Communication, Amplified

Give a voice to your strongest supporters.


Consider for a moment how powerful social media can be to 1) help establish market awareness, 2) transfer information to others via word of mouth at no cost, and 3) increase the number of prospects and sales an institution can capture.

When Ford Motor launched its Fiesta model in the United States, social media was a major part of its strategy. In fact, "its initial marketing push relied solely on social media,” reports CFO Magazine. But the company didn’t rely solely on its own social media prowess to get the job done.

"People trust corporations less than ever," the company’s head of social media told the magazine, "but they trust people like themselves."

So, Ford put the vehicle’s fate (and the vehicle itself) in the hands of 100 bloggers, pod casters, YouTube celebrities, and automotive journalists. These “digital influencers" then did what they do. They posted videos and photos, tweeted, blogged, and generally used all media at their disposal to talk about the car.

This content was then streamlined to a singular website location. To preserve the outreach's authenticity, Ford did not filter or edit the content (note: too many obvious ads and heavy marketing kills the message).

The results: seven million YouTube views, skyrocketing brand awareness rates (from near zero to 58%), 130,000 consumer requests for further information, and a tenfold spike in conversion of reservations into vehicle orders.

What can cooperatives learn from this example?

  • You only fail when you quit. Learn through common mistakes and best practices, but above all, keep things moving.  
  • Identify the “100 influencers” in your messaging. Are they members, the community, the media, fellow credit unions, or others?
  • Make resources — such as video, multi-media, and online links — available to influencers so they can add them to their viral messaging.
  • Embed tags and codes in the messaging so you can track sources and viral outreach.
  • Establish and maintain a platform where you can direct all social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) and collect information.
  • Make your campaigns more engaging to influencers by promoting their part in the efforts. Offer contests when appropriate and reward those most successful at generating buzz.
  • Use engagement options (pop-up surveys, games, polling, etc.) on the website to further propagate viral traffic.

April 7, 2011



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