What’s more American than the Ford F150? Maybe baseball and apple pie, but no other car or truck is as popular as the F150 or as American made as the F150.
So why compare the Tesla with Ford?
- F150 total 2013 sales of 645,316
- Ford total 2013 sales of 2,500,000
- Tesla total 2013 sales of 6900
While Tesla is not at the top of the list of Ford competitors, they are still car makers and if Tesla continues to roll out models, they will increasingly be going head to head. When Telsa completes its new factory to manufacture batteries, it will take over the title of #1 American made vehicle at 90% parts made in the USA. If that happens, Ford will not be happy about losing that title. How Tesla maneuvered into this position is through an unorthodox strategy to say the least. With their first product at the a price point of $100,000 with the roadster, followed up by a $70,000 luxury sedan is coming to the table from the exact opposite direction that Toyota, Honda, Nissan, and Hyundai took to enter the US market, that is selling cheap, basic vehicles. Let’s take a look at a how social media at Tesla compares with Ford.
A Quick Glance at the Social Media Numbers
The raw numbers show that even when you are making 1/300th the number of cars your competitor is, you can still have a social media presence that is 1/2 to 1/4 of the big boys. Tesla is more than keeping up in number of likes, tweets, and followers.
Strategic tweeting and posting.
Looking for across facebook, twitter and google+, for Ford and Tesla, we see some interesting patterns. Ford’s posts/tweets are a mix of fan photos, anniversary announcements, links to informative articles, and new product announcements across 28 or so model lines. Ford’s Scott Monty has been ranked by Forbes as one of the top 10 social media influencers. As big as Ford is, part of the job is just to be on channels listening and responding as needed. The rest of it is being present in future owners’ minds during the pre-buying process, making it onto the list of vehicles considered. All of the posts/tweets reinforce positive feelings people have about their Fords. Happy 50th anniversary, Ford Mustang.
Tesla’s posts/tweets are in fan photos, and links to informative articles and that’s it. Tesla seems to have a hyper focus on using their social media as a new conduit direct to their followers. This ability is a strength when there is a need to respond to negative news or product reviews.
The New York Times reviewer that claimed he was stranded, but later apologized when the car logs showed the reporter repeatedly floored the accelerator over and over. Tesla attained the NYT apology by first announcing they had logs of the way the reviewer drove the car, then announced the apology.
In November 2013, there were 3 Model S fires, all due to road debris. Tesla responded to the news across their social media channels, quickly reframing the news.
Behind the scenes they worked on a permanent solution and again, announced the fix in social media.
What was the start of a potentially disastrous slide in sales was turned into a success story by the engineering team and celebrated in social media.
So is it the right strategy for Ford and Tesla?
Ford has a huge product line with millions of customers and sales. Their strategy is broad and targets are diverse. It’s a competent approach that allows their customers to connect with the brand and specific product they might love. Tesla is online by necessity. The Tesla buying process starts online in research and often finishes with an online order. Their strategy of providing followers, both owners and folks interested in the cars with news and information that they want. By using this conduit to communicate out the Tesla spin on news, it allows the company to augment any positive news and to limit the negative effect of unfavorable news.
Links to Social Media Presence of Ford and Tesla
Ford Google Plus
Tesla Google Plus