Conan’s brilliantly simple Facebook strategy

Brian Stelter has a great piece in the New York Times today on Conan O’Brien’s web strategy.  I was particularly impressed with his approach to Facebook:

Mr. O’Brien, for instance, has almost a million fans amassed on the “I’m With Coco” Facebook group, which formed during his feud with NBC and is controlled by fans. Rather than fully taking over the group, as they considered doing, Mr. O’Brien’s employees simply keep in touch with the pages’ operators and occasionally add links. Still, Mr. O’Brien’s official Web site encourages visitors to become fans of the group. Sometimes, it seems, it is better to embrace an existing online audience than to try to create a new one.

Well said, Mr. Stelter.  And well done, Coco.  Giving up control is understandably an uncomfortable idea for a lot of brands.  But the truth is that you never really had full control in the first place, so why not embrace and support the legions of fans who are already out there championing your cause?

Mike Pilarz

7 Responses

  1. That’s awesome and very brave! Thanks for sharing, Mike.

  2. I’m going to see Coco this Friday. SO excited.

  3. Interesting strategy by CoCo & Co. – and a confident one. I wonder if a corporation could be this secure?

    • Good question, Heather, and I actually know of a couple organizations which found that unbeknownst to them, users had already created Facebook a page for their brand. But instead of freaking out, they recognized that the page was in support of – not opposition to – the brand, and simply approached the moderators to ask if there was anything they could to do help. In many cases, the moderators welcomed them in as co-moderators, and they all lived happily ever after. CME Group is a good example of a company which went through this process.

  4. Mike — Thanks for the shout out for CME Group. the idea of control, or lake thereof, is certainly a key obstacle. I think it really comes down to a firm’s culture (open or closed) and the person who does it. Every organization is different so having a strategy in place is a significant piece of the puzzle. We jumped into social media just as described above — a Facebook group was created by our customers so we embraced and joined the group.

    • Thanks for jumping in and sharing that, Allan. Your story is a great example of the reward that comes from embracing fans, rather than trying to wrestle away control.

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