Are Like Gated Contests the Secret Sauce for more Facebook Likes?


Do you want more Likes on Facebook? That’s easy give your Facebook page a steroid. Do not worry neither Congress nor MLB Commissioner Bud Selig will come after you.

This post has nothing to do with conversion to your website or email, funneling people to your Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest or Google+ accounts. It also has nothing to do with Facebook Interactions or people “Talking about this”. If this was a post for that I would highlight Facebook interaction genius Michael Berger (@MichaelSBerger).

This is a post about getting more Likes on Facebook, then you can do whatever you want with them. I believe there are four main ways to get more Likes.

  • Pay
  • Content and Time
  • Ask/Beg
  • Like Gated contests

PAY – if you don’t have enough friends of the friends you want, just buy them!

  • You can advertise on Facebook itself
  • Hire a company to get them for you

Content and Time – dedicated people will reap huge rewards with this approach

  • You can create sticky, informational content that is posted at exactly the right time and do it day in and day out, with constant attention and dedication. Here is a good read for the people truly dedicated from Mashable

Ask/Beg – let’s face it we have all done it – don’t be ashamed. BUT it will only take you so far

  • This strategy was best described in a comic done by, who else The Oatmeal It is, of course, brilliant!

Like Gated Contests – these work like a charm IF you make the prizing specific to your current audience and the new “Likers” you are hoping to attract. If you haven’t done one of these yet you should. Either find yourself a tremendous developer and start from scratch or work with one of the many 3rd party vendors and buy the program. I have worked directly with: Wildfire & Second Street but have looked at and been approached by many others. It all depends on budget, need, style, etc

  • Of course Hubspot did a great post about this over a year and a half ago, it gives good info and examples
  • And then they did another one last November, which they topped themselves!
  • I am not very familiar with Social Fresh but I thought this was also a strong post
  • Lastly I’ll feature this post of like gating written by Jamie Jacobsen on Spyder Trap

A Few Other KEY things to Consider:

  • Make sure to make the contest also open to your current “Likers” you will get some nice extra loyalty and benefits from them
  • Make the design clean and the entry simply
  • AGAIN – make the prize something “most” people will like, but especially the ones you want to attract the most: cash is king, but new tech gadgets are great and it’s hard to lose with some type of mass appeal money can’t buy experience /experiential
  • Don’t let it become visual wall paper – 2-4 weeks to me is enough time to run a like gated contest with the sweet spot in the 2-3 week range
  • Make it part of a bigger integrated program if you can – support it with media, digital, etc
  • Make sure you have a “share” option as part of your contest where people can more entries by having their friends join
  • Be careful in regards to mobile. These programs most likely will not be seen if people are looking at your Facebook page on the app using their smart phones or tablet

If you would like more info on this topic feel free to leave me a comment here or tweet me @BillAlfano

A Social Media Event for REAL people – Boston


Looking at Mashable today there is a post about Mashable’s New Event Board it got me thinking, I want to organize a Social Media event in Boston.  But I want to have one for and with REAL people who in their jobs and personal life have found some affection and need for social media at a higher level. “Who’s with me?”

There are a ton of great Social Media meet-ups, rendezvous, assemblies, meetings in Boston and around the world and our meeting won’t replace those.  What it will replace are the BS hideaway, pay $400 and listen to some douche who hasn’t worked in  5 years tell you that you are using Twitter wrong because every once in a while between your budget reports, sales pitches, brainstorm meetings, etc your tweets are 127 characters long not the recommended 120 characters for ideal re-tweeting.  I want real people, with real life social media experience who want to simply know more and help others.  It’s like the Renaissance man!

Name It And They Will Come

As someone who works in media, we all know the most important part of any project is, the name (yes I am being sarcastic but we all know the name is cool).  No need to worry about the date, location, flow, attendance, budget, guests, etc.  If you have a great NAME it will obviously be a success.

  • A Social Media Affair to Remember
  • SM Conclave – Boston 2012
  • Social Sessions in Boston
  • New Media Marketing Tryst
  • The Meeting 2012
  • Real People Social Media Rally
FYI – I am leaning towards: SM Conclave – Boston 2012 OR The Meeting 2012
What do you think either?  Do you have a better name?

The Reason

The reason is simple everyone in – marketing, media, advertising, brand management, design, promotions uses and has some real world knowledge of social media.  We need to all get in one place and talk about it. With sessions like:

  • WTF is SEO and how do I use it?
  • Why do I care that Facebook switched to Timeline?
  • Pinterest?
  • I love what Twitter does for my company or do I?
  • Blog writing and stopping and writing more….
  • Why does my SPAM filter let spam in but send emails I need to the SPAM folder
  • Is code cool?
  • Mobile Marketing – what’s in your pocket
  • Database vs. Opens
  • Email Marketing, yeah I got your email address

But I am looking for more suggestions!


Wanna be one?  Great leave me a comment and tell me the name of your session

When and where?

Not sure. But I am thinking some Friday afternoon in the summer and YES it will be in Boston and will be followed with a cocktail reception.

No joke

This is not a joke, I want to do this, if you are interested leave me a comment, if you have suggestions leave me a comment, if it sounds interesting or fun, it should, please SHARE it with like-minded people/friends!  Let’s make this happen!!!

I believe everything I read on yelp!


I use yelp for everything and believe every review on there.

I have changed, with so many bloggers, critics, reviewers and of course experts out there I can’t even walk into a coffee shop or restaurant without pulling up the yelp app and looking the place up.

So what does this means, have we changed from an entrepreneurial society to a society of followers? Are we doomed?

Take a Chance

There was a time in my life where I liked to live on edge and just walk into a place in a random town and order the special and let the chips fall where they may, as long as it didn’t have nuts (allergy) or onions (hated nemesis).  Then with smart phones and apps Urban Spoon came in and with a “shake” of the phone you were being sent to”Tony’s House of Lamb and Poetry” and you went without hesitation.  Hell, the wheels spun that’s the place it landed on, so you went. It met some criteria of location, price and maybe cuisine.  The problem was every 3rd time you spun the wheel the same place would keep coming up, plus you wanted more.  The sense of adventure wasn’t enough you felt like you were missing something, and maybe that “something” was spectacular.

Who Is Jenny From Medford?

yelp on the other hand is just awesome.  I would review yelp on yelp and give it 5 stars.  I mean some spinning wheels may have sent me to a random Italian restaurant in Medford, but yelp tells me that Jenny ate there with some of her friends, before they went out to the club, and ate the chicken parm, “it was awesome” and she even was able to take some home which turned out to be a perfect late night treat when the bars closed and she was faded.  She also said that her server Michelle was very knowledgeable because when she asked her about which wine would go best with her dinner, “she didn’t just answer red, she said Chianti, and it was even from Italy”.

So seriously why do I care or trust what other people say?  I am not sure, but I do, I use yelp for restaurants, hardware stores, butchers, etc. I guess I just need that verification that I am making a good decision.  So sad… what happened to me?

More on Yelp

New York Times snapshot

yelp on yelp

Harvard Business School

Mashable did a story about fake reviews on yelp

Klout – Does The Score Matter?


I have come to an epiphany none of us have really grown up and the reason Social Media has exploded, is simply because we as adults, still keep score!

I would love to tell you that I was inspired to write this blog, because I had the same reaction to the Sox home opener yesterday as I did the first time I watched “Field of Dreams“.  Memories of childhood and family in my head, Americana and all the blue sky BS that still to this day overwhelms me when I watch that movie.  But no, that wasn’t it at all.  This revelation hit me as I was introduced to Klout last week and have been going back 10 times a day to check my score even though it only updates once per day.

About once a week I get together with Greg Hill, radio show morning  host on WAAF here in Boston, community leader and a twitter beast!  When we get together we start talking about twitter followers, new things I have read or found out about and cutting edge stuff and simple practicalities in the world of social media and communication that Greg has discovered. @GregHillWAAF has over 14,300 twitter followers and I, @BillAlfano just crossed the 535 mark.  I am ok and rationalize it because Greg is a celebrity, he tweets back and forth with celebs, icons and news makers. I am a marketing guy that tries to disseminate as much useful social media info as I can both manually and with the help of my best friend Buffer.  Then we started looking at Klout.  Klout keeps social media score on a fairly even playing field.

No Trophies For Everyone

My generation keeps score, I firmly DO NOT believe every child should receive a trophy.  There are winners and losers and the lessons that come with that simple truth are the most important lessons in life you will ever learn.  We are creating a generation of entitled, lazy, no work ethic kids, that will get destroyed in the real world because they are not motivated or working towards the win.  Yes, I am sure I sound barbaric with these thought.  But let’s be serious, when is the last time you succeeded by not caring about the result?  By winning and losing you know what you need to work on, what you need to practice and what things are simply out of your reach.  YES, spoiler alert everything is not achievable by everyone. But no matter what we keep score!

Social Media Scoring So Far

This is an easy one.  For me it started by how many friends I had on MySpace compared to the people around me.  Friends on Facebook another lunch table conversation.  How many people am I LinkedIn to, how many people follow my blog, how many people I both follow and follow me on Twitter, how many people’s circles I am in on Google+, then there is all the other terminology with Instagram, Foursquare, etc, etc.  But tell me how many times have one of the social media topics been discussed without someone saying “oh Twitter how many followers do you have”, or when you start to follow someone new after you creep their pictures don’t you look at how many friends they have?

My Klout Revelation

I am still not sure really what Klout does, how long it has been around or why that damn score seems to be the most important thing I look at every morning before I have a cup of coffee.  I can tell you this, the day I signed up, my initial Klout score was a 38.  Not only does Klout give you a number but also a social class – I was listed as a socializer. There are dabblers, socializers, networkers, specialists, pundits, etc.  So I started looking at other people, their scores seemed to range from 30 to 80.  Most of the people or in Klout terms “influencers” that I saw myself most like were in the 45-60 range.  So I immediately set a goal that I wanted to get a score of 50 within a month.  Went home that night connected all my accounts, woke up the next day and had a score of 53 and I was a “Specialist” – YAY for me!  This is where I wanted to be!  But wait that seemed too easy, now I want to get over 60, but I don’t know how to do it or why it matters to me AND most importantly what it will do for me.

So, What Is Klout?

  • Klout has been around since 2008 and is all about “Influence”
  • According to Klout’s website “Klout measures influence online using data from your social networks. Anywhere you have an online presence, you have the opportunity to influence people by creating or sharing content that inspires actions such as likes, retweets, comments and more. The more engagement your posts receive, the more influential you are. Klout uses this information to provide you a Klout Score that measures your overall influence.”
  • Klout score, also from Klout “We measure your influence based on your ability to drive action in social networks. We process this data on a daily basis to give you an updated Klout Score each morning.”

Does My Klout Score Matter and How Do I Increase the Score?

Here is some good reading, some like it, some don’t.  Either way you should check it out and check your score!

Ok, “on the real” you shouldn’t join Klout JUST to increase your score and pulverize your friends, but it is very interesting that an algorithm was put into place to see your influence on social media.  What’s your score?

Make your results match your hype!


“Under promise and over deliver”.  Tom Peters said this was the formula for success.

I have heard that statement a million times in a million meetings.  For that matter I have even said it myself, to my staff, to my superiors and in job interviews.  It is one of the most familiar and spoken rules in business.  If everyone knows it and says it, why is it so rare that it actually happens?

Three Little Points

This post is a simple one, with three easy to follow instructions:

  • Make sure you, your product or your service can deliver exactly what you say it can, if not more
  • Make sure your deliver on or earlier then the deadline that you agreed to
  • Don’t make excuses, take responsibility and do what you said you were going to do

If, in every; agreement, statement and communication you adhere to those three points, you will be a huge success.  It doesn’t matter if we are discussing social media, personal relationships or brand marketing.  The TRUTH is out there and it will set you free.

Closing Time

The best example of over promising and under delivering, comes from back in the day.  My buddy Greg, author of the Bad Blog Job, and I would DJ Sunday nights at the Pig’s Eye Pub in Hartford, CT.  We would spend an inordinate amount of time picking out music, always trying to find a song or two for the night that would hit people over the head and get them fired up.  One night we decided to kick the night off with one of these songs to get everybody in a playful mood early, we had the perfect song!  We got on the mic and hyped it up, people were ready to be awed with our musical prowess and knowledge. BUT we somehow cued up the wrong song and Semisonic’s “Closing Time” blared out the speakers and crushed the spirit of everyone in the room.  Not because it’s a bad song, it’s just not a song you start the night off with.  We never won back that crowd on that night but it did painfully teach me two really important lessons.

  • Be careful, if you are a good marketer and you have created expectations about your skills people will be disappointed when you don’t deliver
  • Semisonic’s “Closing Time” – delivers EXACTLY what it promises to deliver, by its name – a fantastic song for the end of the night

Everyone is an optimist

Remember everyone is an optimist and everyone wants to be sold.  Just keep in mind the selling is the easy part, the delivering is the real challenge!

“So gather up your jackets, and move it to the exits I hope you have found a Friend.”

When clients aren’t right.


Are you brave enough to tell a client or perspective client that they are wrong, their plan won’t work or even “no”!

I have been overcome with a sense of right and wrong.  We have entered the “era of the close” and forgot about results and success.  In traditional marketing and now in new media marketing there is a line in the sand drawn between those who deliver what the client and/or the public say they want and those who dare to disagree and deliver what will over deliver results.  Ideas and campaigns that the client and the public have no idea they want or perhaps are even scared of.

Mad Men / Art & Copy

I was late to “Don Draper” and Mad Men and somewhat regret it, an era when creative ruled and when ad men (and women) were brave enough to make sure the best campaign was put into motion even at the short-term risk of losing the client. What I do fully regret is how late I am to “Art & Copy“.  If you haven’t watched, stop reading and do it right now!

The Close vs. The Win

It is not a shame and completely understandable when after all the cold calls, networking, emails and dinners when that prospective client looks at you and says “I am going to spend “x” with you, we need a Facebook campaign to get more people to like us, we want a mobile app and of course some display ads” you say YES and thank you. When in your heart and brain you know they need a SEO strategy, email segmentation, and inbound marketing strategy. But who did you sell short? Actually both yourself and the client.  But you closed the deal and can go back to your boss and tell them you closed a deal that won’t work and has no chance of renewal because it won’t hit the client goals, you make you, your company and the industry look bad. So instead of building a campaign that would keep this client loyal, trusting and spending with you for the long-term, you gave in, gave them what they think they wanted and took the quick hit.

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs once said “It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” Same thing with clients.  Many times, they are like focus groups and think they know what they want and what will work. It’s not their fault they only know what they know, it’s our job to blow that out of the water and deliver something so unique that it will not only surpass their goals but will change the game and keep them one step ahead of their competitors.

Names to Know

If you study advertising there are a list of names that you need to know: George Lois, Lee Clow, Hal Riney, Dan Wieden, Mary Wells and many others. Other than an amazing list of client like Nike, Esquire, MTV, American Airlines, Apple, Ronald Regan, Saturn, Alka Seltzer and the list goes on, these mavericks all had the bravado to push through what they knew would work.  They care(d) more about the results and the future than they did about the close.

George Lois ““Creativity can solve almost any problem. The creative act, the defeat of habit by originality overcomes everything.” / “Only with absolute fearlessness can we slay the dragons of mediocrity that invade our gardens.”

Hal Riney “I would rather deal with a tyrant any day than a committee. Committees, as a general rule, aren’t willing to take chances, which is why you have a committee in the first place — so you can share the blame.”

Mary Wells (Lawrence) “In this business, you can never wash the dinner dishes and say they are done. You have to keep doing them constantly.”

Sales People vs “Creatives”

A constant battle that doesn’t need to exist.  Sales people need to put money on the books and they can’t do it without brand people, solution providers and the “creatives”. Brand people, whether it’s designers, developers, copy-writers, art directors and marketing people must have the intestinal fortitude to push back, but you have better done your homework.  You better have read about the client, their challenges, their competitors, their success and failures. You better be so immersed in solution that it overcomes you, and when you make that stand and look that sales person in the eye to tell them “that isn’t what we are going to sell them even if it what they asked for”, it’s more than just lazy arrogance or your gut backing that up. But once you do it, and it works I mean really works – you may never have to justify a suggestion again.

Many Time Clients Are Right!

This is important to know.  I am not trying to say that you should think everything a clients asks won’t work.  Many times it will. Many times they truly understand the pulse of what makes their brand tick. There is no reason to challenge an idea just because it came from the client.  Never get int he habit of thinking if it didn’t come from you it can’t be good or right. I am saying stand up for what is right when the client really needs help, your creativity, your knowledge and your backbone.

If “greed is good” so is intelligent confidence

Knowing what clients to accept, knowing what campaigns to run, and having the courage to trust your convictions is the difference between greatness and mediocrity.

Pinterest – If you PIN it they will come!



Pinterest has taken over the world.  Let’s just start with that.

This will be my most successful and most read blog ever!  It is true, any post, article or tweet with the word Pinterest in it, gets far more clicks than boring stuff like Facebook, ROI, email conversion or PPC.  It is the cash cow for clicks and TSP, time spent pinning has become king.

TSP (time spent pinning)

I read that Americans spend 8.4 million hours watching NCAA March Madness basketball games.  I am going to go out on a limb and say that is merely a fraction of time compared to what women in this country spend on pinning!


Women, did I say ONLY women use Pinterest.  I didn’t say that, and I am sure there are guys who use it, but we don’t get the same exhilaration or excitement from it. Do I have a Pinterest profile? Sure, but I have no idea why or what to do with it, here it is check it out: I am sure it is awful.  According to Mashable of all the unique users on Pinterest 82% of them are women.  Hell, guys have Fantasy Football, March Madness Brackets, Hooters and women have Pinterest.  Fair enough.

How to use Pinterest

  • Pinterest itself says it’s a virtual pinbpoard and gives all kinds of idea of how to use it; redecorate your home, plan a wedding, find your style, find your inspiration, save your recipes
  • Squidoo says – It’s a visual collection of the things you love and gives 13 reasons to love it
  • For beginners by Mashable or for Brands
  • Even how to make money with Pinterest

The Real Reason

The reason people, or shall I say women are obsessed with Pinterest can be summed up with a simple Tweet that my wife sent, in response to an article I tweeted out called “Why is Pinterest So Addictive?”  Her response @emilysstarr “good question w/ simple answer: I need and love visuals! did u know :-)”.  Did I know?  hmmm I guess I did and didn’t all at the same time.

The Addiction

If you dare look at the Pinterest Profile of a true Pinning Addict simply look at Emily’s , men will cower and women will rejoice.