A tale of two Facebooks.

Take a look at two totally different approaches to promoting your brand on social networks. Hmmm…

Coke on Facebook.

A megabrand like this has to have its own page on Facebook, right? Not exactly. Hard to imagine that it took two fans to create something out of nothing, the something that would become the face of Coke. That’s what happened as longtime Coke drinkers Dusty Sorg and Michael Jedrzejewski created their own fan page on Facebook. Using nothing more than an image of Coke, it amassed over 1 million fans in just one year. The page now has over 15 million fans. And the brand had nothing to do with it. Once it became so large that Coke couldn’t help but notice the effort, they had two choices: move to shut it down, or help promote and take control.

Luckily for the two, Coke chose the latter, choosing to help facilitate the conversation around its brand instead of obstructing it. This is also an example of grassroots marketing from the bottom up—started by the community.

(Via Greg Verdino in Micromarketing.)

T.G.I. Friday’s Woody Free Burger Promotion.

Many brands also use social networks to run promotions. T.G.I. Friday’s came up with the idea to give away a free burger to everyone who signed up and liked them on Facebook. They needed to reach 500,000 fans by Sept. 30, even though by late August they only had around 12,000 fans.

The NFL’s opening weekend changed that as TV spots with the brand’s Woody character promoted the Facebook page, and by Sept. 9, they had reached their goal. Rather than shut it down though, they decided to extend the promotion and go for 1 million fans by the original Sept. 30 deadline.

Mission. Accomplished. The first week of October saw coupons being emailed out to those who took part. Except, by the time they were received, the redemption period was just a few short days away lasting only for three days (10/11-10/14) Sunday thru Wednesday, generally the slow times of the restaurant business.

Worth noting here: While this was an online promotion, it didn’t take off until support from paid media kicked in to drive traffic to Facebook. This was good integration between social media and TV, not to mention classic direct response marketing.

The problems: First, Friday’s in effect bought its fans; it didn’t build them organically the way Coke did. This isn’t hard to do for any brand, not when you dangle a free offer in front of someone with a broad, top down message. By doing this though, you run the risk of turning into one-time customers instead of ones who come back.

Then, it changed the conditions of the contest in a way that was misleading from the original promotion. (Who could realistically be expected to redeem a coupon within two days of getting it, or risk losing it.) At the very least, the coupon should have been made good for far longer, so that fans could redeem when it was convenient for them—not the brand.

This would have likely made more fans of the brand for longer. Speaking of, the Facebook page with Woody and those million fans?

It’s no longer up.

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