December 18th, 2008 by Sten Franke
Original article by David Nelles (translated by Nils Maier)
Twitter appears to be the “It” place for the application of company’s communication, both for external and internal purpose. A few weeks back, moms and women twittered avidly their outrage against Motrin campaign and recently there is another case making its appearance on Twitter, which proves once again how truly relevant this channel for company’s communication is. In this recent case, Ford – with the help of Twitter – has succeeded in preventing wide spread damages, which could have cost the company’s reputation. The starting point was a letter of notice sent by Ford’s legal department to a privately owned Ford fansite, demanding for $5000 or the site gets shut down. The copyright violations were the reason behind this demand.
The prominent warned platform was therangerstation.com. This fansite is dedicated to lovers of Ford’s small pick- up trucks. Based in Detroit, this fansite exists for more than 10 years. Well, the reactions regarding Ford’s legal demand were quick to come; the story appeared on the same day in two major car blogs like Jalopnik and Autoblog as well as on Twitter.
It was like a dark cloud of social media brewing over the online reputation of Ford. However, unlike Motrin, Ford has Scott Monty, who is the head of Ford’s social media and he actively reacted in a quick manner over criticisms voiced in Twitter – by continuously tweeting and promising to clear the issue as soon as possible.
Few hours later, Scot tweeted Ford’s official response and provided the link for the official statement of Ford over therangerstation.com controversy. This action was good enough to calm brands evangelists.
Hence, through quick and active reactions from Ford communicator, the virally spread of this issue and online reputation damages for the company were successfully prevented. Certainly, Motrin would have preferred this kind of success. Well, Scott Monty surely took all rules of social media communicator to heart: listen intensively, velocity, deal directly and personally.
In the U.S, Twitter has established itself as a channel for professional communicators. Unfortunately, the case is quite different here in Germany, the discussion revolving around Twitter and its adoption for the company’s communication has just yet to begin. Whether a company should be twittering or not, the examples of past times have definitely shown that Twitter should at least belong to a portfolio of a social media monitoring. However, company’s communicators should not wait too long to get actively engaged in the discussion of microblogging services, where so many multipliers are located like nowhere else.
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