Making Marketing Easier by Tagging Brands in Facebook Photos? Not so Fast...

Mary Wieder
Mary Wieder-Bottaro Global Marketing Consultant, CROS NT & ARITHMOS

Posted on May 12th 2011

Today in the Huffington Post, it was announced that Facebook will soon launch a new feature to its photo "tagging". Soon you will be able to also tag pages that have a fan page, as opposed to just tagging friends. 

It is estimated that Americans are exposed to some 3000 advertisements a day. Now Facebook photos will become the "Where's Waldo" of spotting brands. The question is whether this new tagging feature is a benefit for brand marketers. 

My immediate thought was that this could be a great advantage for brands. Large product brands like Nike and Coke, who are industry cash cows, could just reap the benefits of having their loyal customers do the publicity work for them. This initial concept made me think that marketing is just getting easier - now we have our customers doing the advertising for us, and on social media sites where the publicity doesn't cost a dime. 

For smaller businesses, brand tagging could be a huge advantage. Through networking - friends of friends- your company brand name will be seen by more people. Perhaps it will even eliminate the need to pay for Facebook Ads on the sides of profiles. Why spend money on advertisements when you can start tagging your brand in photos? 

So, we have our list of benefits:

  • Free publicity largely done by the consumer
  • Extended publicity through networking
  • Networking your brand name
  • The possibility of swapping Facebook Ads for brand tagging

Therefore, what's not to like about this new Facebook feature?

Well, let's ask ourselves what the definition of marketing is. Marketing is all about knowing your target market, knowing your competition and getting inside the consumer's mind. Our first marketing lesson was about the 4 P's: product, price, place and promotion. Why is marketing becoming such a dominant field? Because we, as marketers, CONTROL the market situation. 

That's right. Good marketing is all about controlling the situation. This new Facebook feature lets the masses control the image of the brand. Sure, marketers can monitor the brand on Facebook and perhaps tag and detag photos of choice, but ultimately the power has been shifted. 

Yes, our job as marketers is not getting easier. It's getting harder.

ImageConsumers will be able to essentially create their own advertisements through Facebook photos. So, what is Coke and Pepsi are tagged in the same ad? What if a kid wearing a Nike shirt is tagged at an NFL game (NFL's sponsor is currently Reebok). Or what if Budweiser beer is tagged in a picture with children or minors? Does that spell trouble for the brand? And if it does, will Budweiser's PR reps catch it in time? You might think so, but with over 500 million people on Facebook tagging photos every minute, how do you catch everything?

Brace yourself marketers. Branding is getting more interesting - and more complex - as social media contiues to integrate into our consuming lives. 

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Mary Wieder

Mary Wieder-Bottaro

Global Marketing Consultant, CROS NT & ARITHMOS

Mary is a Business Development & Marketing Associate located in Verona, Italy. She has been developing a career in international marketing and communications and B2B marketing for more than 8 years. Her experience includes developing marketing strategies and social media campaigns for the B2B marketing environment, small businesses and start-ups, and she has worked in the U.S., France, Australia and Italy. She offers marketing consultancy as well as business translations from Italian to English. Mary holds a Masters degree in Global Communications from the American University of Paris and a Marketing degree from Lehigh University and speaks English, Italian and French. She is an avid blogger, runner and Yankees fan.

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Comments

Totally agree with you on marketing geting harder. But I gues the real advantage here is the next level engagement the Fanpages are going to get with increase in User generated content. This new feature could turn the One way broadcast marketing done by most brands on Facebook into a more deep one to one dialog between the brand and the consumer. 

Hmm.. perhaps 'harder' won't be the right word to use. I would say marketing is becoming obsolete. It is moving towards a time where products are not marketed to the consumers but consumers are the ones driving the product to their own network. Engagement is taking over marketing and that's where brands like Nike have to ask themselves "why am I tagged to NFL? are my fans telling me something?"

Very insightful, loved your post. Marketing is growing momentum more than ever now that we have the internet as well. I think things will take some interesting turns in the future and this should catch us prepared. You make some good points on the issue, I thought about the alternative myself but I was to coward to try it, I got in touch with a publisher network instead and now I am close to the results I wanted.