Sep 12

Six examples of brands doing great work on Facebook

Generally I take a pretty long view at things and my public talks reflect that. I speak about things that are happening now, but will take 2-5 years to fully realize themselves. This means people often ask me for examples of great work happening now. Things people are doing that can inspire change in todays marketing and advertising status quo. I’ve been showing these six examples in talks I’ve been giving recently so I wanted to share them here. These are some of my favourite recent examples of great work from marketers and their agencies happening on Facebook. Remember this is just my personal opinion – some things I like, and not anything official from Facebook. I’ve broken it into three great examples of page publishing, and three great uses of the Facebook Platform.


Almost all brands have a Facebook page and most publish regularly. There are many marketers trying to figure out what good page publishing looks like, and many lists around the web of what to do (many of which recommend things I disagree with). So who is doing a great job?


Oreo decided to do 100 posts in 100 days, each post reflecting something important about that day. I don’t have the inside track but my guess is that whoever is coming with these and executing them is having a lot of fun! As with much page publishing, this comes down to excellent art direction, excellent copywriting, and an understanding of what people are likely to respond to and share.


Red Bull

Red Bull consistently publish fantastic posts. They have two consistent traits: 1. Excellent photography. 2. Short well written copy. Posts with great photography and short copy perform better than those without photos and with longer copy.



I often hear brand marketers question whether their brand has a role on Facebook. They wonder whether people will talk about them. I always tell those people that if you want people to relate to and buy your product, your brand needs a sense of purpose, independent of the marketing channel. Once you have a sense of purpose – “this is what we’re all about!” – it is pretty straightforward to see what you might talk about on social media. Consider Febreze, a brand that deals with bad smells – not something you might imagine we would want to talk about. Well during the Olympics, they put together a fantastic publishing strategy around the Azerbaijan wrestling team. It was fun, and really well executed. And people talked.



When people build on Facebook Platform, the result is often over-cooked and too complicated. In fact, for marketers, often the best thing to do when thinking about Platform is that it is a means to produce newsfeed stories. For many people, their experience of a marketers efforts are not their Page, or their Platform App, it’s through the newsfeed stories their friends produce by using the app. This means that it is often best to design the newsfeed story first, and then think about what Platform integration will make those stories possible. All three of the examples below do this well. the Platform app is simply a means to an end.

P&G – Thank You Mom

P&Gs Thank You Mom campaign debuted at the Vancouver Olympics. For the London Olympics, their creative agency Wieden+Kennedy created a beautiful TV spot. The question then was, what do we do on Facebook? The wrong answer was to only use Facebook to drive views of the TV spot. The right answer was to build on one of the most powerful insights around social behavior: Anything that helps people build relationships with others is likely to see fantastic engagement. Much social interaction between people is to build relationships with others. So the simplest most powerful thing we could do was to build something that would allow people to thank their Moms on Facebook. To celebrate their relationship not only with their own mother, but the other mother figures in their life. The reason this worked so well was that it was simple. The goal of the app was to produce newsfeed stories of people’s friends thanking their mothers. The Thank You Mom campaign resulted in a 5-20% sales lift for the brands involved.


Lays – Do Us a Flavor

Lays are running a campaign where people can create new flavors and vote for others. Lays will manufacture the winning entry. As with Thank You Mom, the Facebook execution is dead simple and focuses on producing newsfeed stories. It taps into a few different social insights, one being tied to helping people project their personal identity and others tied to helping people build relationships with others by bantering over the flavors they create. Within a month, over a million people were using the app which means that it is very likely that tens of millions of friends were seeing stories in their newsfeed.



Target – Give with Target

A similar theme with Target, who gave $2.5 million to schools in the US by building a simple Facebook integration designed to produce newsfeed stories showing the schools their friends were nominating and voting for. This tapped into people’s sense of social identity – what helps us feel part of a community, group or movement. The newsfeed stories then helped people build relationships by facilitating conversations between friends about different schools. Thanks to the simple integration and excellent newsfeed story design, Target gave away the $2.5 million long before the deadline was up.


So that is six recent examples I like. I’ll post more as I find them in the future and I’d love to find out about them from you! Any other examples that you love?



Sep 10

Track hidden metrics

When companies are measuring success, many fail to account for hidden metrics.

Direct marketing campaigns fail to account for the number of people they upset by sending them “spam.” When people count how many others “liked” something online, they fail to account for the number of people who “disliked” it.

Take Levi’s. I love Levi’s – five of my six pairs of jeans are Levi’s. But when I recently bought on levi.com, they pulled that old trick of opting me in to receive their direct mail without my informed consent. Either they did it without telling me, or the option was so obscure that I didn’t see it (and trust me, I looked).

Now this:

I consider this borderline spam. Levi’s are killing their relationship with me and they have no idea. For every person they send a mail to, I’m sure they are only counting the people who respond.

“We only need a 1% response rate to justify our spend! Isn’t that great?”

But Levi’s, how many of the other 99% have you pissed off in the process?

By the way, I bought my first pair of Diesels last weekend.

Nov 09

Using number of fans/followers as a success metric is risky

Measuring ROI on social network activity is hard for marketers. Many use ‘number of fans’ or ‘number of followers’ as a success metric. If the number trends upward, things are good. However, in research, I’ve often seen people become embarrassed by the brands/companies that they have become a fan of.

“My friend told me to join up and follow this company as we could get special deals. I did what she asked but to be honest, it’s a bit embarrassing looking back at it now.”

Showing me how they use social networks raised their awareness of what is reflected on their profile page. People forgot what was lurking there. People often add themselves to groups and causes, and sign up for offers and coupons, but they rarely remove themselves from these lists. Many of these people are not your fan. Don’t count them and slap yourself on the back. They are a potential fan, but that’s a very different group of people and should be treated differently.

If you have a social network presence, don’t measure ‘number of fans’. Measure engagement (which means all of the below):

- How many fans visit your page?
- How many of them participated in an activity?
- How many talked about it afterwards?
- Most importantly, how many are repeat visitors? Exclude one time only visitors – they are not your fan.
- How often do you expect them to return? Daily? Weekly? Monthly?
- How often are they actually returning?

You want to get to a place where you can say things like:

“Our goal was for 2,000 of our fans to purchase in our online sale. We have 100,000 fans. 20,000 visited more than once in the last month. They are our real fans. Of those, 5,000 viewed our online sale. 300 of the 5,000 bought something. Of the 80,000 who only visited once, 230 bought something in our sale.”

Numbers like these can help you figure out what to do next.

Oct 09

Why Sidewiki doesn’t change any branding fundamentals

A lot of people are upset because Sidewiki allows people to comment on their site without them having control over those comments. They can say whatever they want about you, and you can’t control it.

But this is not new. People have been talking good and bad about brands for decades. It may not have been to your face, but it happened every day. At least now you can learn what people really think at almost zero cost and more importantly, address your problems.

As Marty Neumeier says:

“Your brand is not what you say it is. It’s what your customers say it is”.

It’s clear that you don’t own the conversation about your brands anymore. This is a good thing, because you never really owned the conversation anyway. At least now you know what people think of you, warts and all.

The fundamentals remain the same. Make great products that people find enjoyable and useful, build great customer service, and people will say good things about you. Make rubbish and they’ll talk trash.

[Disclaimer: I work at Google. I didn't work on Sidewiki. These are just my own thoughts.]

Sep 09

The local maximum of social media

Tara Hunt as published a nice presentation on how people need to “forget about social media strategies, and think about customer-centric business strategies”. I’ll add another layer of complexity. They also need to stop thinking about what people do on the web, and start thinking about how the web fits into the rest of people’s lives.

I hear so much hype about social media marketing plans these days. Typically it involves something to do with Twitter, and something to do with Facebook. That’s fine, you may create something compelling using these tools, but you’ll only ever reach a local maximum. You’re very unlikely to get through to people in a deep, long-lasting, emotional manner unless you consider how the web fits into the rest of their lives.

The reason is that people don’t just spend their time online. In fact, according to a Nielsen report for Q2 2009, they spend somewhere around 25 hours online every month – or just over an hour a day. To really understand what people need and want, to really understand how to make your offering or message resonate with them, you need to understand what they do for the other 23 hours of their day. Aside from sleeping and working, how else are people spending their time? Who do they interact with? What do they do? What things do they get excited about?

People don’t care about the internet, they care about other people.