Facebook is constantly pushing out new features to the benefit and sometimes chagrin of their users. But two weeks ago they launched a new feature that should intrigue marketers. The new feature allows Facebook users to tag "Brands & Products" or "People" in their photographs (similar to the way you tag your friends in your photos). So anywhere a user can view a photo they can tag, they can now tag any brand or product (and you don't need to be a fan of the brand/product page). These photos will appear on the Photo tab on the Page, not on the Page's wall.
This may sound small, but with 6 billion photos uploaded to Facebook every month and an expected 100 billion total photos uploaded by this Summer 2011, this new feature represents a potentially massive opportunity for brands. The success of this new feature though will rely on whether marketers can get users to actually tag brands/products in their photos.
Brands can take additional ownership over their presence throughout Facebook and this serves as an additional form of advertising in some cases (brands can monitor photos they feel are too negative by disabling them from appearing on their Photos tab).
This also provides another way for brands to interact with consumers – since users don't need to be a fan of the brand/product they tag, this opens up interaction even beyond their fanbase. And it's all generated by the user since they decide which brands/products to attach themselves to, essentially raising their own hands to the brands.
Now brands can't reward users with coupons or prizes for tagging them, but since they know who's tagged them in a photo, they can direct promotions specifically to them and in the long-term determine the trends of who is tagging them, which can lead to further brand engagement.
Zappos.com has already jumped on board. They posted a status update on their Facebook Page letting their community members know about the new feature the day it launched. They asked their fans to tag Zappos in pictures of them wearing something they purchased from the site. They would reward fans by changing the profile picture of its fanpage to showcase a "Fan of the Week" every week. That was just on day 1!
Or perhaps consumers should heed the advice from Stephen Colbert who joked that "Photo taggers could charge companies based on their number of friends and demand top dollar for tags in their most-viewed photos."
As Facebook continues to appease brands by adding these types of features, it will be interesting to see what promotions and tactics brands and marketers will come up with to take advantage of them.
As Director of Entertainment Marketing, Josephine will be responsible for developing branded marketing platforms for clients including Unilever, Kraft, and other new business opportunities. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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