The many faces of social media: insights from Ford, Estée Lauder and IHG

Low Lai Chow

Social media's transformation into a mainstream marketing channel has been uniquely rapid, but the speed of this development masks the fact it is employed for a diverse range of purposes, from entertaining internet users to generating insights, launching products and championing good causes.

Numerous global brands represented at Social Media Matters, a conference held in Hong Kong in September 2013, provided evidence of these varying initiatives in practice. And they also hinted at the future challenges to be addressed, including tying social campaigns to the bottom line and proving the precise value of a "fan".

Ford embraces entertainment

Scott Monty global head of social media at Ford, the automaker, asserted that the changes in media use prefaced by the rise of Facebook, Twitter and their ilk had reinforced, rather than altered, some core attitudes and behaviours. "Human nature is constant. We still want the same things we've always wanted: we want to be heard, we want to make a difference in the world, we want to be part of something bigger than ourselves," he said.