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Toyota Also Needs to Recall Social Media Strategy

2010 February 17

While undertaking its biggest recall ever, Toyota is trying hard to make things right with its global R3 customers and dealership networks through a multi-platform marketing campaign. But what are they doing to reach people via social media?

Not too much!

While Toyota has prominently displayed a “Recall Information” button on the home page of their website, the only Social Media link I could find is a link to the Toyota You Tube Channel.  Once on the You Tube site, I was able to find links to Toyota’s Facebook (about 77,000 fans) and Twitter pages (16,000 followers).   How does that compare to others?  Well, Starbucks has almost 800,000 followers on the Starbucks Twitter page, and almost 6 MILLION fans on the Starbucks Facebook fan page.

I’m no math whiz, but with over 5 million cars being recalled, it would be a lot easier to communicate in real time with those car owners about the recall and just about everything else – IF Toyota had a decent Social Media Strategy in place.

On February 8, Jim Lentz,  President and Chief Operating Officer of Toyota Motor Sales, USA  did answer the most “dugg” questions submitted by Digg users, as part of the Digg Dialogg series.  Digg users submitted about 1400 questions.  But in order to hear the answers, you need to watch this 30 minute video.  Not exactly convenient!  And in the video, we really learn nothing new.

When I last checked Twitter the tweets were pouring in referencing #toyotarecall.  You can see the steady stream of tweets for that search by clicking here.  And the tweets were coming in even faster and more furious mentioning Toyota Recall, especially since it was just announced that Toyota may now be adding Corollas to its recall list.

What should Toyota do?

  • Fix the problems, then fix the systems that allowed the problems to occur  (remember with Social Media, Operations and Marketing need to work together).
  • Quickly ramp up engagement with customers where the customers are already talking; Facebook and Twitter.
  • Blog, Blog, Blog. About what’s going right.  About steps being taken to fix cars AND the system that created the issues.  These blogs should be posted at the very same time the information is provided to traditional news media.
  • Start to OWN the conversation.  Toyota can host its own LIVE broadcasts and question and answer sessions with consumers.

Good, simple places to start.  I’m sure that you have many other ideas to share with Toyota.  I hope you’ll post those suggestions here. Let’s see how big a list we can compile!

PS.  The other problem with not having an effective Social Media strategy in place for Toyota is that searches of “Toyota” will continue to bring up “Toyota Recall” for a very long time.  It would be good strategy if those searches contained more “Toyota-provided” content.

And now that I’m done bashing Toyota’s Social Media “non-strategy”,  I will continue to love their cars.  I wish they would come out with a Lexus version of the Matrix!

Also, I thought this cartoon from Jeff Stahler at the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch was pretty funny!

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