Friday, October 15, 2010

New Skype features on Facebook give brand advocates greater voice

Skype's release of Skype 5.0 for Windows includes a new Facebook tab that allows users to SMS or call their Facebook friends (even do a 10-caller video group call) right from their Facebook News Feed. This feature could have interesting applications for brand marketers with active Facebook fan communities. 

For example, we might see Facebook friends rallying around one-day deals promoted editorially by Groupon, which offers super-low prices by facilitating group buying online. Since deals are only activated once a minimum quota of buyers has been met, many Groupon users get their friends on board through social networking. Especially hot deals could warrant the extra nudge of a Skype call or SMS. 

Most of Groupon's daily deals are for local restaurants, events, services and retailers, but there's potential for national brands and chains, too. Case in point, GAP recently ran a national one-day Groupon deal that sold nearly half a million "Groupons" valued at more than $11 million.  GAP's Facebook fan page had a role in this success, no doubt, and now with Skype fan endorsements can be even more dynamic. 

For consumer marketers, dovetailing Facebook (for reach), Skype (for advocacy), and Groupon (for high-value, time-sensitive promotion), may be a winning way to leverage fan communities for brand-building, publicizing new products, encouraging trial, or getting momentum behind sales events. 

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