Thursday, November 8, 2007

Conversational marketing

The first step for brands to socialise with consumers is to start
profile pages on social networks and then accept “friend requests” from
individuals. On MySpace, brands have been doing this for a while. For
instance, Warner Bros, a Hollywood studio, had a MySpace page for
“300”, its film about Spartan warriors. It signed up some 200,000
friends, who watched trailers, talked the film up before its release,
and counted down toward its DVD release.

Facebook, from this week, also lets brands create their own pages.
Coca-Cola, for instance, has a Sprite page and a “Sprite Sips” game
that lets users play with a little animated character on their own
pages. Facebook makes this a social act by automatically informing the
player's friends, via tiny “news feed” alerts, of the fun in progress.
Thus, at least in theory, a Sprite “experience” can travel through an
entire group, just as Messrs Lazarsfeld and Katz once described in the
offline world.

In many cases, Facebook users can also treat brands' pages like
those of other friends, by adding reviews, photos or comments, say.
Each of these actions might again be communicated instantly to the news
feeds of their clique. Obviously this is a double-edged sword, since
they can just as easily criticise a brand as praise it.

Facebook even plans to monitor and use actions beyond its own site
to place them in a social context. If, for instance, a Facebook user
makes a purchase at Fandango,
a website that sells cinema tickets, this information again shows up on
the news feeds of his friends on Facebook, who might decide to come
along. If he buys a book or shirt on another site, then this implicit
recommendation pops up too.

Article Link (The Economist)

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