The automotive sector has obviously come under much fire of late and I thought it to be interesting when studying how they are engaging in social media and to understand some of their successes in meeting the extreme challenges they are facing in current conditions.
There are many examples of the automotives using social media to help engage with customers, stock holders, and even to help put out PR fires quickly and effectively.
The big OEM’s most all have a blog that is regularly updated and frequently commented. GM Fastlane is one of the more popular automotive blogs and has been going for nearly 5 years now and frequently has comments and postings from the CEO. This is a great example of an organization leveraging social media to engage with the customer in a sort of town-hall fashion, which helps on many levels.
Another example of a major automotive company is Ford Motor Company using social media to help fan a potentially large PR fire. Head of social media, Scott Monty, was able to use Twitter and his vast social network to manage the potential crisis and put it to rest. There is an extensive case study done which you can download here. In addition to this, Ford also maintains a Facebook web site and “Safe Driving” area, and an Online Newsroom as well as video, image and social media press releases.
Finally, Saturn recently launched a social network centered on Saturn drivers. The site mimics a Facebook or MySpace in terms of features but is all focused on Saturn providing it a unique focus group where they can inject new ideas, listen to customer concerns and ideas, and also provide a sense of community centered around their product line.
All of these examples show that even though the automotive industry may be down, they are still focused on the consumer and trying to connect closer and more frequently with potential customers.