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Time for brands to think differently on Facebook?

Posted by Darren Willsher on 13th September 2012

Bad news for brands on Facebook this week, with the results from a new study which found that the number of people who actually enjoy Facebook has dropped to just four.

“An exhaustive analysis of our data indicates that Facebook does indeed have a positive impact on the day-to-day lives of Susannah Brambrink of Milwaukee, Tom Peros of San Diego, Eugene Phipps of Albuquerque, and Karen Fairbanks of rural Missouri,” lead researcher John Elliott said. “But all other users—literally all of them—are overpowered by a deep, nameless sadness when exposed to the site, and apparently only visit it out of some sick, inexplicable compulsion bordering on masochism.”


Now before I risk ending up here, I’m quite aware that this is from The Onion, but it might have a point.

If you’re yet to see the glorious ‘Condescending Corporate Brand Page’ on Facebook then I recommend you have a look – it’s safe for work but the language isn’t perhaps the kind you’d share with your mother.

However after looking at the page it’s impossible to take the vast majority of brand pages seriously as they’re all turning into the same thing. Just with slightly different cat pictures.

Innocent was probably one of the more famous pioneers of the ‘chatty and friendly’ brand approach and it really made them stand out, but now everyone’s doing it.

Just look through some of the posts shared by ‘Condescending Corporate Brand Page’ and it really is getting silly. It’s all just a generic sea of ‘wacky’ animal pictures, cute things and other posts complete with a somewhat desperate sounding plea for you to like and share them. Most of it is barely related to the company let alone what they’re selling.

Enough is enough

The problem I have with this is that I honestly think people will soon get fed up of it all. With more brands each day getting involved and doing the same thing, there’s only a limited amount users will bother with. Personally I only follow a handful of brands and I follow them as they post a good mix of content. If I wanted a timeline full of animal pictures I’m quite capable of heading to BuzzFeed.

So what now then? Well it comes back to the same things as before, creating the right content. There’s an excellent blog here that details brands doing some clever things on Facebook, more often than not without resorting to kittens.

Yes people like kittens, but instead of just following the crowd brands need to try creating something that’s actually relevant to your audience before people just switch off.

Darren Willsher

Darren has been with Wildfire for six years and is one of the driving forces behind the agency’s telecoms and networking portfolio, with experience working on a range of international, multi-channel accounts including CSR, Picochip (now Mindspeed), Real Wireless, The Small Cell Forum, Samsung and Allied Telesis.