Badges let consumers express brand affinity on Facebook, Twitter, and other sites.
Ford has unveiled 44 social media badges as part of what the brand's social media head, Scott Monty, characterizes as a soft launch for a larger initiative. It marks the automotive manufacturer's first foray into the badges concept, Monty said.
"It's a further evolution to making social the core of everything we do," he told ClickZ News. "They allow our fans to identify their interests."
Consumers can append the badges to their Facebook profiles, Google+ pages, Twitter accounts, blogs, and other sites. Examples include "Ford I Drive One," "Tech Geek," "Athlete," and "Fusion Hybrid."
"Fans can select a badge and make it their Facebook profile picture or their Twitter avatar," Monty said. When asked what kind of scale his company thinks the badges can achieve, he responded, "We're not prepared to discuss that right now."
The badges may provide Ford with data that will help deliver more relevant content on the company's Social.Ford.com site, he said. "We want to be as specialized and targeted as possible," Monty said. "We want to steer as far away from more general content as we can."
Ford was one of the first brands to test Google+ and has generally been extremely active in social media marketing during the past two years. The efforts seem to be trickling down nicely to the dealer level.
Lebanon Ford, based in Lebanon, OH, recently won an Automotive Social Media Award (ASMA) for its Facebook page engagement. The small town dealer has almost 1,000 "likes" while offering Facebook-only coupons on oil changes.
Monty said, "We provide our 3,000 dealerships nationwide with as much social media best practices and guidelines as we can."
Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.
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