Enjoyable Brand Pages on Facebook

I follow a lot of pages on Facebook. My pages are an odd mix of personal interests (tech, fashion, food), brands I had to "like" in order to enter a sweepstakes (yes, I'm a sucker like that), companies I've worked or volunteered for, and friend's companies.

Most of the companies I follow update their pages rarely, if at all. Some of them post only when something noteworthy happens within the company. And then there are the rare few that post frequently and awesomely.

Here are a few that stand out in my news feed:

Pepto-Bismol posts these hilarious one-liners that are usually timely and culturally relevant (but sometimes just totally random). For example, during March Madness they wrote, "On this game day, if you overindulge, ask not what you can do for Pepto -- ask what Pepto can do for you." I think for a potentially awkward brand that doesn't have much content to share, they're doing a great job of of being engaging and funny.
This one's a little bit nostalgic for me. I've been a Jones Soda fan since high school (which was decidedly pre-Facebook), but they've really taken social media in stride and used it as another way to connect with their already enthusiastic fan base. They've always had a very hands-off, organic method of marketing that appeals to a generation that's totally jaded when it comes to advertising. On their Facebook page, they sometimes ask questions as basic as, "How was your weekend?" and get hundreds of responses. I think what I love most about their page is the complete lack of gimmicks. It's very authentic and transparent, and it's clear that whoever runs the page loves the company as much as it's fans do.

Rent The Runway is a fabulous company that allows you to rent designer dresses for a fraction of the price and then return them a couple days later. They post fashion news, celebrity gossip, company news, promotions, etc. Pretty standard fare, but I guess what I like about it is that everything is relevant to the interests of their readers and not overly sales-y. My favorite part about their page is that they allow users to upload pictures of themselves in the dresses they rented. It's fun to see real girls wearing these gorgeous designer dresses, and certainly gets me thinking about the next occasion I might have to rent a dress...

The Museum of the City of New York puts up photos of its artifacts, which is cool in and of itself, but they also do really entertaining posts like a "Friday Mystery Image" competition, and timely posts like an Elizabeth Taylor paper doll on the day she passed away.

Oh boy, cat's out of the bag. I'm a geek. I am super excited about Game of Thrones, and that's in no small part due to their excellent marketing tactics. From their Facebook page, I found out that they're at Wondercon today and allowing people to sit in the Iron Throne. So jealous. They also use their page for posting wallpapers and posters, notifying people of where their Tom Colicchio food truck will be (!), posting loads of video, and promoting their game "The Maester's Path." A very good campaign overall, and excellent use of Facebook.

It's worth noting that none of these companies had to "trick" me into liking their pages using sweepstakes or exclusive content. The Pepto-Bismol page was actually recommended to me by a non-marketing friend - just a random consumer who thought it was hilarious. The others I either sought out, or liked because I follow the brand's other outlets and wanted to keep up with them on Facebook also. The way I see it, the takeaway is simple. Make sure your fans know you're on Facebook, and provide your followers with interesting, timely, relevant content every day.

What are your favorite brands to follow? And I'm not just talking about brands that have done big, fancy Facebook campaigns - I'm talking about the brands that you actually enjoy hearing from every day in your news feed.

Dr Pepper's Latest Spot is 0-for-10

AdFreak did a great review of Dr Pepper's pathetic attempt to target their new diet soda to men, but I wanted to go ahead and add my two cents.

I'm not going to spend too much time on it, because frankly, it's not worth it. It's not so offensive that it makes me want to start a vendetta. It's just dumb. But I do think it's worth pointing out that both Coke and Pepsi have been able to target and sell diet soda to men without offending women at all. Dr Pepper is taking a big gamble by deciding to blatantly alienate 50% of the population...

When I first saw this ad, it got me thinking about diet soda on a product level. Why don't they fortify it with protein and call it Dr Pepper Fit? That way they can target men on overall fitness instead of just "diet." I know nothing about the making of soda or if it's possible to infuse it with protein, but I guess my point is - there are other options. It's not necessary to reduce women to "romantic comedies and lady drinks" in order to sell your lame-o product.

I don't have much else to say, because AdFreak already said it best: "There is a manchild out there for whom this branding will work. But watch out, manchild. Bring that can near me, and you're cruisin' for a bruisin'."

Fashionably Digital

It took the fashion industry a while to catch up with digital trends, but they're finally catching on - and fast.

Take, for instance, Uniqlo, a forward-thinking Japanese clothing company. They recently launched Uniqlooks, an online fashion community that allows fans of the brand to upload photos of themselves wearing their own stylings of the company's clothes. It uses the street style appeal that has taken the blogging world by storm and socializes it, putting the trend-setting power in the hands of the consumer.

Speaking of street style, have you seen this Intel campaign?

I was thrilled when it launched with a documentary about Scott Schuman, author of The Sartorialist and undisputed leader of the street style community. But as much as we the people love the democratization of fashion, there are those who are less excited about it. Namely, Olivier Zahm, who said to WWD, "This is why the industry is going in a vulgar, common, bad direction — because of the direct access that doesn’t come with an education, reflection, understanding.”

As a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology and a bit of a fashionaholic, I am inclined to disagree with Mr. Zahm. I think just like every other industry, it's healthy for the people to have some say in what becomes a trend and what doesn't. Designers don't like to have their work criticized (and who can blame them?) but it's for the best. It's forcing them to be held accountable for the quality and originality of their work.

And now for Fashion Week. For anyone who's been living under a rock, New York Fashion Week came to a close on Feb 17th. It was so fun for me (who basically lives online) to be able to follow all the coverage from my home bases: Google Reader, Twitter, Facebook.

  1. Google Reader: The Fashion section of my blog reader was, for one glorious week, my busiest section and the coverage was deep because bloggers are finally being recognized as press and getting invitations to fashion shows! 
  2. Twitter: It was also great to open up TweetDeck and see #NYFW all over the place. I've never seen a more heavily discussed Fashion Week on Twitter. *Side note, I had to double check every time I clicked on a #NYFW link to make sure it didn't actually say #NSFW... 
  3. Facebook: As an FIT grad, Facebook was especially fun for me because so many of my former classmates were at the shows, posting photos and updates in real time. Lucky me :-)

So I don't have time now, but I'm going to follow up with a "Fashionably Digital: Post Deux" about fashion apps and online communities. I have a few in mind, but if you have any you'd like me to check out and possibly cover, please let me know in the comments!