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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 numbers

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 Facebook sidebarConverse 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:

Converse fan photos... and Facebook spam

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.

Moderation fail?

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.

Parenting fail

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.

Chris Lake

Published 18 March, 2011 by Chris Lake

Chris Lake is CEO at EmpiricalProof, and former Director of Content at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter, Google+ or connect via Linkedin.

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Comments (11)

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Adam Sherk

I noticed this in the photos section of the Vogue Facebook page yesterday, so it must be spreading.

over 5 years ago

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D R White

I noticed this on an obscure blog with about one comment but a quarter of a million "likes" ...is it time to delete my facebook yet?

over 5 years ago

Christopher Rose

Christopher Rose, PPC Marketing Director at Rose Digital Marketing

Talking of dodgy marketing, shouldn't the wording of the plug for Econsultancy's Facebook Pages guide be re-worded to indicate that it is for sale? The current wording clearly implies it is free and £250 is a long way from free?

Econsultancy's 90-page guide called 'How to create amazing Facebook Pages' will provide you with all the detail you need to build - or overhaul - a Facebook Page.

It contains plenty of insight on design and build, as well as strategy and tactics, and features a 50-point checklist of recommendations and 60+ real world examples / screenshots. Download this timesaving guide today for the inside track.

over 5 years ago

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Nick Armstead, SEO + PPC Consultant at Orantec

I find my company pages getting tagged in all sorts of photos usually by other companies or for promotional purposes. So far I would rather have the tags, it spreads the word of my pages further without me having to do the work. There are some blatant taggings you do have to delete but on the whole Id rather people knew about the company.

over 5 years ago

Matt Batterham

Matt Batterham, Online Marketing Manager at Browser Media

It’s always going to happen when pages allow fans to upload their own content . Take a look through any ‘big’ brand page and it doesn’t take long to find something out of sorts. Cadbury Creme Egg, Dr Pepper, Diesel, the list goes on.

Interestingly, fans on the Diesel page seem to be fighting back;

One fan posted “Pi** off Spammer!!!!”

And another;

“Hey moderators of this Diesel page!!... U can leave this kinda photo on can't you[unless you're in on it!] - which has nothing to do with the site[the girl is nothing! - There's 3 of her and teh same photo of her on this Group page!], but you can take off my most recent item articles that definitely had to do with Diesel products. I wanted to get feedback about 2 articles, that I was thinking of purchasing. So what's wrong with that, hey?...”

No response from Diesel. Oh dear.

I agree that “Facebook needs to close the gap”, but more importantly, moderators need to do their job.

over 5 years ago

Mike Gomez

Mike Gomez, SEO Analyst at Epiphany

"Moderation... just do it." I don't know whether to shake your hand or slap you for that Chris!

Anyway, congrats to Converse for being on top of their game here and removing the photos as quick as possible.

It's always good to see a brand taking pride in their Facebook page (saves them getting a #fail mention for one) and I completely agree Facebook should taking steps to make the prevention / removal of photos like these much much easier.

Mike

over 5 years ago

Chris Lake

Chris Lake, CEO at Empirical Proof

@Christopher: "Clearly implies it is free." Sorry but where does it say the guide is free? There's no mention of 'free', so I'm not sure why you think it would be? Most of our research reports are subscriber access. The pricing varies depending on whether you buy one report, or subscribe. Subscribers can access all of our 1,600 reports for a flat annual fee. Pricing differs by region - one reason for not labelling the guide as £250 in that 'Learn More' area. Visit a report's landing page and you see the right pricing displayed for your particular territory.

@Matt: Agree... it's a very wide issue and many brands are affected. Converse moderates well, yet continues to be targeted, and the Facebook functionality needs the be improved.

@Mike: [ducks]

over 5 years ago

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Richard Coen, Owner at Emarkable.ie

Have a look at skittles facebook pages, lots of 'wrong' images, we noticed this last august for a presentation we were giving, its crazy that big brands let this happen because of little or no moderation. Which is more important, the brand or freedom to post?

over 5 years ago

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Dave Blackburn, support at Marketing Quotes

Facebook is so large now that is is impossible to police properly unless they have someone vetting all pictures that go up (which will cost money that they may not want to spend without charging users).

over 5 years ago

Christopher Rose

Christopher Rose, PPC Marketing Director at Rose Digital Marketing

Chris Lake: The wording says "Download this timesaving guide today"; that does not give the slightest hint that it is for sale and clearly implies it is free. Otherwise it would say "Buy this timesaving guide today".

You're right that it doesn't say it is free, which is why I said it implies it...

Deceptive is as deceptive does.

over 5 years ago

Chris Lake

Chris Lake, CEO at Empirical Proof

@Christopher - It's hardly deceptive! It's a call to action, you see them all the time. Unfortunately we don't live in a free world.

over 5 years ago

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