Ford, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo Discuss Social Media Woes

Sarah E. Needleman of The Wall Street Journal rounded up Bonin Bough, Pepsi's global director of digital and social media, Adam Brown, Coke's first head of social media and Scott Monty, Ford's head of social media to discuss their social media woes. According to Needleman, "monitoring a corporate image in cyberspace is a daunting task, even with technological help. Tracking software can identify hundreds of posts daily, and managers must decide which could prove troublesome."

Below are the highlights from Needleman's article. We encourage you to check out the article in its entirety.

Adam Brown:
Last fall, Coke's software spotted a Twitter post from a frustrated consumer who couldn't redeem a prize from the MyCoke rewards program. The consumer's profile boasted more than 10,000 followers.

Mr. Brown quickly posted an apology on the consumer's Twitter profile and offered to help resolve the situation. The consumer got his prize and later changed his Twitter avatar to a photo of himself holding a Coke bottle.

"We're getting to a point if you're not responding, you're not being seen as an authentic type of brand," says Mr. Brown.

Bonin Bough:

PepsiCo intensified its social-media efforts last November after employees saw critical Twitter posts about an ad in a German trade magazine for a diet cola, which depicted a calorie killing itself. A popular commentator, whose sister had committed suicide, asked, "How could Pepsi do this?"

A Pepsi spokesman quickly posted an apology on his personal Twitter page. So did Bonin Bough, who is Pepsi's global director of digital and social media. Mr. Bough, who was hired for the job in September, says the incident prompted Pepsi to create a corporate Twitter profile; in May it launched The Juice, part of the networking site

Scott Monty:

One morning last December, Scott Monty, Ford's head of social media, saw Twitter messages alerting him to online comments criticizing Ford for allegedly trying to shut a fan Web site, The dispute prompted about 1,000 email complaints to Ford overnight.

Mr. Monty, who joined Ford the previous July from an advisory firm specializing in social media, didn't wait to learn the facts. He posted messages on his Twitter page, and Ford's, saying he was looking into the matter, adding frequent updates.

Within hours, he reported that Ford's lawyers believed the site was selling counterfeit goods with Ford's logo. He persuaded Ford's lawyers to withdraw the shut-down request if the site would halt the sales. By the end of the day, he Tweeted that the dispute had been resolved.

What other corporate giants have been able to utilize social media for the company good?


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