Ford Shows Off New Explorer to Facebook Fans with Full Day Of Content

Ford used the Facebook Page of its iconic Explorer to reveal the 2011 model to the public. The campaign has been building for awhile — the company has been posting teaser photos and videos to the Page after it first announced the launch in early June.

Scott Monty, Ford’s Multimedia Communications Manager, tells us that launching the totally redesigned Explorer through Facebook was the most effective way to get the word out about the new model, and the numbers from the first day of the launch back that up.

The Ford Explorer Page began the day with about 42,500 fans, and Monty was hoping to end the day with 50,000. The Page passed that mark, increasing its fan numbers by about 25% to more than 53,000. The launch of the redesigned model also included individual reveals around the U.S. and Canada, all documented with an often-updated Flickr stream that was linked to the Page.

“We wanted lots of engagement,” said Monty. “The Reveal tab had a lot of action, and we had live participation as well as on demand content for people that missed [the initial reveal].”

New car and truck models are traditionally revealed at large auto shows, where any one new model can be overshadowed by the hundreds of other new autos in the shows. Monty saw a bigger problem with using the auto show stage to introduce a redesign of the Ford Explorer.

“Typically at an auto show, with any auto show scenario, we’re talking to ourselves. We needed to step out of that bubble to get that message out there. This is the 100% reinvented Explorer – we needed to reinvent how we get out to the people.”

The Explorer’s Facebook page was used to reveal teaser photos and videos of interviews with designers and engineers in the weeks leading up to the reveal. While the new Explorer was featured in a segment on NBC’s Today Show, the Facebook audience was the first to get a look at the redesigned 2011 model a few minutes earlier, as well as a full day of videos, live Q&As, and more surrounding the model.

The blanket coverage on the Facebook page speaks to Ford’s overall strategy on the social network. At first glance it appears that the auto manufacturer has much lower fan numbers than some of its competitors, but Ford has made the conscious decision to segment its Facebook presence into particular model pages instead of under one large brand umbrella. Monty feels this is an important element to the Ford approach to appealing to the Facebook community, giving the brand the ability to customize content based on what fans want.

Ultimately, choosing Facebook to reveal the redesigned Explorer was an easy decision for Monty. When it comes to choosing the most effective avenues to reaching the largest audience, his approach is simple: “Our fans tell us where we need to be.”

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