How long until we see Fakebook profiles?

How long will it be until we see fake friends, character profiles and guerilla marketing groups on Facebook? Not long I predict (and maybe I’m missing them already). Remember the character blogs and flogs like Captain Morgan and Lincoln Fry we saw with blogging? A brand could easily create a nominally topical group, say Glasgow Free Forever, get people to join and then use it to create a self-selecting audience – in this case those interested in Glasgow tourism perhaps.

Handled well, this could be great. Handled badly, and people will feel duped and push back against the company.

Ditto with Friends, a tactic long hawked on MySpace. It might even be fun to be updated on the imagined thoughts and happenings of brand mascots or personalities. Perhaps I might want to be associated with that brand in my Friends, and of course there’s the chance for direct dialog. If you are promoting a television series, what better way to keep people up to date on the characters between season than via a social network profile?

Sounds like a lot of work though, huh? It’s another channel to manage? Well, you might not get the choice. If you as a marketer don’t seize the opportunity to create your group or your profile, then others will. They might be your biggest fans, or naysayers or competitors. Take Jack Daniels, a brand I quite favor – there are already 500+ JD groups all using the Jack Daniels brand assets, as well as 158 profiles called Jack Daniels, some of which use the logo too. Your voice might get lost in the crowd, but if you truly are the brand, you presumably have access to the best content, understand the audience better and have the most resources to apply.

Whatever your thoughts on Facebook, ffor consumer-facing brands, and even for many business-oriented brands, at the moment, it’s part of the communications fabric, whether you embrace it or not.

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