Social Media Change Lessons From Tin Lizzie


Ford_model_t_1923modelt_01 The Ford Model T, fondly known as Tin Lizzie celebrated its or should it be her (?) 100th anniversary yesterday - October 1. Although Tin Lizzie was not the first automobile made .. she was the first Affordable car. What do you give an old girl, who is off the assembly lines, but has impacted the life styles of generations? Perhaps a couple of flirty honks from a whipper snapper hybrid vehicle?

Walking Max yesterday (funny how walking a dog can help with creative ideas) my thoughts turned to what life might have been like for the "regular" people now that Tin Lizzie was on the scene. How did they deal with those initial life style changes?

Imagine for a moment the excitement when the first in the neighborhood parked their very own shiny Model T in front of their home. Now think of the conversations that happened around their neighbors' dinner tables  that night. (Okay .. that one may tax your imagination but do try Girlfriend.) Discussion might have been about budgeting, planning, change in life style and the prestige that a car would bring to the family.

Now think of another family. They have a horse and buggy. Can't imagine life any other way. This new machine, as my grandmother called cars, looked odd. Felt unsafe. They were sure this contraption was a fad. Perhaps they knew that times were changing and life would never be quite the same but wanted to proceed with caution. So they didn't rush out to buy a Model T but closely watched their neighbors and learned from their experiences.

Soon after coming back from my walk with little Maxie I had an interesting conversation with a friend who attended her first social media event. What was her big take away I asked? She spoke about corporation's fears, uncertainties and concerns about how to bring social strategies back to ROI. Her remarks centered on change.

Change. It's such an in word these days that it's almost lost its meaning. But I couldn't help thinking about the Model T.

Social media marketing is more than a different way of reaching out to our customers through new fangled "machines." Social media marketing changes the way we conduct business. There is a ripple effect that must be considered when putting a blog, or Twitter or social network strategy into play. How will it impact the whole enterprise from customer service departments to accounting to marketing?  How will it impact the people in your organization? Change can be great, powerful, wonderful, exciting, innovative. etc., etc., etc.

However, enterprises that are NOT concerned about preparing for internal changes from social media marketing are playing a fool's game.

Social Media Lessons Learned From Tin Lizzie

  1. Talk about it with your colleagues: what are people thinking? what are internal concerns and challenges? who is excited and gets it? where is the cultural disconnect between social media and your company? will culture change?
  2. Take into consideration costing realities: what will you need in terms of budget, time, people?
  3. Plan for change: how will the social media tactics you choose to implement impact specific areas of your enterprise?
  4. Leverage the innovation: how will you leverage that your organization has entered a more customer-focused direction?
  5. Learn from others: how are companies using social media tactics? who is doing it right and who is doing it wrong?
  6. Make it happen: how will you consolidate your internal and external learnings into next steps?


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Thank you so much for this article. This was something I needed to read this morning.

I'm getting ready to revisit our marketing strategy as it applies to social media for the coming fiscal year and having this refresh of focus was completely vital.


Posted by: 'Chelle Parmele on Oct 3, 2008 1:12:52 PM

@Chelle -thank *you* for your comment. You made my day.

Congrats! on putting together an overall social strategy. This post on how to address risks might be helpful also.

Posted by: Toby on Oct 3, 2008 8:50:36 PM

You've got a fertile knack for vivid metaphor and analogy! The Tin Lizzie conceptual link to social media is now imprinted in my mind.

Great stuff!


Posted by: bob ashley on Oct 4, 2008 1:57:15 AM

Great metaphor with the Model T. Should help others more comfortably cross the bridge to the "new world." Thank you for helping us (me).

Posted by: Donna Lynes-Miller on Oct 4, 2008 7:04:05 AM

@Bob @Donna - appreciate your kind words .. guess one can find "social" most anywhere .. even in a century ago auto. (smile) however, these lessons, with of course a bit of influence from 21st century technology, seem to be universal for business to consider.

Posted by: Toby on Oct 4, 2008 10:21:07 AM

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