Converse is a well-loved brand with a fantastic history. I remember buying my first pair of All-Stars like it was yesterday (it wasn’t).
The company has sold 800m pairs of All-Stars, to the likes of Joey Ramone, Kurt Cobain and Snoop Dogg.
As such it comes as no surprise to discover that the brand is popular on Facebook, although the scale of its popularity is somewhat jaw-dropping.
The All-Stars page has more than 13.9m ‘likes’ on Facebook, and a staggering 17,000+ pictures, many of which have been added by fans.
The screenshots I’ve used for this post were taken 24 hours ago, since when it has attracted more than 250,000 more ‘likes’. That’s a hell of a lot of growth. It will have more than 100m ‘likes’ by the end of the year if it continues to engage fans at this level.
I believe that the reason why the All-Stars ‘Like’ counter is accelerating so quickly is precisely because of these 17,000+ fan-submitted images. These are attracting lots of ‘likes’, and there are lots of them. It seems as though a large proportion of these 13.9m ‘likes’ represent people who like pictures (and other Wall content) added by fans, as opposed to purely those people who like the All-Stars page.
If all of that adds up then brands might do well to take a leaf out of Converse’s book, to encourage fans to upload lots of likeable content. The more user-generated content, the faster you will accrue ‘likes’. At least that’s my theory.
How can fans add pictures?
When you ‘Like’ a page on Facebook you’re subsequently able to post messages to the Wall. These can be simple text messages (“I love my Chucks!”) or can include pictures and videos (which are added to its gallery).
Converse has done a brilliant job of encouraging people to add images to its gallery. Less than 1% of these 17,000+ All-Star pictures are official uploads.
The issue is that some of these fan images are clearly spam, and aren’t the kind that Converse would want to host on its Facebook page.
Note that the photo gallery will attract a lot of traffic as it is highly prioritised in the navigational links (formerly ‘Tabs’). Spammers are clearly aware of this.
If you click on that Photos link you’ll be taken to a long page, with Converse-submitted imagery at the top (108 images), and the fan images below (all 17,000 of them), under the heading ‘Photos and Videos of Converse All Star’.
The problem is apparent… you can see that five of the first six images aren’t pictures of shoes:
The pictures of the girls include messages such as:
I'm looking for a special kind of friend who will do me good whenever and wherever i want it I have profile up on net here's the link --->
Not the kind of thing most brands want to be associated with. And it’s not limited to saucy girls either: I’ve seen fake watches, gym equipment, and a random picture of a tyrant’s car.
Bad community management, you might think, but you’d be wrong. Converse is very much on top of its moderation duties. These pictures were removed from the Wall within hours of appearing, yet they continued to show up for many more hours in the ‘Photos and Videos of Converse All Star’ section. This isn't a Converse issue, it's a Facebook issue.
Facebook needs to close the gap. When a picture is deleted from the Wall it should also be removed from the gallery, with immediate effect (this could be a caching thing).
Alternatively, Facebook could provide page admins with tools to edit the Photos page. Not all fan imagery will be relevant, and admins might want to change the ordering of photos.
A sidenote here is that Converse’s parent company Nike has a far messier Wall.
Nike's Wall doesn’t seem to be moderated whatsoever, despite having 4m likes and generating plenty of daily activity (mainly from spammers). Blatant spam includes topless girls and YouTube videos with headlines such as “Human trafficking in Nike’s sweatshop factory in Malaysia”.
All of which makes me wonder why Nike was named as the second best social media brand in a study published last week.
Moderation... just do it.