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  1. May 4, 2010 3:57 pm

    Another fantastic post, Jeff. Thanks for all these automotive industry social media case studies. Small businesses may not be able to dedicate 8 people to the effort, but this is a great reminder on how even smaller brands should be monitoring the conversations in their industry, and reaching out to their brand evangelists to kick start their social media channels. I study several website’s analytic data regularly and a boost in referral traffic is a super positive trend. Google traffic is hit and miss as far as qualified leads, so it’s nice to see that companies are succeeding in using social media to improve their website traffic and overall marketing goals. Ford in my opinion has more momentum in this arena, but it’ll be interesting to see if Toyota can use social media to reclaim their association with “quality”.

  2. May 4, 2010 6:13 pm

    It’s unfortunate you didn’t take a look at how the U.S. and U.K. Toyota PR teams have responded to the recall. The differences are drastic with the U.K. having a clear lead in my opinion of what to do especially in how they have used their YouTube channel early and often to help communicate the response. Also look at the two landing pages for Toyota and tell me which one is more effective (I think the choice is clear.)

    I particularly like the UK’s version with the Facts and Figures content.

    Where you lose me a bit with this article is bringing in the old 2008 iQ hypermiling event that was featured in a Forrester article last year. That’s a very different kind of social media outreach and while there is some good data there, it really is disconnected from the social media marketing efforts Toyota has been doing on Digg, Facebook, etc. to handle the recall situation.

  3. May 4, 2010 9:12 pm

    It is possible that Toyota can reclaim prestige again. I have an older Toyota, never been on a recall list, drives without any problems, etc. I can recall the tons of calls we got when we sold one son’s Toyota before he left for college. Even used, we got a great price for it.

    Point being: people were loyal to Toyota. They can be loyal again. Social media could be a part of that.

  4. May 20, 2010 9:09 pm

    An excellent break down of how to handle a huge PR bungle. The bottom line is Toyota figured out a way to consolidate all of its responses into one area and respond accordingly. The new SM model seems to be all about consolidation. Being a Social Media professional myself (I dislike the term “expert,” feels disingenuous) it is really tough to respond when messages are spread all over the net. An excellent case study indeed!

  5. May 28, 2010 9:19 am

    Hi Jeff,

    Thanks so much for taking the time to put this information together – very interesting!

    Kris Putnam-Walkerly
    Putnam Community Investment Consulting

  6. Sharon Barry permalink
    June 24, 2010 10:37 am

    Thank you for such a thorough commentary. Another blog referred to Toyota’s “death by a thousand cuts”. Has Toyota done enough to recover it’s reputation? Time will tell.

  7. June 24, 2010 9:08 pm

    Great case study. One question: can you define “potential audience”? My comment is reaching a potential audience of 6.8 billion people.

  8. July 7, 2010 9:19 am

    Hi Jeff, thanks for the excellent analysis.

    One question, though: do you think Toyota is interested in addressing it’s reliability crisis through social media?

    As the AdAge article says, “Bad news doesn’t kill a good brand”. So do you think Toyota is cunningly focusing on raising awareness on new products and new topics of interest rather than trying to address the crisis online at the risk of prolonging it in people’s minds ?

    Thanks again,

  9. July 11, 2010 3:11 am

    The web can do a few things very well. Here are 4 important ones:

    1) help a company get new customers.
    2) help a company deepen relationships with current customers.
    3) help a company overcome obstacles
    4) help a company avoid issues, or identify them while their impact is small

    Sounds like Toyota is targeting all 4, and doing it very well. Like other commenters here, I wonder if web-savvy can overcome faulty engineering, decisions, etc. If it can have a significant positive effect, it might serve as a blueprint for companies in the future.

    Of course, the best twitter feed in the world won’t plug a gushing oil well 5000 below the ocean’s surface, so BP will still need other approaches to their tattered reputation…


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