Facebook Enables Brands To Tag Photos. Proceed With Caution.


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Facebook Enables Brands To Tag Photos. Proceed With Caution.

Not sure if you heard, but last week Facebook made some changes to its photo tagging feature. Where once only people could be tagged in photos, now pages (brands, celebrities, etc.) can be tagged as well.

It might seem small, but for marketers this could represent a boon. Fast Company described it as potentially far more potent than “Likes.” Makes sense, especially since tagging a photo is innately more intimate than simply liking a page on Facebook. But it’s also a feature marketers should approach with caution.

Here’s a quick rundown of how this works. When a person posts a photo on Facebook, it can be tagged with a link to the profiles of everyone who appears in that photo. Now, pages for brands can do the same. If the person who posted the photo set it to be seen by “everyone”, then brands themselves (or fans of the brands can do the tagging) in the photo and it will show up on that brand’s page. If the user’s privacy settings are set to “friend’s only” the photo will only show up on in their network.

This creates a unique opportunity for brands. It will allow them to engage in a visual way with fans’ networks of friends and family. It demonstrates real world adoption, and humanizes the brand in a very personal way. Marketers, for instance, could run photo-tagging campaigns, asking fans to tag themselves when they attend a brand event or use its product. It’s powerful word of mouth marketing – without actually using words.

But before marketers go on a tagging spree there are some key concerns to consider.

First off, many fans of your product might not like your making them an unwitting spokesman for your product. Think about it. Just because a Ford Taurus is in the background of that photo I took on Mother’s Day, doesn’t mean I want my mom to be touting the Taurus. Brands who push their way into fans’ personal lives can open themselves up to serious backlash. Remember, just because they haven’t set their privacy settings to, you know, “private”, doesn’t mean a user doesn’t feel like it’s private moment they are sharing.

Another aspect to consider is whether you want to be linked to a particular user. Let’s say you’re Bud Light and you tag your brand in a fan’s photos depicting their Friday night out on the town. That’s great. Except that fan posted hundreds of photos showing him passed out drunk. That’s not exactly the stellar endorsement Bud might have been hoping for. Tagging is a two-way street. Not only does the fan “like” your brand, implicitly your brand “likes” them back.

For now, I would encourage marketers to adopt a “wait and curate” strategy. Instead of self-imposing your brand into fans’ public photos, let the most avid fans do it themselves. Then thank them for it. That way you avoid backlash while generating word of mouth and goodwill. And watch what pops up. No doubt there will be malfeasance on the part of pranksters. Like a negative tweet, there’s only so much you can do. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be watching.

Frank Eliason, of @ComcastCares fame, once referred to Facebook as “peoples’ living rooms.” You don’t want to show up to your fans living rooms with a bunch of junk mail.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jesse Noyes
Jesse came to Eloqua from the newsroom trenches. As Managing Editor, it's his job to find the hot topics and compelling stories throughout the marketing world. He started his career at the Boston Herald and the Boston Business Journal before moving west of his native New England. When he's not sifting through data or conducting interviews, you can find him cycling around sunny Austin, TX.


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