Interview With the Head of Social Media at Ford

Check out this interview Scott Monty, head of social media at Ford Motor Company.
During the interview, Scott discusses how to connect and engage with customers through social media. Scott also discusses:

  • How Ford uses Google+ and why creating a conversation on Google+ is different compared to other platforms
  • How they measure the sales impact of their blog
  • Why social media is about creating a story
  • Using humor in your social media marketing
  • Upcoming trends in social media

How Ford Engages Customers With Social Media (

5 Steps to Using Twitter Effectively

Check out this great blog on 5 easy steps for using Twitter effectively.

This post explains why each step is important and how to complete it successfully.

Some of the steps covered are:

  • What to tweet about
  • When to tweet
  • Why to re-tweet
  • Using hashtags (Hashtags are one of my favorite ways to draw attention to your tweets!)

This post also has some great links to social media resources.

Hunger Games Social Media Strategy Breakdown

The promotion of the upcoming Hunger Games movie is a great example of a multidimensional online campaign incorporating an interactive website and social media. Fans are not located on just one social media platform, so it is important to develop a multi-platform strategy. The strategy should also include ways to drive traffic across platforms and ultimately to the main website. The online promotion of the Hunger Games movie has successfully integrated multiple platforms, driven traffic across platforms and to the website, built a community, and created an on-going conversation about the movie. Below is a breakdown of the four social media platforms incorporated, how each was used, and how they connect to each other.


A Facebook page has been created for each of the 12 fictional districts of Panem. Each page includes the following:

  • Information on the tributes selected from each district
  • Possible opening ceremony costume designs for the tributes
  • Information on the district

Check out the District 12 Facebook page here!


An online Capitol fashion and culture magazine was created using the social media platform Tumblr. The online magazine is called Capitol Couture and is meant to be a realistic representation of what a Capitol fashion and culture magazine would be. It includes pictures of the extravagant shoes, clothes, and hairstyles that would be all the rage in the Capitol. Hunger Games Tumblr Capitol CoutureArticles about different characters such as Effie Trinket, Cinna, and President Snow, as well as articles predicting what the tributes will be wearing in the opening ceremony cover the pages of the site. The writing has both a superficial and light-hearted tone, just as you would expect from a fashion news source in the Capitol of Panem. As expected, all the articles are pro-Capitol and make sure to portray life in the Capitol as fabulous. All the authors write as if they are actual Capitol citizens, and as if the games have not yet happened. There are even articles on how to throw a “capitol style” party to watch the opening ceremony. The content writing is perfect at creating a realistic world. This is exactly what one would expect to find Katniss’ prep team, Octavia, Venia, and Flavius, to be reading as they wait for the tributes to arrive in the Capitol. As this is a multidimensional social media strategy, the Capitol.PN Twitter feed has been incorporated into the page to drive cross platform traffic.


Twitter campaign is probably the most complex component of the social media strategy. Twelve Twitter users have been assigned as the twelve district recruiters and tweet daily about Hunger Game topics and news. Twitter fans can follow each of the twelve district representatives, as well as the main District Discussion RatesCapitol account @TheCapitolPN.

The list of district representatives can be found here.

Hashtags have also been assigned to help fans follow the Hunger Games on twitter:

  • #District1PN (corresponding hashtags for each district)
  • #HungerGames12
  • #HungerGames24 (Tweets including this hashtag are displayed in a “Panem Citizens Discussion” feed on the Capitol.PN Network website)
  • #LookYourBest

Twitter followers can also check out the Capitol.PN Network website to see a chart depicting the current discussion rate of each district. The discussion rate is based on the usage of each districts’ hashtag (example: #District12PN). I think that this strategy is more complex than that of the other platforms because there are 13 Twitter handles and multiple hashtags to monitor, in addition to it being a 24/7 real time feed.


There are two official YouTube Sub-Channels for the Hunger Games: Capitol TV Productions and the District Citizens Reel. Capitol TV Productions includes all the official videos of the movie, including the official trailers and scenes. The page even states, “These videos have been officHunger Games YouTube Channel CapitolTVially sanctioned by the Capitol for the consumption of District citizens”. The District Citizens Reel includes only user-created videos that are related to the Hunger Games and include the tag “CapitolTV”. The District Citizens Reel gives the illusion that the videos were created and uploaded by the citizens in the twelve districts of Panem. They have created a great balance between the Official/Propaganda tone of the Capitol channel and the authenticity of the Districts channel. Each channel also connects users to the each of the twelve district Facebook pages and the Network website. Keeping with the basic purpose of social media, to create a conversation, a question is included below the videos for users to comment on. I really like the idea of posing a question instead of just asking for comments. Sometimes it is difficult to decide what to include in a comment, but a question opens up the conversation.

Hunger Games Website Strategy

Like many others, I have read and fallen in love with the Hunger Games trilogy. Upon finishing the last book, and with the knowledge of the upcoming movie, I decided to check out the movie’s website to watch the trailer. As I dug deeper, I found much more than just a website full of information about a movie. I found a multidimensional online campaign incorporating an interactive website and social media. The Hunger Games online marketing campaign has not only promoted the movie; it has created a world in which it feels like the country of Panem actually exists. In this post, I want to break down the official Hunger Games websites that serve as the core of their online marketing strategy.

Hunger Games Website Design & Strategy

As with other movies, a general Hunger Games movie website was created that features the movie trailer, photos, posts, countdown, and more.

Digging deeper into the site, I noticed that they had created an online world around the idea of a real country called Panem. A separate site connected to the main Hunger Games movie website called the Capitol.PN network was created.

Hunger Games Capitol Network Site

Upon entering the Capitol Network Hunger Games website, I noticed that I did not recognize the top-level domain. My first thought was “what in the world is .pn?” After doing a quick Google search, I discovered the top-level stands for the Pitcairn Islands. This domain is only used in a hand full of other URLs, including ESPN and Groupon.

So why was this uncommon domain picked? It actually seems like a VERY smart choice. They are creating a world in which it seems that this website is the official website of the Hunger Games (not the book but the actual games) created by the Capitol of Panem. This may seem like a very miniscule change, but this was actually a highly significant decision because the URL is on all promotional materials, both online and offline.

Upon entering the Capital.PN Network, users must register as citizens of Panem. Registration can be completed by using your Facebook or Twitter account. After registering, each “citizen” is assigned to a district (this will be pivotal to the social media strategy).

Sections within the Capitol Network site include

  • Opening Ceremonies – This section includes information on how to watch the live broadcast of the red carpet premier.
  • Reserve seats – Where you can purchase tickets to the movie.
  • District Tributes– where you can view the profile of each tribute along, which includes specific QR code for more information. This information would be beneficial in Panem for betting purposes. A live feed of Capitol updates is also located in this section.
  • Capitol TV – This section features only the official trailers for the movie, or in relation to the book, these are the Capitol sanctioned videos.

Here is the Citizen of Panem ID card I was issued during registration:

It is the small details make this online marketing strategy that make it intriguing. For Example:

  • On the Reserve Seats page, there are several mentions  “Attendance is Mandatory”
  • The Capitol Updates feed on the District Tributes page makes sure to mention “Your Trusted Source for News”
  • The Capitol TV page refers to the trailers as Official Capitol TV Productions.

Though small, each of these things helps to create a more real and concrete world.

Both the design and layout of the site do an exceptionally good job of portraying the culture and control of the Capitol. Almost the entire site is designed using shades of gray, which may represent the cold control the Capitol holds over the districts. The only other color included in the design is gold, which may represent the power and importance of the Capitol. The style of the layout is highly formal and technical; it reminds me of what I imagine a website that a secret organization used would look like. I think that the design and layout of the Capitol.PN Network site does a perfect job of portraying the control and unemotional rule of the Capitol over the fictional country of Panem.

Check out my other post just about the use of social media for the promotion of the Hunger Games movie. I breakdown how using multiple platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube) helped to drive site traffic, build a community around the movie, and sustain a conversation. Hunger Games Social Media Strategy Breakdown

What do you think of the Hunger Games website?

Check out my other  information on website strategy and design:

Banana Republic In Flight Fashion Show

Banana Republic is doing an amazing job of promoting their new Mad Men collection. Their newest promotional effort was spontaneous, innovative, and buzz worthy.

During a Virgin America flight from New York to Los Angeles, Banana Republic held a spontaneous fashion show right in the middle of the airplane. Using the aisle as the runway, they featured the new styles from their Mad Men collection for both men and women. They combined the video of the event with the tagline “Add a little glamour to your flying” and posted it YouTube, where it became a viral sensation. This event was perfect, down to the fact that they coordinated having five popular bloggers on the flight. The bloggers were under the assumption that they were attending a fashion show for the Mad Men collection in Los Angeles and were caught by surprise as well.

Customers no longer respond to traditional advertising and marketing efforts. It is more important now than ever to find a way to create buzz about your brand and shock your customers. Make Them Remember Your Brand!

Growing Offline Business Using Online Tools

Social media has several purposes:

  1. Creating Conversations
  2. Building Brand Awareness
  3. Build a Community
  4. Educate
  5. Reach New Audiences
  6. Understand Your Current Audience
  7. Create a More Personal Brand
  8. Interact Directly with Customers
  9. Display Credibility
  10. Promote Your Company

The list could go on and on, on why social media is beneficial to your brand. With any marketing attempt, there must be a goal (such as selling more of a products). Online marketing efforts are very successful at creating online “followers” into offline customers, including:

  • social media
  • online ads
  • geographic based platforms

How Online Marketing Drives Offline Success Infographic

The infographic below from KISSmetrics breaks down how influential online marketing is for increasing sales and reaching conversion rate goals. Here are a few of the facts that stood out:

  • 53% of people on Twitter suggest companies and or products in their tweets with 48% delivering on their intention to buy
  • 75% of small businesses have a company page on a social networking site
  • 20% of searches on Google are location specific (are you using the right keywords for your SEO? Check out my blog on choosing the right keywords to increase your Google rankings here)
  • On average, 1155 people purchase a group deal on Groupon DAILY
  • The best banner ad size and location are 300×250 and the top right corner

How Online Marketing Drives Offline Success

7 Tips on Becoming Wildly Successful

I recently read a great blog post by Maren Kate on how to build a successful company or personal brand strategy. While this article was written in 2009, all the tips she shares are as relevant now as they were then.

  1. Be Your Own Groupie. Know what your business core, strengths, and niche are, and make it who you are, not just part of you. Love your business idea and your industry; love it so much that it is all you want to talk about. When you love want you do for a living, it no longer feels like work. Become your own biggest fan, and then people will become big fans, as well.
  2. Know Your Story. Figure out why you started loving the type of business you are in, since it is the basis of your brand. Turn the story into what your brand stands for.
  3. Be Seen. You may be the best in your industry or have the most potential, but if no one knows who you are, it does not change anything. Even if you are shy in your everyday life, make the commitment to be bold and outgoing when talking about business and your brand (especially your personal brand). However, remember that there is a difference between being outgoing and talking too much. Make sure that you listen to the people you network with just as much as you share your story and passion.
  4. Fill the gap. Find your niche in the market. Maren explains that “often what is behind the hip brands is not the actual products but instead it is the people who consist of the brand and the companies’ image.” Be open with your customers, do not try to be perfect, be honest, and admit your flaws, this will help create to a loyal customer base.
  5. Build relationships with talkers. What better way to spread the word about your brand than to build relationships with people who love to talk, blog, and tweet? Build relationships with talkers, real relationships not “one-night stand” relationships. Talkers already love to network, they are good at it, so build relationships with them, and they will spread the good word. On the same note, they know how to network so they can sniff out when someone is just using them, so do not just try to use them for their connections.
  6. Do not feed the dinosaurs. If you try and try to reach your audience through a platform and your do not have any success…you have already tried and tried, please do not try again. Try your luck with another channel, go where your customers already are. They probably are not waiting to see your newest commercial; rather they are either fast forwarding through the commercials or checking Facebook while they wait for their show to come back on. Cut the television budget and switch your efforts to social media and online marketing.
  7. Raising a freaky cow. “To survive and thrive in a post traditional marketing world you must have a strong brand built upon a well crafted story that resonates and connects with your target market.” This statement is definitely true; it is all about buzz marketing. Do not be generic, be unique.

Social Media Marketing Trends

Sharing Content

Social media is constantly evolving and changing, including:

  • How individuals use the different platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc)
  • How companies communicate with customers
  • How to measure success and ROI
  • How much to invest into a social media strategy and implementation (what is the value of social media?)

The Social Media Examiner published a great article on how to prove the value of social media for your company based on new research studies. In the article, they breakdown the five newest social media marketing trends:

The Benefits Derived From Social Media are Increasing

The top benefits of social media from a marketing perspective are increased brand awareness and the ability to engage in dialogue directly with their customers. Also, the amount of small businesses using social media has been constantly increasing the last two years. I definitely expect the amount of companies using social media to continue to increase this year. So, if your company has not started to develop a social media strategy to implement, this would be the year to start.

More Businesses are Investing in Social Media

It is estimated that both small and medium sized business will at least double their budgets for social media in 2012. Based on this estimation, I would predict that there would be an even larger budget increase for large and global size companies, who are already seeing the benefits of social media.

Measuring ROI is One of the Top Challenges Face by Marketers

A concerning trend is that approximately half of marketers are not measuring their social marketing to determine its’ success. Simple ways to measure the success of your social media strategy are tracking

  • Twitter Followers
  • Tweets are Re-Tweeted
  • Facebook Likes Shares
  • Comments on Facebook posts
  • Blog post views and comments
  • YouTube video views
  • Re-pins on Pinterest

More advanced measurements that you could calculate are lead generation and sales directed from social media, but this will require specific goals set implementing strategy.

Marketing Agencies View the Value of Social Media Differently

I am not surprised that research shows that blogs have the best benefit for increasing search results, especially when social sharing buttons are included. The more shares of an article the higher up it will appear in search results. Also, blog posts increase the amount of content on your website (the amount of content that search engines will crawl) so this will greatly benefit your rankings.

An Integrated Social Media Plan Leads to Greater Financial Results

In 2012, I hope to see more companies begin to fully integrate social media into their business process. Many companies are just beginning to use and understand social media, so it often falls into this “side project” category. In order for a social media strategy to be successful in increasing conversations, brand awareness, and financial goals, then social media must be fully integrated into a company’s marketing efforts.

It is going to be very interesting to see how these trends play out in 2012. Check out the full article and all the infographics here: 5 Social Media Marketing Trends: New Research | Social Media Examiner.

Image: Master isolated images /

How the 10 Most-Followed Brands are Leveraging Pinterest

Photo SearchPinterest is definitely catching the interest of big and influential companies, mostly fashion and media based companies. Including, one of may favorite websites, Mashable!

Magazine companies have seen the advantages of the new image based social media, including Real Simple and Better Homes & Gardens. Both of these magazines benefit from Pinterest because decorating tips are best translated through images. Kate Spade New York is leading the way for fashion brands on Pinterest, with almost 17,000 followers. Instead of waiting to see the newest ad in a magazine, customers can go on Pinterest and peruse all the newest looks.

One company that interests me greatly, it is not a media or fashion company, it is Whole Foods. While it may seem odd that a speciality grocery store has almost 15,000 followers on an image based social media platform, but it makes sense. They have figured out exactly how to portray their brand and company values through images with pictures of gardening, recipes, and food specials.

Via Scoop.itBeing Your Brand

Image: Danilo Rizzuti /