FordDirect, a joint venture between Ford Motor Co. and its dealers, unveiled this week a new service that will allow dealers to manage their reputation and social media presence in the Internet. The service, called FordDirect Social Media and Reputation Management, was made possible by FordDirect through contracting Digital Air Strike, a company that helps dealerships create and manage social media content.
Valerie Fuller, COO of FordDirect, acknowledged that Facebook is a “great way” for dealerships to interact with new and current customers alike, and share information about Ford and Lincoln products. She admitted that dealerships struggled to manage the posts and create socially relevant content.
Fuller said that FordDirect took the opportunity to solve the dealer’s problem through its free content syndication service. Ford and its dealers created FordDirect to help the latter effectively use digital technology to create more sales. Ford and Lincoln dealers had been clamouring for the service in regional dealer group meetings, prompting FordDirect to look for a contractor.
After a nine-month bidding process, FordDirect selected Digital Air Strike, according to Kate Bullach, FordDirect vice president of communications. Bullach said Ford and Lincoln dealers can sign up for the voluntary service immediately.
FordDirect is offering the service in two service levels: Premier and Elite. For the Premier package, which is available for a $399 monthly Premier fee, Digital Air Strike will assign to the dealer an adviser who will engage with customers and provide content.
For the $799 Elite package, the adviser will respond to every single customer post. Alexi Venneri, co-founder and COO of Digital Air Strike, a company-conducted study showed 69 percent of car buyers say social media and dealership reviews carry an effect on which dealership they choose to do business with.