Facebook added a new functionality on March 11th that is increasingly gaining publicity. Users can now tag brands in uploaded pictures. The question has arisen whether marketers should embrace this new tool, or avoid it. With users creating over 90 pieces of content each month on average- and there are 500 million active users- you can do the math- it can create a lot of material to worry about.
Users can tag anything purses, drinks, food, clothing, restaurant, store. You name it, they can tag it. Anything they tag with the corresponding Facebook page in the photo will the show up on the brands wall. Basically, product placement you don’t have to pay for.
Brands like Coca-Cola, Starbucks, and General Electric have all begun to embrace this marketing vehicle. So the question is should you?
Many brands use to use Facebook as a platform to run promo campaigns which asked consumers to submit pictures of themselves using a product. This connection has been made even easier with this update.
This will be great for businesses who want more awareness, as they now have a medium for free advertising. My concern, if I were in a marketing position in a larger company would be consumer control. I may be getting awareness, but is it the type I want? To make matters worse I can’t necessarily control the pictures that my brand is tagged in. People are even going as far as to call it creepy.
Even Stephen Colbert had something to say about this. He noted that this new ability could transform facebook into the world’s largest agency for product placement.
His quote, thought exaggerated and humorous, has some good points. Here is one quote that really stood out for me:
“Facebook is giving my favorite companies a better way to market to me, I can now live my lifelong dream of being targeting by Target.”
“Photo taggers could charge companies based on their number of friends and demand top dollar for tags in their most-viewed photos. Think of all the windfall you could reap from dropping products into your most precious life moments, like weddings, births and funerals.”
Even with my apprehensions, there are some benefits. Here are the top 3 benefits listed by Forbes for brands to take advantage of this functionality:
- Discovery and subsequent rewarding system for brand ambassadors
- Increased Facebook “friend” and “fan” base
- Link to landing page for product purchase, promotion or engagement