To successfully promote a business through social media means walking the finest of fine lines. To market without intruding, to advertise without offending; these things are not easily done. This week, I was thinking about online marketing opportunities using Facebook. And nowhere is the line finer than on Facebook. On that platform, you need to entice your audience to become fans, use your apps and share your content.
You need to achieve this on a platform that is all about friends and family—people are not on Facebook to blog, to chat to strangers or to publicize themselves—they’re there to keep in touch. Tricky.
So, I thought I’d list five Facebook campaigns that have really interested me, by the different ways they have achieved support—or not, in the case of one of my examples.
Aleksandr Orlov – 605,602 fans
Even if that damn meerkat is starting to grate on you (and now he’s launched a soft toy and there are rumors of a Christmas single, get ready for him to begin grating!), his Facebook presence is genius.
His updates are written in exactly the way he talks: they’re sporadic and they’re really very funny. For example: “Today Jacuzzi have finally been fix by Sergei and plunger. Next time he enjoy bubbles I make him wear fur net.”
So why is he so successful on Facebook? Well, it’s partly down to the genius of the initial campaign—it’s really captured the public’s imagination.
However, since then, his success is down to a well-written online persona and Aleksandr’s distance from the brand he’s marketing. Because he isn’t closely associated with the official compare the Meerkat website, it’s okay to become a fan on Facebook—you don’t feel you’re aligning yourself with a commercial brand.
Armed Forces Day – 183,754 fans
Some types of organization can garner hundreds of thousands of fans without marketing brilliance simply by the value of what they stand for—and in the UK, Armed Forces Day is one of those.
With the nation desperate to find ways to support our troops while they fight overseas, there are thousands of online groups dedicated to showing our soldiers some support. The MoD simply relies on this outpouring of public enthusiasm.
So, if you’re a charity or worthwhile cause, your Facebook marketing will be easy as people willingly strive to associate with you. Social media will do you a lot of good for very little investment.
Dunkin’ Donuts—947,414 fans
Okay, hop over the pond to the US (at least for me anyway) and Dunkin’ Donuts is doin’ well on Facebook. Hundreds of thousands of fans are happy to associate themselves with a brand of cake.
How? How come DD has managed to entice so many people to tell their friends and family that they like to eat doughnuts?
Well, as far as I can see, the success of this brand on Facebook is all down to how it involves its fans. During the summer, it ran a campaign where Facebook users could post pictures of themselves on the fan wall with any Coolatta drink. Each day, one of these people would be randomly picked and win prizes.
Now, it invites fans to upload their pictures to its wall and once a week it picks a picture and uses it as the profile image. People like to be involved.
Now, I’m making an assumption that the Directgov fan page is the actual, official, UK government-endorsed Facebook presence of the public sector website.
So why is it not working? Why only eleven fans when Directgov is such an important, relevant and enormous brand. You’d think there’d be at least some Directgov employees willing to associate themselves.
What’s the reason for its failure then? Well, mainly the page has only been updated once (and that was with the campaign against drug driving where the teenagers all have Dobby the House Elf’s eyes). There has been no initial investment, which is a shame when Directgov normally does such a good job of marketing itself.
People really love Wispas and Cadbury knows how to make this work. Facebook has been an incredible marketing tool for the chocolate bar.
It was relaunced following a Facebook petition that was, apparently, genuinely a public response to the lack of Wispa in their lives. The press coverage alone was immense and Cadbury’s declared this was the first time “the power of the internet played such an intrinsic role in the return of a Cadbury brand.”
Now the brand is giving back—and helping itself to hundreds of thousands more fans. It has promised to give its advertising space to Facebook fans “as a thank you for all the love you’ve shown us.” It’s bought space on more than 1,000 billboards in the UK and Ireland and invited brand fans to submit messages to be put on them—you can read more at the dedicated Wispa Gold website.
That is very clever marketing.
How have you successfully marketed on Facebook? Do you have examples of what doesn’t work? Please share your ideas in the comments below.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.