Successful Facebook marketing pdf

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Chapter 1: An Introduction to Advanced Facebook Marketing In This Chapter ✓ Refreshing your knowledge of core marketing principles ✓ Examining advanced marketing techniques ✓ Putting advanced strategies to work learly, Facebook Pages are quickly becoming essential parts of most Cbusinesses’ marketing strategies, but how can you find ways to stand out from the competition? You have a lot to consider as you go about devel- oping a successful Facebook Page, and the rewards of brand exposure, loyal fans, and increased revenue are well worth your time and effort. To fast- track your success, consider including some advanced strategies in your Facebook plan. After you create your Page, optimize it with the essential strategies, such as posting great content regularly, and then build some momentum with your fan base by engaging with your fans. When you have your basic strategies locked in, you can take your Facebook marketing up a notch by exploring some advanced Facebook marketing strategies. Advanced strategies take more time and effort than basic marketing efforts, but on the plus side, they produce much bigger returns. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to Facebook strategies. Instead, take a look at other thriving Facebook Pages, and apply the same success strategies to your own Page. After you give a new strategy enough time to gain momentum, analyze your progress. If what you’re doing is work- ing, keep doing it After a while, if you’re not happy enough with the results of your efforts, change direction and try a new tactic. (You won’t know if you don’t try) In this chapter, we give you a quick refresher on the core rules of Facebook marketing; then we take a look at some advanced marketing strategies that can take your Facebook Page from good to great.462 Remembering the Nine Core Facebook Marketing Rules Remembering the Nine Core Facebook Marketing Rules Before you consider experimenting with a few advanced Facebook market- ing strategies, make sure that your Facebook marketing foundation is solid. Consider nine core rules when you create your marketing plan. Following these rules will ensure that you stay on track and focus on the most impor- tant marketing elements as you increase your Page engagement and number of fans — and ultimately turn your fans into new customers. Although we also mention these rules in Book I, Chapter 2, here’s a synopsis: ✦ Give your Page a human touch. Communicate with your fans as though you were talking to your friends, and let your personality come through in each post. ✦ Create fresh content. Always make sure that your content educates, entertains, and empowers your fans to keep them engaged and coming back for more. ✦ Cultivate engagement with two-way dialogue. People love to talk about themselves, so craft your posts and questions around them to get them talking. ✦ Create consistent calls to action. To get your fans to take action, con- sider offering discounts and specials or asking them to sign up for your newsletter so that you can actively communicate with them on a consis- tent basis. ✦ Make word-of-mouth advocacy easy. Make it easy for your fans to talk about you by asking them to share your content, getting them to engage in contests, and making the experiences on your Page about them — rather than about you. ✦ Encourage fan-to-fan conversations. Enhance your fans’ experience by creating a community that encourages your fans to interact with one another. ✦ Focus on smart branding. Treat your Facebook Page as a mini version of your own website. The key is to create a Page that sparks familiarity with your brand when your existing customers visit your Page. ✦ Be deliberate, and manage expectations. Always stay focused on why you want to have a presence on Facebook. When you understand the “why,” your actions are deliberate and have purpose, and your fans clearly understand what your Page has to offer. ✦ Monitor, measure, and track. Make sure that you have surefire methods in place that enable you to consistently track your Facebook marketing progress.An Introduction to Advanced Facebook Marketing 463 Creating a Facebook Experience Creating a Facebook Experience Many businesses just getting started on Facebook worry that they’ll be lost in the Facebook abyss. Sure, big brands such as Coca-Cola and Southwest Airlines stand out easily. But what about small to midsize companies? Many of our clients wonder whether they even have a chance. Here’s the great news: There’s hope for your Page, no matter how small your company may be You don’t have to be a major brand to gain exposure and build relationships with your clients and customers on Facebook. One way to stand out from the masses is to create Facebook experiences — experiences you execute on your Facebook Page that are unique to your brand and of great value to your fans. No matter how big or small, these experiences can be extremely powerful. The Social Media Examiner Facebook Page (www.facebook.com/smexaminer), for example, created Expert Fridays. Every other Friday, it features a social media expert who answers fans’ questions, directly on the Timeline, for one full hour. Anyone can post questions, and the expert answers as many of them as he or she can in that one designated hour, as shown in Figure 1-1. These experiences have proved to be a huge hit Book VII Chapter 1 Figure 1-1: An Expert Fridays session on the Social Media Examiner Facebook Page. Planning the experience If you like the concept of an experience and want to create something unique to your brand and your mission, here are four steps to get you started in the right direction: 1. Decide on the overall vibe you want to create with your experience. Do you want to add value? Perhaps you’re looking to entertain. Is your desired outcome to educate, create excitement among your fans, or all the above? Determine the kind of experience that will resonate with your fans.464 Creating a Facebook Experience 2. Get clear on what your company does best. What’s your company known for? What does it do best? What do your clients tell you when they’re singing your praises? Use this insight to fuel your ideas about unique experiences. When you’re brainstorming, think of experiences you can duplicate (do multiple times). An experience that you can execute consistently is key to building momentum with your Facebook community. After you create your list of ideas, choose the experience that your audience will embrace most fully (and one that your team will enjoy delivering). 3. Map out your execution plan. You want to document the process of your experience. Before Social Media Examiner began Expert Fridays, it followed this step. The team talked about ways to find the ideal experts, the best day to announce the weekly experts, how to post the questions and answers, and all the other specifics involved. After the team talked all this out, they created a Microsoft Word document that explained the process for doing Expert Fridays sessions. At any time, the team could refer to the document for guidance. If they discovered better ways to deliver the Expert Fridays sessions, they updated the document to reflect the changes. It’s a work in progress. 4. Commit to your plan. For some people, this is the toughest step When you decide on your signature experience, it’s crucial that you deliver. If you say that you intend to do something once a week, do it. If you don’t follow through, you could lose trust with your fans, and that’s something you don’t want to mess with Optimizing the experience After you create your experience, begin to think about how you might repur- pose the content or information that comes from it. If audio is involved, perhaps you can create a podcast. Or if your experience involves video, think about using that video in an opt-in strategy for anyone who might have missed it that week. This could be a great way to build up your list. You can also take the content from your experience and post it in new ways weeks later for those who may have missed it. Doing so allows you to contin- ually post great content. Repurposing the content or elements of your expe- rience creates multiple touch points throughout your marketing strategy. Signature experiences and other “out of the box” ideas are vital to keeping your Facebook community engaged and enthusiastic about your brand. The key is to find something that you can duplicate and build on over time.An Introduction to Advanced Facebook Marketing 465 Building Social Proof with Sponsored Stories Building Social Proof with Sponsored Stories Before most people make a buying decision, they want to know that their choice is a smart one. To get reassurance, we look to our friends to give us their advice and recommendations. With the rise of social networks, word- of-mouth recommendations are essential for businesses in their efforts to gain popularity and expand the ranks of their clientele. Studies show that when it comes to buying recommendations, people trust friends’ recommen- dations more than they do the actual brand. Facebook has capitalized on this behavior by creating Sponsored stories. Sponsored stories take word-of-mouth recommendations from Friends and pro- mote them in Facebook Profiles as Facebook Ads. This means that when you go to Starbucks, for example, and use Facebook Places to check in, that story is posted on your Timeline and sent out into the News Feeds of your Friends. Now, with Sponsored Stories, that post is also displayed next to the Starbucks ad (see Figure 1-2). Starbucks has something even better than an ad; it has social proof. Book VII Chapter 1 Figure 1-2: Example of a fan’s Starbucks Facebook check-in next to a Starbucks ad. The term social proof refers to the psychological phenomenon of people being motivated to do things that they see other people doing. Interactions on social media sites, such as Facebook, have increased the influence and reach of social proof because now it’s much easier to instantly see what your friends are doing at any time. The posts from Sponsored stories make it seem as though your Friends are saying “I bought this” or “I just ordered the best burger ever at Rocket Burgers” These posts are viral, instant recommendations and may be more powerful than traditional Facebook Ads. As Facebook put it, you have the 466 Experimenting with Custom Apps “ability to promote your content with a user experience focus.” Research on these unique ads has shown increased brand awareness, including ad recall and likeliness to recommend to a Friend. As you explore your opportunities with Facebook Ads, we encourage you to test Sponsored stories. The word-of-mouth feature is a powerful tool to entice new users to check out your Facebook Page and your business. If you think this strategy might work for your company or product, see Book VIII, Chapter 1, where we go into more detail about setting up your own Sponsored stories. Experimenting with Custom Apps In Book III, Chapter 2, we explore custom apps. Custom apps (also known as custom pages or tabs) in many ways are the most important piece to your Facebook marketing strategy. You can create multiple pages inside your Facebook Page. One powerful advanced strategy is to create a custom page to promote special products or events. Custom pages can give your product or event extra promotion and give it the push it needs to get even greater exposure. If you have a physical event coming up, you might consider creating a custom page with a video from past events to showcase the experience. Then you can include the Facebook comments feature from the social plug-in options to encourage people to talk about the event. This strategy showcases your event via your video, and the comments section on the tab gets people talking. When we worked with Tony Robbins, we created a special tab for his live event (see Figure 1-3). We included a video as well as features to highlight the event benefits and the pricing structure. In many ways, the tab was like a mini website. Figure 1-3: Promoting a live event with a custom app. An Introduction to Advanced Facebook Marketing 467 Targeting Your Audience with Custom Lists Targeting Your Audience with Custom Lists As we discuss in Book II, Chapter 4, when appropriate you can use your Profile for business networking. Keeping up with all your Facebook Friends on your Profile can get a bit tricky. If you’re anything like us, you have a mix of family members, friends, acquaintances, potential clients, current clients, and even a few complete strangers as Facebook Friends on your Profile. At times, that volume makes it difficult to decide what you want to share with everyone on your Facebook Timeline. The good news is that Facebook created a way to segment your Facebook Friends into special lists: smart and custom. The benefit of both types of lists is that they allow you to share your posts with smaller groups of people. Smart lists — which Facebook creates for you — stay up to date based on Profile info your Friends have in common with you, such as family, the city where you live, workplaces, or schools. Although Facebook creates these lists automatically, you can edit them at any time. To access your smart lists, look on the left sidebar of your Facebook Profile home page for the Lists section. Depending on the info in your Profile, you might see smart lists of your relatives, Facebook Friends in your town, and Facebook Friends you went to school with. Book VII Custom lists are what you create as a way to selectively group certain people Chapter 1 whom you’ve added as Friends. Click More next to Friends (see Figure 1-4) to see your custom lists. The name of your custom list and its members are visible only to you. If you send a post to a custom list, those on the list can see who else that post was sent to, but they won’t see the name of your list. If you name a list Prospects I Plan to Land as Big-Money Clients, for example, the people on that list won’t see what you called it — so get as creative as you like Figure 1-4: To access your Custom lists, click More next to Friends in your left sidebar. 468 Targeting Your Audience with Custom Lists A benefit of using both smart lists and custom lists is that they allow you to share your posts with smaller groups of people. If you just had a family reunion and took a bunch of photos, for example, you may choose to share those photos only with those in your Family smart list. Overall, these lists allow you to intelligently choose whom you talk to and what you want to share with them. Whenever you want to share something with a specific list, you can use the drop-down audience selector in the status update box and pick one of your lists. (For more info on the audience selector, see Book I, Chapter 1.) So how does all this relate to your Facebook marketing strategy? We allude to it a bit when we jokingly mention the list Prospects I Plan to Land as Big- Money Clients earlier in this section. Because it’s very likely that you have potential clients and customers mixed in with your Facebook Friends via your Profile, custom lists are a great way to segment your personal friends from current and potential customers. You can communicate with them on a regular basis from your Profile.You can create multiple lists — depending on how you want to communicate with different groups — and then post infor- mation, photos, videos, and promotions that you know each group will find valuable. When you laser-focus your communication with custom lists, your marketing messages will pack a bigger punch — and get you even better results. Creating your custom lists Here’s how you set up a custom list: 1. Point your browser to www.facebook.com, and log in to your account. By default, you land on your home page. 2. In the left column, hover your mouse over the word Friends. 3. When the word More appears, click it. 4. Click Create List (top-right corner of your screen). A pop-up window appears, prompting you to name your list. 5. Type a name for your list. The name of your list will be visible only to you — not anyone else on Facebook, including those you add to the list. 6. In the Members box, below the List Name box, type in the names of the people you want to add to your new list. Each time you begin to type a new name, a drop-down list appears with potential Friends to add, as shown in Figure 1-5. You will want to know the name of the Friends you want to add in advance so you can type them in at this time.An Introduction to Advanced Facebook Marketing 469 Creating Interest Lists to Focus on the People who Matter Most Figure 1-5: Type the name of the Friends you want to add to your list. Adding custom lists to your Favorites Custom lists come in handy when you’re posting, but you can also use them to filter which posts you see in your News Feed stream. To see only the updates from people in a specific list, you just click that list; Facebook filters your posts on your News Feed page to show you only status updates from the people in the specific list. To make things even easier for you, you can add custom lists to your Favorites. The Favorites section appears in the top-left column on your Book VII home page as a way to quickly access the links you use most. To add a list to Chapter 1 your Favorites, follow these steps: 1. Point your browser to www.facebook.com, and log in to your account. By default, you land on your home page. 2. In the left column, hover your mouse over your custom list. A little blue pencil (the icon Facebook uses to indicate an edit opportu- nity) appears to the left of the list name. 3. Click the blue pencil. A drop-down menu appears, with the option to add this list to Favorites. 4. Click Favorites. Creating Interest Lists to Focus on the People who Matter Most to Your Business Because of the sheer number of people on Facebook (more than 1 billion), it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the information users are posting. One smart strategy for staying focused is to customize your News Feed to ensure that you’re seeing only the Facebook posts that matter most to you and the suc- cess of your business. One way to make this happen is to create Interest Lists.470 Creating Interest Lists to Focus on the People who Matter Most Interest Lists are different from the custom lists mentioned earlier in this chapter because you can add people you’re subscribed to, people you’re Friends with, and Pages you like to Interest Lists, making them even more useful and interesting. Advantages of creating Interest Lists include ✦ Not missing out on important updates by your favorite people and Pages ✦ The ability to share your Interest Lists with the world ✦ The convenience of adding yourself or your Page to your own Interest List so that when others subscribe to it, they subscribe to your updates as well To see what Interest Lists look like, go to www.facebook.com/addlist and check out the Add Interests section. Alternatively, you can go to your Facebook home page; on the left side, you see Interests below your Favorites, Groups, Friends, Pages, and Apps (see Figure 1-6). You may have to click the More link to find it. Figure 1-6: Facebook Interest Lists in the left sidebar. If you want to start creating your own Interest List or subscribe to popular ones created by other Facebook users, click Add Interests. As you can see from the first few suggested Interest Lists shown in Figure 1-7, the popularity of Interest Lists can be great. Some have more than 75,000 subscribersAn Introduction to Advanced Facebook Marketing 471 Creating Interest Lists to Focus on the People who Matter Most Figure 1-7: Facebook offers suggestions for your Interest Lists. To set up an Interest List, follow these steps: 1. Point your browser to www.facebook.com/addlist, and log in to your account if necessary. Book VII Chapter 1 2. Click the +Create List button. The window that pops up allows you to search Pages you like, people you subscribe to, and Friends. You can also browse people and Pages by category. 3. Click to select the Pages, Subscriptions, or Friends you want to add to your list. 4. Click Next when you finish adding people and Pages. 5. Type a name for your list. 6. Choose whether you want your list to be seen publicly, by Friends, or only by you. 7. Click Done when you’re finished. After you create your list, you’re taken to that list immediately, and you see the latest updates by the people and Pages you added. To edit your new Interest List, click the Manage List drop-down menu near the top-right corner of the page. There, you see the options to rename your list, edit your list (including the option to add or remove people and Pages), choose update types, set notification settings, or delete the list.472 Creating a Facebook Offer for Your Local or Online Business To access your list, find the Interests section in your left sidebar. Your newly created or subscribed-to lists are displayed here, but you may have to click More to find them. If you’d like to get easier access to your list, hover over the list name, click the pencil icon when it appears, and select Add to Favorites. Now your Interest List will be below your Favorites near the top of your left sidebar. You can add a Profile or Page to your Interest Lists (or create new lists) when viewing a person’s Profile or Page by clicking the settings icon (gear) under the Profile’s or Page’s Timeline cover photo. In the drop-down menu, you see Add to Interest Lists, as shown in Figure 1-8. Figure 1-8: From a Profile or from a Page, you can add people to an Interest List. Creating a Facebook Offer for Your Local or Online Business A Facebook Offer is like a coupon that people claim and then either bring in to your place of business to redeem or redeem online at your website. When you create and promote your offer, it goes out into News Feeds, and your fans can click it to claim it. Facebook Offers are created through the Publisher on your Facebook Page. When they claim it, they add their e-mail addresses to the form, and the Offer is sent to them. The great thing about offers is that they can be very viral. When someone claims your offer, your offer posts to that person’s News Feed for all of his or her Friends to see. Creating a Facebook Offer Facebook Offers are a fantastic way to expose your Facebook fans and their Friends to your special offers.The great news is that offers are extremely easy to use and take just minutes to get going. Essentially, you create special offers on Facebook and then market them to your fans and Friends of fans with a Promoted post. We break this strategy into two parts to help you understand the process. In the first part, you create the Facebook Offer; the second part involves promoting the offer.An Introduction to Advanced Facebook Marketing 473 Creating a Facebook Offer for Your Local or Online Business You can use Facebook Offers to create a deal of the day, a promotional coupon, or another incentive to encourage fans to shop your online store or a store at their location, as shown in Figure 1-9. Figure 1-9: Example of a Facebook Offer from Macy’s. You must have at least 400 fans to access the Facebook Offers Feature. Pages with fewer than 400 fans cannot run offers at this time. You will see the Offer option inside your Publisher on your Facebook Page, as shown in Figure 1-10. Book VII Figure 1-10: Chapter 1 The Facebook Offer option inside the Publisher on a Page. You have three options when creating a Facebook Offer. You can create offers for in store only, in store and online, and online only. As mentioned, when users claim an offer, they receive an e-mail with details to redeem your offer. You cannot customize the e-mail message that’s sent to the person who claimed your offer; it tells them to bring this offer into your business to claim it or go to your website to redeem. Promoting your offer Once you create your offer, the next step is to promote it via Promoted posts or Facebook Ads. Promoted posts are status updates that you pay for to get even greater exposure in the News Feeds, which is why this strategy is great for promoting your new Facebook Offer. 474 Creating a Facebook Offer for Your Local or Online Business Running a Facebook Promoted post is relatively straightforward. There’s no bidding process; you pay a flat fee to push your post to a certain number of your fans. The post organically reaches a certain number, and then you’re paying for Facebook to show your post to Fans and Friends of fans who may not ordinarily have seen your post in their News Feeds. (For step-by-step instructions on how to create Promoted posts, see Book VIII.) The overall strategy of creating a Facebook Offer and using a Promoted post to market that offer is a great way to introduce your Facebook fans to your special promotions, discounts, coupons, and the like. If you have a local business and are looking to gain even more foot traffic for your business, you definitely want to test this strategy Putting your offer together Facebook Offers are very easy to set up. To get your Facebook Offer started, follow these steps: 1. Click the Offers, Events + icon in the Publisher. A drop-down menu appears. 2. Click Offers. A box appears where you can enter the details of your offer, as shown in Figure 1-11. Figure 1-11: Fill out the details of your offer and add an image. 3. Add a thumbnail photo by clicking the Upload Thumbnail link. A list of files from your computer appears, allowing you to select your photo. A product photo is best. The photo will size to 90 × 90 pixels, so try to pick a square photo. Select the appropriate picture. 4. Write a headline for your offer in the large box. You have only 90 characters, so you need to make the headline compel- ling and succinct.An Introduction to Advanced Facebook Marketing 475 Creating a Facebook Offer for Your Local or Online Business 5. Click the Unlimited hyperlink below the photo area to limit the number of offers available, if applicable. A drop-down menu appears, allowing you to select a preset number of offers or create a custom number of offers. 6. Click the date hyperlink below the headline area, and in the drop- down menu calendar that appears, select the date to limit the length of time your offer can be claimed. 7. Select the Terms field to add any terms and conditions to your offer. A box appears where you can type any terms and conditions. 8. Click the Preview button. You see the offer as it will appear on your Timeline, and you receive an e-mail notification about the offer information that Facebook will send out when someone claims the offer. If you need to edit further, you can click the Edit link. 9. Click the Set Budget button. You see two options. You can either promote your offer inside the Facebook Ads dashboard or you can choose to run a Promoted post where you choose a dollar increment at the time you create your offer, as shown in Figure 1-12. Book VII Chapter 1 Figure 1-12: Choose a dollar amount to promote your new offer. 10. To create a Promoted post, choose a dollar increment directly from the Offer Set Budget page. Your offer will run immediately. 11. To run an ad via the Facebook Ads dashboard: a. Click Promote Later Using Another Facebook Ad Tool, as shown in Figure 1-13.476 Expanding Your Page’s Exposure Figure 1-13: Choosing to set up your offer ad via the Facebook Ads dashboard. b. Go into the Ads dashboard, click the Create an Ad button, and choose your offer in the Specific Post drop-down menu, as shown in Figure 1-14. If you choose to create an ad for your offer inside the ads dashboard, your ad will not run until you do this step. Figure 1-14: Creating an ad for your offer in the ads dashboard. When your offer has been published, you can see how many people have claimed your offer but not who claimed it. After you set up your offer, you’re ready to move on to the second part of this strategy: creating a Promoted post to market the new offer. Expanding Your Page’s Exposure The way to get seen on Facebook is to create multiple reasons for people to engage with your Page. Try these tips to increase the chances that your Page will be seen often:An Introduction to Advanced Facebook Marketing 477 Engaging with Fans ✦ Set up your vanity URL for your Facebook Page. See Book II, Chapter 3. ✦ Create a Timeline cover image that’s the maximum size available to give your Page a professional, well-branded look and feel. See Book II, Chapter 2. ✦ Create a custom fans-only page through which you offer an incentive for those who click your Like button. This strategy increases nonfan curios- ity and incites action in the form of nonfans clicking the Like button. See Book III, Chapter 2. ✦ Add a Facebook app to your Page. Consider one that will increase activ- ity and encourage more users to visit your page. See Book V, Chapter 1. ✦ Run a Facebook Ad campaign for 30 days. (For extra credit, test the Sponsored stories feature, described earlier in this chapter.) See Book VIII, Chapter 1. ✦ Create a special promotion and test out Facebook Offers by creating a coupon and post about it on your Page. ✦ Embed a social plug-in on your website to drive up the number of likes on your Page. See Book VII, Chapter 2. Engaging with Fans Book VII Chapter 1 Communicating with your fans helps keep them engaged — and coming back. Here are a few ways to keep the lines of communication wide open: ✦ Create a Facebook experience to execute on your Business Page. Think of what your fans want most from you, and deliver it as a Facebook expe- rience. See “Creating a Facebook Experience,” earlier in this chapter. ✦ Ask more questions. The more you make things about your fans and less about you, the more your fan base will flourish. Mix up your questions so you have some related to your business and industry, some that get people thinking in new ways, and some that entertain and keep things light. See Book IV, Chapter 2. ✦ Set up notifications to get continuous alerts when your fans post on your Page. See Book II, Chapter 3. ✦ If you’re having an event online or offline, consider setting up a special custom app to promote the event. (For extra credit, embed a video and a comments plug-in.) See Book III, Chapter 2. ✦ Turn your Facebook Page into a lead generator by adding a name and e-mail box to your Facebook Page. This box will help you capture the e-mail addresses of your Facebook fans. See Book II, Chapter 2.478 Getting Viral Exposure Getting Viral Exposure Going viral isn’t so great in the offline world, but it’s the best of all possible worlds online. Here are a few ways to position your Page to get lots of viral exposure: ✦ Connect your other social media accounts, such as Twitter and LinkedIn, to your Facebook Page to ensure that your posts are getting even better reach and exposure. See Book III, Chapter 4. ✦ Stream a live video on your Facebook Page by using the Livestream application (www.livestream.com). Live activity will create a buzz See Book VII, Chapter 3. ✦ Create an event by using the Events feature on your Facebook Page. See Book VI, Chapter 1. ✦ Pull your blog into your Facebook Page by using the Networked Blogs app. When you publish a blog, it automatically gets pulled onto your Facebook Timeline and into the News Feeds of your fans. See Book III, Chapter 3. ✦ Run a contest on your Page, and offer an enticing giveaway to help spread the buzz. Try the Wildfire app or Offerpop for contest support. See Book VI, Chapter 2.Chapter 2: Marketing with Facebook Social Plug-ins In This Chapter ✓ Exploring social plug-ins ✓ Integrating Facebook with your website ✓ Finding the right plug-ins to fit your business goals ✓ Using social plug-ins as part of a marketing program t one time, users searched the web independently of their peers. AToday, users look at what their networks of friends are doing, and they take their friends’ activities and recommendations very seriously. Social plug-ins allow you to take advantage of this new way of surveying information. In this chapter, we cover the basics of social plug-ins: what they are, why they’re important, and how you can use them to expand your online presence. When it comes to social plug-ins, you have numerous options. Therefore, we dedicate a separate section to each Facebook social plug- in, as well as offer suggestions for open-source Facebook-friendly plug-ins. Open-source plug-ins are developed outside the Facebook platform, but they integrate seamlessly with Facebook and your website. (We get more into open source later in the chapter.) Overall, this chapter can help you decide which social plug-ins are the right fit for your business goals and how you can integrate them with your overall marketing program. Understanding Social Plug-ins Social plug-in tools connect your website with Facebook users and enable social activity among users directly on your site. With Facebook social plug- ins, you create an identical experience of your Facebook Page while maintain- ing control of your content and brand. Considering the high number of people on Facebook today, social plug-ins can be extremely powerful tools. Plug-ins have many benefits, perhaps one of the most important being their capability to encourage your website visitors to spend more time on your site. The plug-ins appear as buttons and boxes on websites, and the content pop- ulating them comes directly from Facebook activity. If you have a plug-in on your website, when your visitors are logged in to Facebook, they can interact 480 Understanding Social Plug-ins with their Facebook Friends directly from your website. Specifically, they see their Friends’ Facebook activity (such as what their Friends have liked, shared, recommended, and posted) via the plug-in on your website. Here’s an example of how social plug-ins work. Suppose that you click a link that you received in an e-mail and land on a website that includes a Like button. If any of your Facebook Friends clicked that button, you see some of their names or Profile images (depending on how the site owner configured the button). Seeing that your Friends have interacted with the site makes you more likely to explore the site’s content — and possibly share it with your own social networks. The Like button plug-in lets this activity take place directly on your website rather than going through Facebook — which is exactly what marketers want. Read on to find out why. Integrating your website with Facebook via plug-ins So why do you want to integrate your website with Facebook by using social plug-ins? Easy answer: You gain viral visibility. You increase your exposure when you create more opportunities for users to consume your content on your website or blog. Also, by showing how multiple users are interacting with your content every day (ideally), the plug-ins create social proof and increase the credibility of your content. The term social proof refers to the psychological phenomenon of people being motivated to do things that they see other people doing. Although marketers have used social proof as a fundamental principle for many years, the popularity and growth of social media has strengthened its influence and reach. Social plug-ins enhance the social proof strategy because they highlight the friends and acquaintances of the people you’re directly trying to influence. In many ways, social proof acts as a “foot in the door” strategy because it takes viewers’ initial interest and quickly turns that interest into acceptance. The acceptance happens when they see their peers’ interactions with the information they are currently consuming. The familiarity builds trust. Social proof is crucial in creating a successful Facebook marketing plan. The goal is to show your visitors what their peers are talking about, liking, and posting — and in turn, your new visitors will naturally match those behaviors. The key is to create multiple opportunities for your users to see their Friends interacting with your website. This activity increases traffic to your site and encourages site engagement overall. Social plug-ins aid in this mar- keting endeavor. One example of a website that uses social plug-ins successfully is Stay N’ Alive (www.staynalive.com). Site owner Jesse Stay has implemented two