One of the biggest lies of social media is that if a ‘business’ builds a Facebook fan page, the fans will inevitably follow – in droves. Unless you are one of the BIG GUYS (or, my personal favorite – Boo the Dog), this just won’t happen.
Smart businesses give people really good reasons – or ‘incentives’ – to LIKE their pages. A retail chain offers frequent discount coupons through Facebook. A search marketing consultant gives away a PDF with the secrets to Google ranking success. A grocery store runs a contest for a $300 giveaway in-store. A musician provides exclusive clips of new songs to Facebook fans first. These are things any brand MUST do to grow – but your fan page won’t achieve exponential growth without advertising.
Combining “Like Incentives” with advertising campaigns is a great formula for acquiring huge numbers of fans (according to Brian Carter of The Like Economy, it can convert up to 80% of visitors into fans), but only if things are planned and executed wisely.
Over the next few months, I will examine the Like Incentive ad strategy from start to finish, with this first post providing tips for setting up your Like Incentive campaign – namely, clear goals and objectives; setting the right tone and backing it up with a long-term campaign plan; and aligning your landing page with your campaign goals.
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1. Set clear goals up front – and plan entire ad strategy accordingly
First, it is important to ask yourself, “What is our ultimate objective?”
Perhaps you want to build your fan base, grow your email list, generate sales, etc. Let’s say you decide you want to generate as many LIKES as possible. This decision must dictate all future actions of resulting campaigns – from conceptualization to landing page. In the end, every step of the ad strategy should be aligned with this overall goal.
Sephora is a well-documented success story for building a fan base with Like Incentive ads. As you can see, the below ad explicitly states the benefit someone will receive by clicking LIKE (15% off exclusively for Facebook fans). The ad directs the customer to a custom landing page – in this case, a “Like Gate.” All the customer has to do is click LIKE to unlock the exclusive offers on the “Reveal Page.” Pretty straightforward – great alignment from start to finish!
It is important to note that Sephora did not ask for anything else at this stage besides the LIKE. The goal was to bring in new fans – NOT to collect emails, at this point.
Many companies run into trouble when they ask for too much up front from potential fans. They push the limit – asking for the LIKE… and THEN the email, both before providing the value. You may think the value customers will receive exceeds the “lesser” expense of making them take an EXTRA step in the redemption process. However, I argue that it is better NOT to risk alienating the customer altogether. If you want the LIKE, then don’t try to get the email. Ultimately, you cannot maximize campaign successes if you have conflicting strategic goals.
2. Set the right tone with your ad and make a plan to back it up
Before launching a Like Incentive campaign designed to grow your fan base, it is important to consider the effect of your ad(s) – and the actual offering – on customer expectations moving forward.
For instance, let’s say you’re a donut shop striving to entice new fans. You’re offering a dozen free donuts (ok, so this is my own little dream world now!) as an incentive for LIKING the page.
If you were planning on making this a one-time deal, think again! If this type of incentive is what drew new fans in, now they likely have high expectations that you will continue to run such offers in the future. NOT doing so will only get customers’ hopes up and is a sure-fire way to turn off your new “fans.”
However, if your company does plan on running consistent offers, you should set up and build your Like Incentive campaigns into a promotional calendar for efficient organization and communication. This way, any future events or offers could be scheduled – and your advertising efforts will be dictated by this pre-launch set-up.
Again, Sephora offers a FanFridays page that highlights exclusive deals every TGIF. If you wanted to do something similar, you could schedule your offers and build your ad campaigns to drive new fan growth every week, etc. (You could even promote the offer to existing fans for less money! But that’s another strategy for another post).
3. Ensure ad landing page is aligned with campaign goal
If your company seeks to increase LIKES through incentive ads, the landing page should be constructed with that goal in mind. For example, the Sephora example above set up a Like Gate that, once clicked, opened up a Reveal Page with the exclusive discounts the original ad promised. Super!
Reveal pages like this are great ways to spur people to LIKE your page. The greater the incentive offered, the greater the chances of “conversion” to LIKE. According to allfacebook.com, “By implementing the reveal tab, you’ve effectively cut your cost of Facebook advertising in half.”
However, a Like Gate and Reveal landing pages must be properly executed. Again, this tip is very closely tied to the importance of goal-setting mentioned in tip #1, above.
Let’s say a local restaurant chain ran a LIKE incentive AD, taking people to a Like Gate. The promise is that the person will receive a free coupon for an appetizer IF s/he LIKES the page….
However, what customers encountered next was an email form, requiring a full name and email address – NOT the promised free appetizer coupon….
If the ad itself promised a deal after a LIKE, no one will be really happy. The customer has to take an extra “required” step to receive what s/he was promised after the initial LIKE. Here, the restaurant is trying to do too much on the back end, which does not optimally support its goals (getting good likes) on the front end (i.e. consider customer unlikes or future disengagement).
A better option in this format would have been to “reveal” a printable coupon (or link to coupon), after the LIKE.
If the restaurant’s goal is really to collect email addresses, this will alter the entire campaign strategy. (In my next blog, I will compare how to design actual incentive ads with your unique goals in mind – and highlight the mistakes to avoid!)
In sum, defining objectives up front, setting the right tone throughout the campaign series, and aligning implementation with strategy from start to finish are all crucial steps to setting up an effective Like Incentive Ad strategy.
Stay tuned to learn how to build your Like Incentive campaigns (Part 2) and how to quantify and measure your successes (Part 3). Thanks! Leave comments!
– Julie Stern Wills, Maximize Social Media