Reciprocity on Facebook

08-14-2009 BY bbulman

A recent trend I have been seeing with brands on Facebook is to offer some sort of value in exchange for the consumer to “Fan” their brand on Facebook. While we could talk about if there is a real value of a consumer “fanning” your brand in Facebook, that is for another time.

Early adopter brands like Starbucks and Coke have been on Facebook for a while, but recently brands have really started to more heavily invest in presences on Facebook. An interesting example of how brands are building followings on Facebook is NBC, which has started promoting many of it’s new shows via Facebook Fan Pages, such as it’s upcoming fall show Community.

NBC is giving visitors to the Community fan page access to the new show’s pilot a month earlier than it’s premiere on air in late September. All visitors have to do is become a fan of Community on Facebook. ┬áIt’s a classic case of Balanced Reciprocity, when one agent gives away goods/services to another with the expectation of something in return at a later date. In this example, the value being given way is exclusive access to the pilot earlier than most of the public, and the expected return is that the consumer will be receptive to future marketing message from NBC.

NBC's Community Facebook Page

The site tells consumers they must become a fan before watching, but instead of building functionality to limit viewing to fans only, NBC uses messaging to try and influence consumers to become a fan.

I expect this to be pretty successful, and expect to see more and more brands trying experiments like this on Facebook as they try to find new ways to engage with consumers.

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