Can Social Media Save The Automobile?

At the Mixx Canada Toronto conference on Monday, I saw a great presentation by Natalie Johnson, [praized subtype=”small” pid=”597ce70258167de10a3ead0ceea0179355″ type=”badge” dynamic=”true”]’s Manager of Social Media Communications and Monik Sanghvi, Senior Vice President at [praized subtype=”small” pid=”8149cff86ec3b9508702f6a11159609082″ type=”badge” dynamic=”true”]. They showed the various ways GM uses social media to promote its various brands. GM approaches social media marketing via three angles: Engage (entertain), Educate (inform) and Enable (connect).

Some examples:

  1. I Got Shotgun is a videoblog at the intersection of cars, culture and entertainment
  2. ImSaturn, a Saturn social network, uses Ning, the white-label social networking platform
  3. A series of blogs at gmblogs.com
  4. Pontiac Underground, a blog powered by Typepad
  5. The Saturn Astra Facebook page
  6. Chevy Aveo Livin’ Large, a promotion around user videos and the Chevrolet Aveo
  7. A Twitter account under the @GMblogs alias
  8. GMNext, that could be described as the “portal” for all social media initiatives at GM

What it means: I was surprised by the depth of social media tools usage within General Motors. I’m especially amazed by the fact they reply to questions/comments addressed to their Twitter account. They’re definitely joining the conversation. Reading between the lines, I believe GM sees social media as multiple very powerful branding opportunities. Given that I suspect they mostly use television for branding today, it’s possible social media might eat into television advertising budgets if GM is able to prove the social media ROI.

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