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There is one Facebook page that all marketers fear (or should fear). Being featured on it can plunge a sometimes unsuspecting brand into a serious industry reputation problem.
Welcome to the Condescending Corporate Brand Page: loved, hated and completely unapologetic.
The page highlights some of the more groan-worthy (or as they would probably say, desperate, obvious or ridiculous) brand attempts to encourage consumer engagement.
As brands scramble to keep themselves visible on what is arguably an already oversaturated channel, far too many have fallen into the mindset that Facebook success is fully based on getting more likes, comments and shares than the next guy.
The problem is, brand pages are literally pleading to get people to engage. ‘Like this post if you like puppies!’, ‘Share this update if you hate Mondays’ are frequent topics of ridicule on CCBP.
In essence, I have always agreed with the sentiment of CCBP. It has highlighted some truly heinous attempts by brand pages to get more likes, including a mobile operator promoting a handset via a 9/11 remembrance tweet and a plea from a TV channel to ‘like’ a post in order to send a prayer to the people killed and injured in the Spain train derailment.
However, the evolution of the Condescending Corporate Brand Page has been fascinating. What started as a justified name and shame of brands who take advantage of the masses’ enjoyment of sharing tenuously-linked pictures of cats on a Friday, has more recently turned into more of an ‘anti-brands on Facebook‘ campaign.
A post from 11 October, for example, encourages people to unlike brand pages full stop. I’ve also noticed that increasingly the posts submitted to the editors by the public are simply innocuous ads someone just doesn’t want to see in their news feed.
And while on this basis some will argue that the call-outs are overly vicious, CCBP highlights quite a few issues marketers should be aware of when using Facebook as a promotional channel:
1.Engagement ‘tactics’ around the world are dreadfully monotonous
Fill in the blank, jumble puzzles, what’s missing, what’s different, ‘like us to’, ‘share us to’, ‘comment here to’, gets really old.
Asking opinion here and there is fine as long as it’s:
- Not all the time.
- Not ridiculous or bloody obvious what the answer is.
2.Some people will stoop lower than low just to get a like. Don’t be one of them.
While CCBP and I have different views around charity campaigns from a marketing point of view, don’t ask for likes or shares to send prayers or offer sympathy to the dead or injured.
It’s considerably poor taste to take advantage.
3.Just because people ‘play along’ doesn’t mean you should do it.
There may be ‘sheep’ (as CCBP calls them) who actually do comment, like or share somewhat ridiculous engagement posts, but that doesn’t mean they add any sort of brand value to the experience.
4.There are a lot brands who are not paying attention
Despite there being a lot of industry buzz about the page, there are some repeat offender brands continuously featured.
Not naming names, but if you’re named once you should know about it and use it as a wakeup call.
5.Using clip art or nicking images from Google is sometimes enough to get you a prime spot.
The images you post on Facebook make up your visual voice. You (hopefully) wouldn’t post pictures that are contradictory to your brand guidelines on your website, so why are you on Facebook?
Above all, it should be common sense. However, as Facebook tweaks EdgeRank, it’s quite possible we will see an increase in brands trying more desperate attempts to keep themselves in NewsFeed without advertising investment.
It doesn’t look like the guys at CCBP will be out of content any time soon.