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Eight years in the making, Facebook now has more than one billion members.

Mark Zuckerberg’s social experiment turned good made the announcement overnight, saying the company now counts more than one billion active users. That’s one-seventh of the world’s population.

“This morning, there are more than one billion people using Facebook actively each month. If you’re reading this: thank you for giving me and my little team the honour of serving you,” Zuckerberg said in a blog post.

“Helping a billion people connect is amazing, humbling and by far the thing I am most proud of in my life. I am committed to working every day to make Facebook better for you, and hopefully together one day we will be able to connect the rest of the world too.”

It hasn’t been the best year for Facebook, with a less than stellar float and a market cap slashed by 50%. It’s been on the back foot all year, especially as analysts continue to point out the company’s biggest growth area – mobile – isn’t making much money.

But Facebook is still one of the biggest tools a business has when it comes to marketing and advertising. Over the past eight years, businesses have been able to use the biggest social platform in the world to leverage their brands and boost sales.

So in honour of Facebook reaching its one billion milestone, we’ve profiled five of the best marketing campaigns businesses have used on the social network:

1. IKEA

In 2009, IKEA wanted to promote the opening of a new IKEA store, so it used one of Facebook’s newest features at the time – photo tagging.

The company put up pictures of IKEA catalogues, and then invited users to tag items with their names. The first person to tag that particular item got it for free.

Although it doesn’t seem too out-there, this was one of the first big companies to use a Facebook feature as a campaign premise, and managed to create a lot of buzz in the process.

2. Westfield

Way back in Christmas 2010, Westfield used Facebook to start a campaign offering one lucky winner a $10,000 voucher to use at one of its shopping centres. Participants just had to use an app that changed their status update to say they were entering the competition.

The campaign caused plenty of controversy, with many people annoyed by the flood of Westfield-related status updates clogging their feed. But it worked, and the shopping centre giant got the publicity it wanted.

3. Ford Explorer

While Ford may not be the first company you’d think of when it comes to innovative social marketing, the company managed to hit a win in 2010 when it revealed the next Ford Explorer model.

It had a specific problem – how do you make consumers excited about car models that don’t change much every year?

The company left clues in different social media profiles, and fans were able to track and find information leading up to the reveal. It was a great example of how to incorporate different aspects of consumer behaviour into a product reveal, and created a lot of noise about the company’s investment in social marketing.

4. Sky Italia

An Italian satellite television company wanted to make its product – film and television – more interesting.

Its advertising company came up with an idea to have users send letters to “Don Natale”, in a joke making light of the Godfather series. The rough-looking version of Santa gave a personalised message of goodwill, laced with a threatening message – “you’ve been warned”.

5. Kohl’s

American department store Kohl’s decided to give away $10 million to different schools – but the fans on Facebook decided who gets what.

Twenty schools were eventually voted on, with each winner getting $500,000. The campaign reached more than a million fans, and the engagement was huge – each school earned more than 100,000 votes.

It’s a good example of how social marketing and social welfare can go hand in hand.

Story by Patrick Stafford Source: www.smartcompany.com.au

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