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Best Facebook Marketing Mix Strategy

The best use of Facebook's tools I have seen so far integrated the power of pictures, photo tagging, comments and Facebook events.  In this case report, I will analyze and explain why the campaign was brilliant from a Facebook marketing perspective and provide my (two or three? :P) readers with a great Facebook Viral Marketing Campaign strategy.

The marketing gem was created last May 2009 by Julie Séguin, a communications student at Ottawa University, who participated in the "Jeux de la Communication" (oh yeah!).  

So what was it?  It was an "Old visual arts projects SILENT AUCTION!". What did Julie do?
  • First, she created a Facebook event.
  • She then uploaded pictures of her art work in the Event's photo section.
  • She added the title, dimensions, medium and minimum pricing bid in each of the photo's description.
  • She used the Facebook event's invite function to invite all of her friends.
  • She used the Facebook event's description to inform the invitees of the procedures:
"RULE #1 : You must bid in the photo comments so I can see who was the last person to bid on the last day at the last hour"
I am not sure Julie realized it, but this campaign was genius.  Here is why:

Julie properly used the media and social functions of Facebook.

I see this auction as a marketing campaign and this campaign combined photos, the media aspect of Facebook, and events, the social aspect of Facebook. The combination of the two allowed the campaign to reacch multiple members at once harmoniously because it did not disrupt how Facebook was meant to be used, it was not spammy.

Julie hi-jacked thousands of Facebook member's News Feed.

Beyond the obvious sharing nature of a Facebook event through invites, this Facebook silent auction had the capacity to take over my news feed, as well as any of Julie's friends, and friends of her friends' news feed. The viral nature of Facebook comes from the News Feed  and the best way to show up in a News Feed (barring custom settings) are through pictures: Photo tags, Photo uploads and Photo comments. Any actions related with photos will physically take more space in the News Feed and on a person's wall, thus drawing much more attention. Accordingly, by asking to leave your price in the photo's comments, these comments will show up in their friend's news feed and since it is a bid, there are two advantages:
  1. there are chances that multiple people will leave a comment, thus showing up in more member's News Feed.  I also think that the more comments a picture has, the more chance it will appear in your News Feed. 
  2. the same member might post more than one comment, thus increasing the visibility of 1.

What I would of done differently/more.

In order to use Facebook to its fullest, I would of instructed interested bidders to tag themselves in the pictures they bid.  From a marketing perspective, the reason is clear, I want my event/campaign to show up in more news feed and get more attention but it also displays a bigger commitment from my bidders so that I can filter who are more serious than others.  Moreover, if you are not friends with the person that uploaded the photo, you cannot leave a comment, however if you are tagged you can.  Thus, in order to leave a bid for the members outside of the event creator's network, they can tag themselves.

I would take advantage of the invite functions and encourage my friends to invite their friends as well or encourage my friends to tag friends who they really think would enjoy the bidded product.  If the person does not want to be tagged, they can easily untag themselves anyway.


I think the silent auction itself was quite creative but I think the brilliance of the campaign was not intended and that is what I wanted to point out: how to use photos, photo tagging and photos comments for Facebook marketing.

The reason why Facebook is so popular is because they, as opposed to MySpace at the time, offer unlimited uploads of pictures.  Moreover, they allowed comments on the pictures as well at tagging.  Tagging is simply a link.  A link to another person's profile, which essentially is a person's webpage.  Think of Facebook as a mini Internet.  It is no different from a website about product X linking to another website about a product in common with product X.  The difference is that Facebook does it with people.

This genius use of Facebook was not the idea of a six figure communication or advertising/marketing firm, nor was the event created for a large corporation.  It was neither created by a group of so called social media or web marketing experts with 10 or 20 years of experience.  The event was created to simply get rid of some of  her art work and make a few dollars (to pay rent? ;)).

If any marketers want to leverage Facebook properly, they need to start with the pictures.  I can and hope to see in the future more innovative Facebook campaigns integrating brilliant photo tagging and photo comments.  I know I have been thinking a lot about it!