June 14, 2011

How to get the most from Facebook Like buttons

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thumbs-upTarget audience: Nonprofits, NGOs, foundations, social enterprises, brands, cause organizations, small businesses.

John HaydonNo doubt you’re aware that more and more websites are getting more traffic with Facebook’s Like button.

Facebook has been measuring the impact of these social plug-ins for almost a year now. Here’s what they’ve found:

  • More traffic. The average site received a 300 percent increase in referral traffic.
  • Lower bounce rates. People who sign in with Facebook at The Huffington Post view 22 percent more pages than those who don’t.

Now before you go and slap a Like button on your website, follow these placement tips to get the best results:

Placement at the top of blog posts

Many people who read content on your website will scan the title and maybe the first couple of paragraphs. In their mind, they’re thinking, “Is this worth sharing?”

With a Like button prominently at the top of articles, they’ll be able to take the action you want them to take!

Placement on single bits of content

When a user clicks on a like button, they send that specific article (or video, or blog post, or product, or event) into their New Feed, which can be a fast-moving stream for many Facebook users. Concise and highly specific content tends to get the most engagement.

Blogging is a way to create a constant flow of this type of “likable” content.

Placement above the fold

As with any landing page, you must have the call to action (in this case clicking Like) above the fold. When I put my email subscription form prominently up at the top of my site, I saw a 300 percent increase in new weekly email subscribers. The same holds true for Like buttons.

But keep the Like button off your home page

More often than not, a Like button on a home page only ends up confusing people.

The reason is that someone clicking it usually likes a specific piece of content on your site that happens to be on your home page (a blog post or a calendar event). But when their friends click on a link to your home page, the post could be buried in the archives, and the event might have passed.

Another reason to migrate your site to WordPress

If you want to add a Like button to individual pieces of content on your site, those pieces of content need a unique URL (see image below). If you have a traditional website, creating new pages can be a pain in the butt.

WordPress, on the other hand, automatically creates these URLs when you publish blog posts. Dozens of free WordPress plug-ins automatically add Like buttons to these posts.

Don’t forget “Send”

Facebook has a new social plug-in that allows users to send articles to friends either through a private Facebook message of with an email. They can also send articles to Facebook Groups they belong to. If you use WordPress as your website platform, you should check out the Facebook Like and Send buttons.

How else can you get the most from Like buttons?John Haydon delivers social web strategy solutions for “the quick, the smart, and the slightly manic.” Curious? Then connect up: Contact John by email, see his profile page, visit the John Haydon blog, follow him on Twitter and Google Plus or leave a comment.

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