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If the social media aren’t hot-houses of product promotion today it is not because there is no one in charge of any business marketing department out there who understands how to take the best advantage policies in a phenomena. At advertising agencies around the world, marketing experts can think of nothing other than the whole hoopla around viral advertising campaigns on the social media. The mad rush for advertising on the social media will happen soon enough; but perhaps this may not entirely be a good thing for the open and friendly community that Facebook and Twitter have grown a reputation for. With too much going on that is glittery and commercial, social media may soon cease to be particularly social, with the conversations, the quiet atmosphere, that will help people latch on to an idea and make it blossom. But for now, here is one way in which they really are using social media in the true tradition of the community.

Consider the Fiesta campaign that Ford undertook on the social media recently. What Ford did was to round up a hundred regular people off the street, to drive and review the latest Fiesta on Twitter, primarily, but also on Flicker and YouTube. It did work exactly as they planned; viewership on YouTube has been through the roof. Twitter has seen nearly five million impressions of the whole Fiesta deal. But the more important question here is,has it actually sold anything for Ford?

Companies do not look to social media to help them sell anything, although it must be committed that their Fiesta movement certainly got a lot of sales inquiries from potential customers. With the whole buzz they generated from this, they got lots of user input on how to improve the Fiesta, and make it better for the American customer. It’s easy for those corporate executive types to grow too insulated from the everyday people who make their company profitable. They gain a valuable ability to actually see the dialogue blossom between the car designer and car user, filled with the kind of urgency, the emotion that goes with car ownership. This has to be one of the best uses that the social media have found so far. Of course, GM tried it recently, and they were not pleased. You do have to have a certain amount of basic goodwill to go on, before you go asking people what they think of you.