Before you read on ... hop over to Facebook ... find a picture you've posted or perhaps one that a friend has posted, which has some kind of product placement in it. One of Facebook's latest features will allow you to now tag this photo with the corresponding brand page!
This raises 3 questions in my mind:
1. Why did Facebook choose to launch a feature like this? - Is this Facebook's attempt to grow it's marketing tools offering? One of the things this features allows for is the auto-population of a brand's photo gallery. Brands that are more likely to appear in photos have a higher chance of being tagged and as such have a higher chance of gathering free marketing materials (customers using products)! That leads me to question number two...
2. Should customers in some way be rewarded for tagging a brand in a photo? After all if companies pay TV shows to have their products placed ... why should they not reward Facebook fans in the same way? It doesn't necessarily have to be a direct monetary reward (in the form of a Facebook credit), it can be something like a discount code perhaps or even a coupon. However ... this idea certainly begs the question...
3. If customers don't tag brands in their own photos, is it ethical for brands to go out and tag themselves in fan photos? This was the premise of a great article by Todd Wasserman on Mashable. Since brands can now act as people on Facebook (another recent feature), a brand could technically go out there and look through some pictures of all the people who have liked them and potentially start tagging their photos. This seems a little beyond the line because it completely violates the underlying principle of permission marketing that Facebook is built upon.
Final thoughts: It will be interesting to see how brands use this feature to enhance the permission model and potentially leverage it, rather than abuse it. What are your thoughts?
p.s. Later this week I hope to record a special episode of The Digital Marketing Lounge with my friend Ben Wise. We will be discussing all things Facebook! If there is something in particular you would like us to talk about, drop it in the comments below! Thanks in advance :)