Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Social Media - you're doing it wrong, GM

I read a guru yesterday (sorry, can't remember who) claiming that Facebook's days are numbered in part because corporations now 'get' social media. If GM is to be taken as a textbook example, I'd say Facebook has many hale and hearty days ahead.

As you'll know from a previous post, I am following GMreinvention on twitter, which touts itself as my window into the reinvention of GM. Basically, the stream of tweets is little more than GM pushing out news about the sale of SAAB, poll results that the Chevrolet Corvette is the car people couldn't live without, etc. Essentially, nothing earth shattering, and nothing you couldn't find reported in one of many other objective outlets. Oh, and no attempts to engage with or comment on tweets posted by Twitter users. As I've said before, so much for a 'new' GM.

Which brings me to a message I received from GMreinvention yesterday in my Twitter mailbox: 'Please enjoy the following video, which explains what the new GM is going to be like.' Excited that I was going to see something of substance - an actual behind-the-scenes look at the new company - I clicked on the link thoughtfully included in the email, only to see the one-minute commercial the company has been running on TV since it declared bankruptcy.

That's right. Instead of a real video with substance and insight, a video that sets the stage for a series chronicling GM's evolution from larvae to butterfly, the company serves up a self-serving ad I've seen several times. An ad that is built around a lot of big promises, but no evidence, of change. I certainly didn't enjoy the ad when I encountered it previously. I enjoyed it less when it was presented to me as an explanation of the new GM. It was misleading and I feel burned. Thus, this post.

I really don't mean to keep harping on GM. I know they have some cash flow issues. I know that sort of thing can occupy your time. So much so that the decisions you make in other areas are, well, compromised. Decisions like how to use social media. So far, to judge by GM's efforts on Twitter, they just don't get it or its potential to connect with consumers. In other words, when it comes to being a new company, GM's approach is simple: Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose. So choose to see all that sun in the commercial as a sign the company has seen the light. I think it symbolizes the fact that they're headed toward the light. Godspeed you, GM.

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