New Media Age today announced that Coke is dropping brand campaign sites in favour of social media. By this it means no more cheeky, usually flash heavy, microsites but instead using a branded presence on FaceBook or YouTube as the main online campaign presence. The reasoning behind this is that should stop trying to drive interested parties to their platform and will instead place their content where the audience already
In part I applaud this move,. We would never advise a client to start its own newspaper as the best vehicle to get their messages out. Instead we suggest identifying and working worth influencers who already have an audience. Traditionally they were mainly called journalists or analysts.Now FaceBook, with it’s 350 million users, certainly represents a large audience, and YouTube isn’t too shabby when it comes to visitor figures either but I can’t help feeling that this switch is not as likely to be as effective as brands would hope.
Let’s address the issue of audience. We’ll leave the debate about whether users want to have a corporate presence on their social graph for another day, though do go read Shannon Paul’s open letter to brands on FaceBook if you have time. There is no doubt that the numbers are impressive but they are spread very thin, fewer than 77 per cent of fan pages have over 1000 fans and every minute, 20 hours ofvideo gets uploaded to YouTube. Achievng cut through is potentially more difficult on a social networking site. Out on the web proper, as it were, search is your friend, as are personal recommenfations and advertisng. In the walled FaceBook garden you will be more reliant on advertisng. Recommendation will stay play a role but it’s easy to miss when your friends become fans or join groupsand much easier to distracted by their photos from Friday night.
Of course every campaign should combineboth off and online elements and for that it doesn’t really matter to which platform you are driving them. Thought not everyone is a member of FaceBook and YouTube also has similar limitations. Of course you don’t need to be a member to view the content on either platform, but it’s preferable if you want ppl to interact with your content.
Personally I think a blended approach works, put your content on YouTube, Flickr and FaceBook, but have a site outside of these locations that you own that can aggregates this content and then redistributes it, via RSS, Twitter and even back onto Facebook. This hub and spokemodel means that you are still putting your content where the audience is but each can now pick how they want to interact with you and your brand, and more importantly where and on what terms.