Social Networking: Going Where The Customers Are

By Karen McIntyre, Editor | August 9, 2011

In February, it took Huggies just three weeks to become the second largest Facebook brand page in Hong Kong, where the social networking site has a higher level of penetration even than the U.S. K-C invited parents to upload their babies' photos to the Huggies Facebook page and the interactions and other activities had the fan page appearing in 10 million newsfeeds in a city of seven million residents in just one month. More than 4000 photos were submitted and the 60 most popular ones were featured on 10 double-decker buses roaming the city. The campaign was so popular that at the last minute K-C purchased outdoor advertisements—a 30-foot billboard featuring all 4000 babies—in support of it.

Procter & Gamble's Pampers facebook page has 767,521 followers . . . and growing.
K-C is not alone in its social media efforts. In fact, having a YouTube channel, a Facebook page or a Flickr slideshow is fast becoming a basic part of most major brands' marketing efforts.While the success of the K-C campaign can be attributed to a successful mix of new media social networking efforts and oldschool offline print advertisements, by inviting parents to joint Huggies on Facebook, K-C create an impressive sounding board to broadcast new developments to a focused consumer group.

P&G used this strategy last year when it decided it wanted to educate its customers on new baby wipes classifications and packaging. Instead of using television or print advertising, the company launched a video on the Pampers fanpage to effectively target users of its brand. This focus is much narrower than traditional advertising methods. While a television commercial could be viewed by anyone, only someone who uses Pampers would choose to become a fan of its Facebook page. Other marketing efforts on the Pampers Facebook page—as well as other pages maintained by P&G—include new product announcements, couponing and giveaways and even, in some cases, product sales.

Sweden's SCA also has an ambitious social media marketing strategy. Two years ago, it started a video channel on YouTube and since then has expanded its social media efforts, which now include Facebook, Twitter and Flickr, to name a few, to comprise about a third of its overall group presence, according to the company. While people won't likely read a press release or an annual report, they will read short entries on Facebook, watch films on YouTube or scan pictures on Flickr, says Konstantin Irina, online communications manager.

She's right. Today's consumer is far more likely to hear about a new product through a Facebook page than through a television commercial or traditional website and it is the company that can blend the best components of old and new media that will more effectively win their loyalties.

Karen McIntyre

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