Egyptian blogger from Cairo.
Revolutionary Socialist.
Partner & Creative Director at ThePlanet.

Live Social Media Case study: Facebook Cause vs Fan Page

For any campaign to be successful, you and your team need to be dynamic, and react to the events as they unfold. In this post I will continue the case study of the live Social Media campaign against Marks & Spencer, focusing on the Facebook cause, that we have decided to replace with a Page.

Creating a Facebook cause for the campaign was attractive for many reasons:

  • A ‘Cause’ seems much more appropriate than, say, a ‘fan’ page
  • You ‘join’ the cause, as oppose to ‘like’ing something (especially if talking about a sad/dramatic cause!)
  • Facilitates donations to the cause (if applicable)
  • Shows the recruits carried out by the active members, creating a mini competition that is beneficial for the campaign overall
  • Offers various ways of communicating, including bulletins, posts and messages

Create a Page on Facebook

For those reasons, we chose to create a cause and attempt to spark enough of a buzz around it to make it go viral. However, we hit a bit of a wall with the following:

  • The layout and interface are confusing. Regardless of your level and familiarity, you’re bound to feel lost and insecure
  • To join a cause, you have to first authorize Facebook to allow it to connect with your account – a page that inevitably throws people off and scares them away (the huge majority do NOT have the application installed on their Facebook account beforehand)
  • The cause takes you to another domain, and it takes a few witty clicks to make your way back to Facebook, which is like asking for people to be without air for prolonged periods of time
  • You can only invite 75 friends per day, which inevitably hinders your expansion efforts

After some thought, we decided to start a Page and called it Stop Marks & Spencer in Egypt. Now the following are the advantages that you will encounter in Pages in comparison to Facebook Causes:

  • Very familiar interface, very easy to use
  • Allows you to invite all of your friends (albeit selected one by one)
  • All it takes is a little ‘Like’, without authorization, requests, or anything of the sort
  • After 25 Likes, you get what Facebook calls a vanity URL, which basically means a slug to make a user-friendly domain (in this case,
  • It offers you the ability to integrate some powerful Facebook applications. Not the least Static FBML which has allowed us to add the content of the website to the tabs across the top. And this is only the beginning, because we can keep adding, removing and altering tabs as we see fit

Therefore, Whenever you are running a social media campaign for a cause, stick to the fan page. In this particular case, having a Cause as well as a Page may seem distracting at first, but it has coincidentally blessed us with the advantage of even more results leading to our campaign when you search ‘Marks & Spencer Egypt’ in Facebook!

Welcome tab of the Facebook Page is a powerful tool

It has been tough to gain fans and catch up with the followers of the cause, but this has been mainly due to the events unfolding in the political arena in Egypt. It’s important to keep the different platforms in sync, so that they’re not each isolated in a different direction. Phase 2 of the campaign is coming up in a few days’ time – stay tuned.

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Andoni Al-Khoury

December 2, 2010

I remember telling you that fb pages are much more familiar to Egyptians than causes. of course I did not elaborate as much as you did and you did a very good job at explaining the differences in your post.

Let me add to your post that Causes as an application can be added to your page as a tab. so voila, by having a page you get to also use the causes app but not vice-versa.

Also your page can be easily promoted with Social plugins & Badges that fb provides for you; thus your page can be easily liked from ANYWHERE on the net (including your blog post here) makes it much easier for me for example to like your page as I’m writing this comment. You would be surprised that pages get liked 70% of its likes outside of the fb page hosted on facebook (I have my own case studies on those numbers)

Good job you are doing right now with the M & S cause. If this is your first Social media campaign then you should consider doing a video presentation of your cause, videos spread fast and it’s the only thing that goes viral with Egyptians. Even if you only rewrite the same thing you have on your page, you have more chances of people reading those 15 facts of your on a video that on normal text page ;)

Again, if you need any help then please just ask…


Tarek Shalaby

December 4, 2010

Thank you very much once again for your help and encouragement, Andoni! I added the Cause to the Fan page as an application/tab, but it didn’t seem very helpful (wasn’t bringing much value), so I removed it.

Completely forgot about the Facebook activity streams, you’re spot on! I will update this post with it, and hopefully we’ll be able to get more likes (VERY interesting what you say about the study).

A video is definitely on the wish list, but given the constraints in time and resources, I don’t really see it happening.

Thanks again, you’ve been extremely helpful to all of us!

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