I recently came across a study conducted by Immediate Future, a UK PR firm, that analyzed the Interband Top 100 brands and arranged them in order of social media share of voice. From this list I’ve picked ten industry leading brands that I believe will have an impact on social media in 2009. What do all of these brands have in common that makes them a potential social media giant? They’re a leader in their industry, they have directors or senior managers who have a Twitter account, and they have a blog or some type of forum for customers to interact. Below you will find the company’s current social media efforts along with the individuals that have a Twitter account for their respective company.
While the bailout and economic troubles in Detroit tend to be the focus on the auto industry, the social media efforts Ford is creating is refreshing. Saying no to the government’s bailout is one thing, but engaging and participating in Twitter the manner Digital and Multimedia Communications Director Scott Monty does is worth reporting. The innovative Ford Digital Snippets is the platform Ford uses for social media press releases. This enables consumers to comment and ask questions pertaining to each and every press release they issue. A video heavy company news site, The Ford Story, has been at the forefront for distributing all of the company and Washington DC updates. Scott Monty also uses his own blog, a social media marketing blog, to give his own perspective on Ford with a social media twist. Ford has a long way to go, but they’ve separated themselves from the other US auto makers and their use of social media in 2009 may make Toyota start to sweat.
Twitter users: Scott Monty
Intel recently took a gigantic step in the right direction with the creation of Intel’s Social Media Guidelines. In a day and age where anyone in the company can use social media it’s important to set the do’s and don’ts of social media engagement. From the sheer number of Twitter users, which you can see below, making sure all social media users represents the company in a unified fashion will only enhance their brand’s reputation. Intel’s Blog section covers all departments and several international sites to inform the public of company news. Displaying news on these blogs allows consumers to connect and give their own reactions. The Intel Software Network is a great platform for developers and engineers to connect. We know Intel is the industry leader for processors, but a great social media plan in 2009 they might knock AMD out for good.
An established social media community, the Dell Community, allows employees and customers to connect and learn any and everything about Dell. With forums, blogs, videos, wikis, groups, and more Dell has one of the most dynamic corporate communities on this list. Ideadstorm is a one of a kind community where brainstorming is conducted through the consumer. Dell has also launched the non-branded Digital Nomads a community to share ideas and connect with other technology fans. Dell has to do something to counter Apple’s strangle on the computing world. A social media push in 2009 might just be what the doctor ordered.
As dynamic a company you’ll find Microsoft enables their users to connect, provide suggestions, and learn through the Microsoft Communities. Each product has a separate technical community to allow troubled customers to get their most urgent questions answered. Microsoft also has their own bookmarking system, similar to Delicious, called MSDN Social and their own open source hosting site called CodePlex. Countless blogs, too many to post here, also exist by employees in an effort to engage the Microsoft community. Expect for Google and Microsoft to duke it out as they compete for Internet supremacy with social media being the main event.
Duncan Wardle’s media relations presentation in early 2008 set the standard for Disney’s social media efforts. Disney’s family community, Mom’s panel, and Dad’s community is a great start towards reaching out beyond just kids. Various blogs from various communities gives everyone in the family a voice. Overall Disney is putting parents at ease with a safe, Myspace like, site that everyone in the family can use. It will be fun to watch all of Wardle’s ideas begin to unfold at the magical kingdom in 2009.
Twitter Users: Thomas Smith
Nokia, in previous years, set the precedent they were going to pioneer mobile social media with the purchase of Twango, Enpocket, Loudeye and the mapping company Navteq. They continued that trend in 2008 by purchasing Zurich and Berlin-based social networking service Plazes. The creation of Ovi, N-Gage, and MOSH has promoted Nokia to the front of the mobile industry. Nokia currently connects with users through the blog Nokia Conversations. Nokia has vowed to lead the circular entertainment phenomenon. 2009 could be that year they break through.
With the acquisition of Flux and the creation of the Campus Daily Guide MTV, with the help of Viacom, will attempt to become the overall leader of social media content and users. MTV already captures prime demographics, now it’s a matter of controlling and funneling those users to their social media sources. Viacom, which is the parent company of MTV, owns over 1,300 sites which boosts 7.5 million users. Facebook and Myspace currently have the most users online, but with the help of Viacom, MTV looks poised to make a move in 2009.
Amazon.com could be considered one big social media network with products you can buy. Reviews, forums, recommendations, and more. The buying experience is the number one priority of Amazon.com. The customer communities allow customers to share their passion with their community. It will be interesting to see what Amazon.com does in 2009, because you know something big is always on the horizon with them.
Twitter Users: Werner Vogels
If there’s anyone wondering how an additional car company could make it on this list look no further than the Scion Speak website. Toyota, understanding their demographics, has created a community entirely around specific models of their cars. The Scion is a perfect example of the trend setting ideas that Toyota is using. The build your own car part of their website has quickly become a must for any car company. Toyota also hosts a dynamic blog with Toyota TV just in case you wanted to watch a commercial or two. Ford is making a strong push, but Toyota’s own efforts could seal the deal for the car industry leader of social media in 2009.
Twitter Users: Scott DeYager
Did you really think that a list pertaining to anything in the Internet would not include Google? Every service and application has a forum and group to interact and ask questions within the community. For example Google also has OpenSocial a community for developers that will only help enhance Google’s products. Chatting, blogging, videos, and more Google has everything you can imagine. Updates and new technologies are released almost on a weekly basis. With 2009 pointing towards a big year for social media you can bet that Google will be in on the mix.
Feel free to add any brands you believe will be a social media force with a comment below.