Building Buzz On Facebook: Getting Liked & Shared

March 9, 2011
By Lisa Barone in Internet Marketing Conferences

Are you tired? Just a bit? I’m not going to lie, I’m borderline exhausted but we MUST PULL THROUGH! We have one more session left in Day 2 of SMX West and I have feeling its going to be a doozy. Up on stage we have Ty Downing, Greg Finn, and John Yi all here to talk about building buzz on Facebook. Throw back those energy drinks because there ‘aint no stoppin us now.

John is up first. I wonder if he got dibs because he actually works at Facebook? I guess that’s fair.  John starts up asking the audience not to screen cap his slides because he didn’t have time to run them through the appropriate marketing channels. Heh. I assume that means I can still blog them, right? Because, well, I’m going to. And you can’t stop me. DO YOU HEAR ME, JOHN YI!  I’m sorry. I haven’t eaten. I’d kill a man for a cookie.

No! His first slide is a photo of an In N Out sign and In N Out menu.  And just like that, my stomach growls. I changed my mind. I will now kill a man for a Double Double from In N Out.  Oh, the slide is something to be a metaphor for how search isn’t the sign, it’s the menu. We’re about discovery. Or something. I was too distracted by the burgers.

Ads API Tools In The Facebook ecosystem

  • Ads (paid)
  • Pages (owned)*
  • Platform (owned)*

[* only YOU DON”T ACTUALLY OWN THEM! So don’t put all your eggs in Facebook. You need a Web site, too! There. Fine. I’m done.]

We talk about Pages a lot. Often we call them Brand Pages. When we talk about ads we mean the ones we bid on. Platform can be anything to include Zynga games or custom tabs on a page.

John says that fans are more valuable when they impact their friends. That’s the best way to use them. [That thing you feel? That’s your soul leaving your body.]  Facebook has 500k fans, but there are 60m when you think of friends of fan combos. That’s how you want to look at people…like numbers connected to other numbers.

He shows a real world screen cap of a receipt he got after getting a deal for skiing at Park City.  Once he completed the transaction a box popped up allowing him to share the action. Obviously, he did and a portion of his friends were able to see it.

Ticketmaster has a Like button on the home page, which is the easiest way to involve Facebook.   They also have an RSVP Facebook widget to let people say if they’re attending a particular concert. They’re not developing things that are groundbreaking in respect to the particular action. What they’re doing is making it more efficient via Facebook.  His friends will see it and also take the same deal he shared.

He shares some example integration stories:

ShoeDazzle: You sign up for the ability to buy a pair of shoes on a discount.  Facebook integration allows you to share out your deals or fashions that they purchased.  They’re allowing that to happen on a more efficient basis.

Chegg: Does relatively the same thing for textbooks. Not quite as sexy.

Remember: We are not the menu, but the discovery channel. We are leveraging the value of not only the fans, but the friends of fans. The optimization is not just on the bidding and the pricing of the paid ads, but the shares themselves – the language, the offer, etc.

Next up is Greg Finn.

He’s going to deliver The Donald Trump Guide to Making Your Page “A Winner”.

Why does it matter? The average user is connected to 80 community pages, groups and events. People are using it for more than just communicating with others. There are signals going out; Bing is pulling Facebook data into the SERPs.

When we talk about getting likes, we want to focus on quality. It’s about who these people are, not just collecting numbers. The most important thing about your fans it that they are targeted. There is no magic bullet – work is required.   Ignore people who are saying they can “sell” you Facebook likes. Buying people to like your page can often hurt you. Yeah. I’m not even going to mention the fact that we’re now talking about BUYING PEOPLE.  The world is doomed. All of us.

Greg shows how the site This or That integrates Facebook through their site in a number of different ways, which is pretty cool.

Targeting off-page fans

  • The “Find Us On Facebook” signs. Greg hates them. You’re making it challenging for people. Even with the upgraded Facebook search, you want to make it easy for people.
  • Walmart puts their Facebook URL right on their receipts. That’s easier for people to deal with.
  • You can also use QR codes. 28 percent of smart phone users have scanned a code.  Scan the code and be taken directly to a Facebook page where you can like it or check in directly from there.
  • Inform people about mobile shortcuts.
  • Create sign with texting instructions.  For example, if you text [like daggle] to 32665, it will allow you to automatically like Danny Sullivan’s page. You don’t have to log in or do anything.

Facebook Places: Merge your place with your page.  People that liked your place will now like your page.  You can also use deals.

Create Fan Only Info

If you’re going to be thinking, you may as well think big. This is one of the biggest thing you can do to boost your likes on Facebook.  Create a specialty tab on your page for people who like your page. You need to offer value by offering deals, promotions, etc.

What to do?

Current method – uses FBML tag visible to connection. However, that’s ending March 11 so forget that ever existed.

Create “Fan Only” Info – Using PHP and JavaScript SDK, Use the “sign_request” parameter.  It’s a mess if you don’t have any programming skills.


  • Really for fans only.
  • No hidden code that is already on page.
  • More options


You need some programming skills.

Promoting Fan Only Content

Anyone can include these exclusive things but you need to promote it. You can’t promote it enough. You can promote fan-only content on Facebook. A traditional Facebook ad will show title, some text and an image. You can like it right from the ad so people don’t have to click through. You can also send people directly to a certain tab.  Look for conversion rates of 5-15 percent.

Promote Fan Only Content OFF Facebook

  • Use email blasts – if you have a dedicated email customer base, he’s seen great success this way.
  • Send users to the custom tab. Don’t even put links to the regular domain name.
  • Look for Conversion Rates of 2.5 to 6 percent

Promote Fan Only Tabs

  • StumbleUpon ads; Great site because there are so many different subjects. It’s only a nickel a visit. Find something that is a match for what your page is about. Look at conversion rates (likes) of 1-2.5 percent.
  • Twitter ad system
  • Use deal sites to promote

Next up is Ty Downing.

Different Types of Pages

  1. Personal profiles
  2. Places Page
  3. Business Page

You are not Lil Wayne. He stole Oreo’s World Record for most Likes in 24 hours. What are your tools to build fans and get buzz?

  • Contests
  • Email capture
  • Polls
  • Twitter feed
  • RSS
  • Image Hosting
  • Photo Contests
  • Coupons
  • Share Messages
  • Lead MGR

Like-Gating: The act of encouraging a visitor to land on your default tab to like your page before they get to see what’s behind it.  They’ve seen just implementing that technique increases likes between 50-90 percent.

Some of the leaders in Facebook Tools

  • Epicenter [his company’s tool]
  • Buddy Media
  • Vitrue
  • Webtrends
  • Involver
  • Pagemodo

Case Study

Bald Head Island: Luxury vacation resort off the coast of North Carolina.  Requires some graphic design people to create a compelling first step Like image.  Step 2 is another call to action to actually enter. Step 3 you create another image and the tool (Epicenter) generates the Facebook rules and all the hoops they need to step for. You have opportunity through the tool to add/remove fields. You don’t want to put too many  hoops.  The other thing they did was to create a Facebook ad. In addition to having the tool to help get your Facebook page viral, please consider doing some Faecbook advertising. For a small amount of funds you can push your content to even more viral grounds. They set up a number of different ads with A/B testing.

Results: Before content & Like-Gating, they say 6 likes a day. DURING the content & Like-Gating they had 110 likes a day. 1733 percent increase in likes a day and 220 leads per day. Not too shabby.

Results per lead: Cost per “like” $.40.

Papa Johns: 6 local locations in South Carolina.  Step 1 is a call to action with a compelling image. Get them to click the Like button and move on. Step 2 – give them more detail and make them click to enter. Step 3 – they enter their information to win the content and get free pizza. Step 4 – Facebook ads.

Results: Before contest – 5 likes a day. AFTER 34 Likes a day. 580 percent increase in Likes per day. 90 leads.

When you post can impact your viral buzz. You need to fish where the fish are so you don’t get empty net syndrome. When are Facebook users most active? Biggest usage spikes tend to occur on weekdays at 11:00am-3:oopm and 8:00pm ET. Biggest spike on weekdays comes on Wednesdays.

65 percent of Facebook users only access the site when they’re not at work or school — typically early morning or evening.

When are Facebok users most active? You have to test, test, test. It’s going to be different for every industry. Test with different ads, benchmark and see what’s most appropriate

Final Tips

  • Find a Facebook Marketing suite
  • Make sure it has Like-Fating capabilities, contest, sweepstakes, shares & lead capture
  • Launch targeted Facebook ads
  • track and measure daily
  • Engage at the right time of day

And we are done for day 2.   I’m gonna go grab a drink. I’ll see you nice people tomorrow to finish things off!


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