page as it exists right now looks just like any other Google+ profile with the exception of a red “TEST ACCOUNT” button. While Google+ doesn’t have analytics and or ads yet, Ford has been testing the site and looking at how Google+ will fit into their social media strategy. One of their first posts was about their presence ON Google+ and asking users for comments on what they would like to see out of Ford on the Google+ platform… and users responded. Since then Ford has been slowly trickling out images, posts, using Buzz, etc and testing the waters of Google+, telling InformationWeek that:
“On Google+, users seem to be much more interested in interaction with the people behind Ford, the designers and engineers. People are really interested having some interaction with them on Google+,” Monty said. While it doesn’t yet represent as much of a mass market as other services in this trial phase, Google+ is populated by “influentials and early adopters and technology enthusiasts” Ford is interested in connecting with, he said.
It’s obvious that Ford “gets it” when it comes to social media. It’s not just passive advertising that counts, it’s user engagement. Google recognizes this and that’s why they’re one of the test partners. While no-one knows exactly when Brand Pages will roll out to Google+, the fact that large companies that are smart about social media are playing a roll in helping Google shape how Brand Pages will work is a sign that they are taking it seriously and and working with these companies to create more than just passive ad campaigns. It turns out that Ford’s profile may soon switch to an official Google+ Brand Page. +Michael Fordham from isozial recently posted a screenshot of a new “Brand” button that displayed for a short time on Google+.
google-brand-page-icon-appears
So Brand Pages may be just around the corner, and with luck other companies will take a cue from Ford and use the platform in the way that most of us have already seen it to be an excellent tool for: engagement.

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