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


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?

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.







Do you know what either an Interest Graph or SMID are?

For every bit of learning or advancement in technology I conquer, or shall I say feel comfortable with, there is a new term or phrase that comes along that gives me a feeling of SMID or Social Media Inadequacy Disorder. Yes, you can tell I am part of the new media forefront because now I have made up my own abbreviation or is it term or perhaps acronym?

But honestly I came across a term today that was brand new to me, Interest Graph.  To me, a new term, but not for everyone.  In November of 2010 the Assetmap Blog posted a blog titled Why the Interest Graph Will Reshape Social Networks (and the next generation of internet business). In there it says ” In a great post on TechCrunch in October, Naval Ravikant and Adam Rifkin articulated the difference between the “social graph” (the network of people you know personally) and the “interest graph” (the network of people who share interests with you, but who you don’t necessarily know personally). If Facebook is the service with the internet’s most complete (visible) social graph, Twitter is the service with the internet’s most complete (visible) interest graph. “Following” a person — even one you don’t know — is an affirmation of your interest in their insights and recommendations. “Friending” someone is simply an act of acknowledging an existing relationship, that in many cases, has more to do with a previous shared experience (think: your freshman dorm) than with a really active shared interest.”

So I searched a little more and found three more, what I consider very strong posts:

So fire up the Google searches and start to master your understanding and position on the Interest Graph.

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.