Integrating Sponsors in Social Media

I follow several different team fan pages on Facebook, both for personal interest and to see what different tactics teams are taking with their social media marketing. Yesterday during the course of my usual Facebook usage, I noticed the automatic “Become a Fan” suggestion that you see on the right. Because I am a fan of the Philadelphia Flyers, Facebook thinks I should also be a fan of Wawa.

You may ask what’s so special about this, but in case you didn’t know, Wawa is a very big sponsor of the Philadelphia Flyers. This got me thinking – how great would it be for integrated property/sponsor social media efforts to be aware of certain sponsor relationships and be able to cross-promote each other in such a natural way through Facebook’s standard interface? Maybe this is actually an instance of it already happening!

In this specific case, the more likely scenario is that there is a very high index between fans of the Flyers and “fans” of Wawa (Wawa is HUGE in the Philadelphia and South Jersey region). Facebook is simply recognizing the overlap and making a suggestion that is statistically logical. Of course, that statistical logic is further support for the team/sponsor relationship that the two entities have.

With the power that Facebook has to collect and instantly analyze large amounts of consumer data, I wouldn’t be surprised if we start seeing new measurements like the “Facebook Index” that supplement the current standard consumer research data that a company like Scarborough Research provides.

5 thoughts on “Integrating Sponsors in Social Media

  • March 8, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    I have wondered about this for a while. That is so interesting and I look forward to seeing this sort of connection grow as more and more people use social media.

    Great post!

    Jude Caserta

  • March 8, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    I find this whole idea very interesting. Right now I keep getting ads for wedding venues and weight loss secrets. I am neither engaged nor overweight, so obviously the algorithms still need some work.

    Facebook should seriously consider this idea, though. I believe I read the other day that they are looking to target and sell these ads more agressively. It would be a huge value-add if they could make natural pairings such as the presenting sponsor of a sports team, or an endorser for an athlete (Burton Snowboards for Shaun White or Subway for Michael Phelps).

  • March 8, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    I think Facebook’s suggestions box will remain somewhat arbitrary that is it will suggest pages and/or friends of your connections.
    Facebook Advertising is targeted directed at your example. Wawa can buy adverts targeted directly Flyers fans there is a big danger for sporting properties as they don’t need to associate with the team to gain access to the fans.

  • March 10, 2010 at 3:58 am


    on the facebook helpcentre it says “Facebook calculates Suggestions based on the networks you are a part of, mutual friends, work and education information, contacts imported using the Friend Finder, and many other factors”.

    So this does appear to be algorithmically based, not sponsored. I keep hitting refresh and I get some great suggestions and some really poor ones based on the experience you have outlined above.

    Click on friends on the left column and you will see these page suggestions appear on the top right based on your current pages. Then keep hitting refresh to see what interesting combos it throws up.

    But if it isn’t paid (which it doesn’t appear to be) what a great way for sponsors to connect to sports (and indeed vice versa for emerging sports with their sponsors potentially larger fans bases).

    Most of the suggestions being thrown up for me are spot on, but some promote a direct competitor.

    facebook should really look at the potential of this.

  • April 12, 2010 at 11:09 am

    That is clever from facebook,I realized that many people don’t know about this even some firms.

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