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


Yes, there is a thing as “too many Facebook posts”

over tan


Too many posts drive away Facebook Fans.  That could really be the end of this post.  But what is too many? What if it is great content? What if there are various contributors? NOPE too many posts drive away Facebook Fans just like too much sun is bad for you. Too much is really too much.

Don’t Just Tell Me Show Me

I found a gem of a post from Marketing Charts entitled “Overposting Drives Away Facebook Fans” where it cites overposting as the number one reason people will “unlike” your page.

Constant Contact even did a video, basically a social media video PSA called “Don’t Overdo It” and followed it up with a blog post.

The NY Times took it one step further and said it’s not too many posts it’s too many negative or political posts that will cause people to un-friend you in an article called “Losing Friends on Facebook

But Wait

Entrepreneur says “And while unsubscribe rates go up after three posts per day, they level off at higher frequencies” this appeared in “Facebook Posting Techniques that Really Work

My take on this is very simple, if you have something to say and it’s engaging, go for it, click the “Post” button!  But you need to know there is a “too many” and “too much”, so watch your numbers and keep track to see if amount of posts per day have an impact on the amount of fans/followers you gain as opposed to lose.  Happy posting!

Birthday Etiquette on Social Media ( #HappyBirthday )

We have all been there, it’s someone’s birthday.  Can you simply text them? Tweet them?  Can you just post on their Facebook wall?  What is acceptable and what is rude.  Then when it’s your birthday do you need to respond to every post, text and tweet individually or does a blanket “Thank You” on Facebook cover it?

How to wish someone Happy Birthday on Social Media

How to Thank people for Birthday wishes on Social Media

The Best 

  • Then there is simply the best post I have seen on this subject.  Thank you to Josh Wolford (@joshgwolf) at WebProNews for this gem: Happy Birthday To Me (On Facebook) this is exactly what I am talking about.  What to do, what not to do and what’s lame!

I hope you read up so in 240 days when it is my birthday you will know what to do, what to say and how to do it!

-ps – Happy Birthday Karen!

Weathermen, accountability and analytics

Cars are backed up, stores are packed and all people are talking about is snow.  Well at least here in Boston, today.  Boston, a city which on average has 22 days of snow each and every year still gets thrown for a loop every time it snows.

No Need to be Accurate

It is no secret that people take shots at weathermen all the time for getting the forecast wrong.  No one takes into account all the variables in predicting the weather.  I am not sticking up for weathermen, I wish I had a job where I can be right, for what feels like only 50% of the time, but if someone on the says it’s going to start raining at 7a and it doesn’t start till 8a, it really hard to fault them. I am talking about days like today where the local weather literally said “over the next 48 hours Boston will get somewhere between a dusting and a foot”.  I mean seriously?  Thanks.

But then it hit me.  Accuracy, accountability – weathermen aren’t really held to those two words, but those are the things that people love and FEAR in regards to social media and digital all together. Your analytics are there in plain sight, people can see your work and the results. No longer can you over-promise but under-deliver.  When a campaign is over the numbers are there and numbers don’t lie. In some regard it takes the  back-end emotion and salesmanship out of the equation.

So unlike weathermen if we work on social media/digital campaigns we can’t forecast with a low percentages of being right.

Key Metrics

Trying to figure out what the key metrics in regards to social media isn’t as easy as it seems.  So I spoke with “the specialist”: Al Beuscher, Web Guy.   We went back and forth and came up with this hit list:

  • likes
  • followers
  • referral traffic /click-throughs
  • comment activity
  • inbound traffic
  • rise in traffic (3 months before the campaign compared to 3 months after)

Tools to measure analytics

Then you need to know where to all those beautiful numbers; charts, data, graphs, etc, are to be found and how to get them.

There are many other metrics and many other tools to analyze them, yet this is a good start.  If you can develop plans and goals based on patterns and facts you will succeed.




Facebook: Better with Tom Brady or BP at Fenway Park

There are some discussions I get into at work where I realize how great the GREAT parts of my job actually are.  Today’s clambake was: what will get more people to Like us on Facebook, a Tom Brady autographed football OR a chance to take batting practice at Fenway Park.

We are somewhat taking a “just bring the people to the party” approach in regards to growing our Facebook Likes.  We work really hard at both keeping them there as well as creating true engagement through interactions and best practices. We are working with a vendor named Second Street who amongst many other things has a turn-key like-gated product, that you can drop onto Facebook.

I read a good blog by “The Management” called Facebook Likes: Quantity vs. Quality where the writer says “If you run a campaign to generate Likes, make sure you have a plan to engage them afterwards.” That is what it is all about.  So many social media snobs look down upon tactics which “just” grow your Facebook Likes. Why? Yes if you do nothing with them once they come that is a shame, but who does that?  So if you are one of those people, like me, who sometimes has to focus on “just” increasing your Facebook Likes, don’t be ashamed, just make sure you have a plan afterwards to engage them.  If you would like some tips on how to do this, or just want a refresher check out the posting by Mashable called: How To Improve Engagement on Your Brand’s Facebook Page created from a report from Buddy Media.

In only a week we have already increased our Likes by over 3% while keeping our interaction level over 16%! Yet, I still don’t know what is a better incentive the autographed Brady football or batting practice at Fenway.

Reality TV and Social Media

Remember when reality tv was the Real World and Social Media was passing out valentine’s in your 3rd grade classroom? Well things have changed, ok they have blown up! Reality TV has everything and there is a social media site for everyone. So how do they match up to each other?

Top 10 Extreme Reality TV Shows ans their Social Media Counterpart:

  1. Finding Bigfoot (Animal Planet) = LinkedIn, we want it to be amazing, we want it to create leads and ROI and help us find jobs, just like we want Bobo to find a Bigfoot in the backwoods but all we get are some wood knocks and let down
  2. Jersey Shore (MTV) = Facebook, we all know it was WAY better before everyone else found out about it but because it is such a beautiful mess we still spend an inordinate amount of time on the site, posting, liking, sharing and of course fist-pumping
  3. Hillbilly Handfishin’ (Animal Planet) =Foursquare, when you check in you feel good as well as involved but you have no idea why you did, just like the blank smile you have on your face when you watch the tv show, but seriously you are watching a show about people catching fish by putting their hands in that fish’s mouth
  4. Hoarders (A&E) = MySpace, we are appalled by it and by people who still use it – just let it go, do you really need 93 cats? Do you really need your MySpace page? BUT it is still getting numbers so what am I missing?
  5. Real Housewives (Bravo) =flickr, who cares – fun to look at sometimes but absolutely no purpose, it is time you will never get back
  6. Top Chef (Bravo) = Google+ has a ton of hype and marketing around it but when people want to watch cooking shows they go to the Food Network and watch one of the many proven shows there, kind of the way people usually go to Facebook
  7. Swamp People (History Channel) = Klout, what can I say Klout is a site that judges analytics and influencers, we all know the only reason to watch Swamp people is to judge yourself against the “swamp” people and make yourself feel better
  8. Keeping Up with the Kardashians (E!) = Twitter, where did it come from, how did it get so big and what do we really learn in 140 characters
  9. Say Yes To The Dress (TLC) = Instagram, just like the TV show does with brides to be, Instagram can take average or even ugly pics and with a tuck here and a click there those pictures look amazing and you want to show all your friends
  10. The Rachel Zoe Project (Bravo) = Pinterest, only women get it and they get it in a huge way – Pinterest is the break away hit of 2012 that people, or should I say women are still only finding out about

Notorious B.I.G. the original king of social media

Notorious BIG



We have seen blog after clever blog where people take a classic book about marketing, war or whatever and apply it to the trends of the day.  Ries and Trout’s 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing and Sun Tzu’s Art of War both classics both made to fit whatever the popular marketing movement of the day is.  Even the master Seth Godin’s folio Purple Cow has been taken from the pre ’08 pasture and has been translated for today.

It seems to me that everyone has forgotten one marketing genius whose manifest can teach us all we want to know about social media, analytics, roi and product life cycle.  Christopher Wallace better known as The Notorious B.I.G. dropped the masterpiece; Ten Crack Commandments in 1997. Years before Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, WordPress, Pinterest and the rest but if we study these 10 Commandments it tells us everything we need to know.

Rule nombre uno: “never let no one know, how much, dough you hold, cause you know, The cheddar breed jealousy…” this translation is easy, we have all seen it with start-ups, there is all kinds of love and respect until you make money – once you start making money the fake friends, the lawsuits, what was once considered genius is now a sell-out

Number two: “never let em know your next move Don’t you know Bad Boys move in silence or violence Take it from your highness
I done squeezed mad clips at these cats for they bricks and chips” I believe Steve Jobs heard this verse and took it to heart, proprietary also means don’t tell anyone. I bet the Winklevoss twins wished they listened to a little less Weezer and a little more Biggie

Number three: “never trust no-bo-dy Your moms’ll set that a** up, properly gassed up Hoodie to mask up, sh** for that fast buck
she be layin in the bushes to light that a** up” nothing is private so be careful who you trust, there have been legal cases from NYC to Cali where people’s private Facebook messages have been used as material and necessary pieces of evidence to do everything from convict to increase/decrease settlements

Number four: “know you heard this before Never get high, on your own supply” ahh the best of the bunch, simple don’t get so excited about followers, fans, pins and retweets that you actually start to believe your own hype – you will go from relevant to has been if all you do is post about yourself time after time – don’t tweet or post just to read your own stuff

Number five: “never sell no crack where you rest at I don’t care if they want a ounce, tell em bounce” – we can have a little fun with this one, this is the simple warning that if people in your family know what you do for a living you will be hooking up monitors, downloading iTunes, running avast scans and cropping profile pics when you go home to visit for the holidays

Number six: “that g*d damn credit, dead it You think a crackhead payin you back, sh** forget it” – digital is not free, get paid for your work!!!  No one asks a plumber to fix their pipes for free with the hope that they can pay them later if things take off, why should we work for free

Seven: “this rule is so underrated Keep your family and business completely separated” just because they are your brother, sister, cousin, aunt or mother doesn’t mean the understand SEO or SEM – don’t go into business with your family unless you are 100% sure they can pull their own weight and add value

Number eight: “never keep no weight on you Them cats that squeeze your guns can hold jobs too” – be careful with your prototypes and plans, we all remember the story of the Apple engineer who left his prototype iPhone 5 in a bar. Maybe marketing genius, maybe too much tequila either way be careful

Number nine “shoulda been number one to me If you ain’t gettin bags stay the f*** from police If  ******  think you snitchin ain’t tryin listen They be sittin in your kitchen, waitin to start hittin” be transparent, don’t hide negative posts about your brand or product. If someone says something negative about your product embrace them and address it, don’t report it or delete it you will lose all credibility – social media offers great rewards but does open you up to negative honesty

Number ten: “a strong word called consignmentStrictly for live men, not for freshmen If you ain’t got the clientele say hell no
Cause they gon want they money rain sleet hail snow” – if you don’t have the skill set or can’t hit the deadline don’t take the job, you make us all look bad

Biggie went on to say “Follow these rules you’ll have mad bread to break up” I agree, keep learning, be disciplined and be a social media beast, the money will follow…..