Promotion Tips #2: Facebook Marketing

We've talked about text links promotion and your detailed comments made us start working on a SEO-focused Dolphin 7 update. Conversations like that will eventually help us develop a truly powerful web-marketing machine, not only a community software. So, let's keep them coming!

 

Now I suggest a discussion on how to use Facebook (if you can't fight it, take advantage of it) to get more people coming to your Dolphin-based site. Facebook is the #1 most visited website int he world, so there're plenty of men and women hanging out there, theoretically with enough spare time to come and consider your offerings. How're we supposed to lure them out of "Facebook world"? 

 

Friends

Ok, this sounds obvious and easy - exploit your connections and litter your friends' feeds with invitations, updates, etc. Soon enough most of them would unsubscribe from your updates and/or would downright curse you. Not good, and no, it doesn't have to be like that.

What you can do it create and filter out a group of friends that would potentially be interested in the subject of your site and instead of direct promotion share content pieces from your site. Make your friends come and check it naturally. In time you could offer them some sort of "premium" membership for free just because they're your friends. Let them see the value first and then gift it. You don't want to exploit your friends. Instead, you want to grab the friends of your friends. And to do that you need your friends to be hooked, happy and grateful.

 

Like Button

Another obvious way to increase your traffic. Some web-masters use it with a reasonable success, but we've noticed that "Likes" are not bringing much good. "Shares" seem to be more effective, but also more rare. Depending on your strategy you may get more people to "like" pages of your site, but 90% of success in getting those would depend on the quality of your content. Again, pick a niche and post useful stuff - and "likes" will come.

 

Pages

This is a tricky one. You want people to come to your site, not to your Facebook page, but Pages are very effective in penetrating feeds. The best strategy is to post teasers or updates that are intriguing yet incomplete. Again, let them see the value and come to your site to get ahold of it.

 

Comments

Facebook comments may be a good way to spread follow-up conversations beyond your site and perhaps draw some extra traffic. I am not a big fan of using FB comments though, mostly because comments may form very valuable content for your site and with FB comment they're not under your control. Experiences vary, but I think this is one of the tools where costs may overweight benefits

 

Paid Ads

We tried those a few times, after every major update of FB system, and well, for BoonEx at least, results are not shining, umm... not even shimmering really. Facebook ads are comparatively cheap, but conversions are comparable to Stumbleupon near-junk clicks. Note, however, that BoonEx is a B2B software site. It's not for general masses - it's for tech-savvy entrepreneurs, rare breed of risky and sharp. A niche community site may have much better results with FB ads, but make sure to use tracking tools like Google Analytics to measure effectiveness of your campaigns. Luckily, you can start small.

 

Facebook Login

I caught  myself using FB login wherever it is available, bypassing sites' registration system. Unified authentication is catching on with many and we cant' ignore that. If it fits your business model, use it. You can always ask for some extra details later. It makes things easier for your visitors, so you have to accommodate. Win the hearts first, ask for wallets later.

 

Widgets

If all of the above isn't enough, you can add a few Facebook widgets to your site, showing friends that liked the site, displaying updates from Facebook page, etc. We have scant information on how effective those can be, but some Dolphin-sites seem to be using them actively. Try not to overdo your site with too many blue boxes, but a few strategically placed widgets could help. Personally, I only had experienced their usefulness once, when I noticed a friend using the site that I liked and we discussed that later. 

 

Foraging at Other's Pages

One really effective way to gain traffic from Facebook is to promote via Pages that are in same or similar niche as your site. If you share useful content there and stay nice to admins, this may be the single most effective way to get large number of very relevant clicks. Unique and engaging content is the key, again. Don't just promote your site - share good content from your site instead. It may be a good idea to talk about some cross-promotion with Page admins. They may be more eager to share traffic than standard websites owners, because they rarely make much use of it anyway. You could recommend some FB-pages on your site as a "thank you" gesture. Don't be afraid to "lose" your members to them, because you're effectively sending "agents" that would maximise your penetration into various feeds.

 

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As you may see, we're far from being experts in Facebook promotion and this post is mostly meant to engage further discussion and ideas sharing. I am sure many web-masters here hold invaluable secrets and tricks that they may share. Every little bit counts, so if you know something, open up your generous self and share, please.

 

Just as the previous post about text links did, this one may bring enough ideas to make us work on Facebook-focused update to further maximise Dolphin's marketing abilities.

 
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jacjig
Great post but my opinion is that facebook comments can be an invaluable tool and the benefits would out weight the cost. comments in my opinion would create a more natural link. Comments beg to be shared and they demand you to take a second look and in my opinion will create more link back to your site but unfortunately i have not found a way to incorporate the facebook comment into my site and get it to work as i need it to
DRautenbach
facebook is the largest single collective of human beings and related information ever assembled in one place in human history... This should make it the best markering and member resource on the face of the planet...... but you try to actualy get the attention of any facebook member for 3 minutes to show them what your site has to offer... In truth, users on facebook are more interested in posting photos of what they had for breakfast, of shring chain letters to with cliche images of angels and see more of increasing their own sence of importance in the world by dictaorialy controlling their Fan page.

Stripping members from fb can be done. I have to it, but it is difficult, and facebook itself does not make things easy. If you have a page and you message all fans of your page with offers or links then you will get banned or suspended for spamming. If you keep adding friends at a high rate then you will be suspended for spamming or banned from adding friends. I have had several bans over tha past few months.
Fb ads are cheap... or free if you find a voucher. They do get hits, but you will not get conversions unless the page you take them too is enticing enough. It is worth a try with a free voucher.

Join groups with similar interests to your site, and drop FREE membership codes into it. We have had good results with this.

If you have a welcome page on FB then you can include flash on that page. We have a interactive welcome page with promo videos of the site, and a FREE membership code generator, that generates a FREE code and takes the user to our site.

There are meany ways to use and exploit facebook, but at the end of the day you are trying to change a socialy induced mindset that has grown over many years, and that is not going to be easy.
DRautenbach
check out our FB welcome page to see what I mean.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Global-Dance-Network/179951298718751?sk=app_4949752878
tomakali
How do i differentiate my website from facebook to facebook users?

1.Facebook has "My friends"
2.Facebook is super fast
3.Facebook has api
4.Facebook has a very good engagement systems
5.Facebook has the best "Wall"
6.When im bored of the above all, FB has the awesomest of awesome Games and apps
7.Facebook has got "social" thing everywhere.
8.When im out of my computer, i still have Facebook in my mobile...(a very simple universal app)

All i have is,
The see more most beautiful opensource CMS software in my server...
and iam lost...
I have members who dont even know whats "facebook"
I have members who are "facebook haters" for no reason.
I have members who are socially inactive.
and I have lots and lots of spammers... :(
I guess im the one who runs the biggest social network with best breed of spammers!
DRautenbach
see moreTomakali, you have to be inventive with what you have.

facebook has evolved. it wasnt always what it is now, and it survies by continuing to evolve. OK.... so some dolphin sites may feel like primeval soup... but some have grown fins and can swim, and some have moved onto the land, and one day some sites may even sprout feathers and learn to fly.

Use what you have, develop unique selling points for your site and then grab members from facebook by finding ways to show them what they are missing.
tomakali
Right, all i expect beyond Dolphin cms is a little push towards social games and apps. thats enough. mods are there, still Dolphin should include Game/app platform so that developers can use it in developing better games.
DRautenbach
I dont think games are the answer... there are millions of sites with games on them, and only a limited number are sucessful. I would look for another way to entertain your audience and get them to spend time on your site.... have you thought about your own broadcasting tv channel??? or a contest??? Look for somthing unique that will define your site. then market it using FB.
tomakali
i can do many ads to lure members, but games is one of the best ways to keep the members alive in the website.
DRautenbach
you can easily and quickly write your own unique games using multi media fusion II developer. The games can be based or themed on the subject of your site if you wish. These can be multi user online games. The games can then be saved as java or flas and uploaded into your dolphin site.
I think it is http://www.clickteam.com

hope it helps ; )
tomakali
I can pay to get this...from boonex...
I cant develop myself... not many can...
DRautenbach
MMFll developer requires NO CODE. You can write games without any coding, in a short time. So, you could have a game that no one else has. that makes you unique, which adds value to your site.
You are right we do need to do something more than just games on our sites to make it more attractive. online karaoke or something like that its never been tried if we could get a corner for that it would be great.
I have alot of friends on facebook for a game i play over there and many would be happy to join us only one draw back the game we play our dolphin site doesn't have the platform to allow this type of game. the game we have it needs the site to have the game fed to their wall.
tomakali
its not the drawback of dolphin, but the dis-interest of boonex in adapting/adding game platform to dolphin and boonex never had contacted Zynga,big fish, mochi etc. they have passed the headache to developers and website owners.
its a shame they didn't because my site is great and would be great and with facebooks security being crap at the minute some of us that want our sites to grow could benefit from this since the developers here seem to be more spot on with their building of their apps.
the only issue i have is spammers so far because i havent seen anything on here to combat it from the begiinning.
FB paid adds have done nothing for me in the past either.

I havent yet looked at them to promote my Dolphin site, but I used to use them for my previous line of work which was Martial Arts instruction videos. This is avery niche market and FB adds were targeting that specific market. The vids were getting rave reviews worldwide from other sources so the quality was not the question at all! (most were with World and Olympic Champions...)
However, I did not notice a single link back from any FB see more add that was run. Not one.
Ran the campaign for a few months back to back with nothing!
DRautenbach
We got a few on FB ads, but we had to run 15 different versions of the adds in order to learn how to get the most out of it. It's not somthing that would definately not do. If I come across another free $50 voucher i will have another go.

I ran it alongside google ads, and FB ads were MUCH cheaper and more effective. Google adds just ate up the voucher, produced no results and left me with an unexpected bill for more than the vale of the voucher.
Andrew Boon
We've tested them a few times. Each time with an average of about 5-10K budget, different ads, tracking, specific targeting. Got some clicks, but very few sales. We could be a bad match for a typical FB audience though.
DRautenbach
I think you have a massive market interest on FB Andrew. I just dont think you have found the right way to tap into it. Creating your own Social Network is like living a dream - thats why dolphin (dispiteits faults) is so popular. There are many on FB that want that dream - you just have to find the correct way to sell that dream to them.

Just my 2 cents.
Andrew Boon
:) True. At the same time we're working on changing direction somewhat, as we want to provide something that turns dreams into reality in much more cases than Dolphin does right now.
bengunn
Is this why "Facebook Connect" is not working on Boonex's Demo site and it hasn't been working for some time now?

At the moment it is disabled along with the "OpenSocial" Module.

I posted a Bug Report about this here: http://www.boonex.com/forums/#topic/Failed-to-install-Facebook-Connect-amp-OpenSocial-plugins-on-Demo-site.htm

After trying to install them, it said that "Facebook Connect 7.0.8" and "Opensocial 7.0.8" are not compatible with version see more 7.0.8 of Dolphin(On Boonex's Demo site).

There still hasn't been any reply and bugs still haven't been fixed.

I was not able to locate Boonex's Facebook App on Facebook ether. I guess Boonex must have hidden it from public while they work on it?

Besides trying to lure people out of the "Facebook world" you could also think about getting Dolphin to work inside Facebook iframes. It is possible to fit a dolphin powered site inside Facebook and a user could then login to the site without even leaving Facebook. Let's face it, you can't beat Facebook and you got a better chance at getting people to connect to Dolphin powered sites using a facebook app than you do at luring them from the "Facebook World". So how about also giving people the option of joining a Dolphin powered site on Facebook? There are already others putting their sites on Facebook so why don't you try putting Dolphin powered sites on Facebook as well?

I've been trying to get a dolphin powered site to work on facebook and so far I've had trouble logging in with IE but didn't seem to have any trouble logging in with FF and Chrome (Using Basic Login method through Facebook Iframes, not to be confused with "Facebook Connect"). I've also had trouble with the setAutoGrow setting to resize pages automatically after removing the iframe's scrollbars. "Facebook Connect" doesn't always work ether but that has been an issue since the beginning.
nikoma
This is not easy. It could be easy to think "If Dolphin had this feature, and this and this and were designed in this and that way, then I would get tons of new members". Don't fool yourself. It has absolutely nothing to do with this. I often hear those comparing Dolphin to Facebook. Its like: "If Dolphin were more like Facebook I would then obtain success. Not true either. Then we would have > 100.000 Facebook clones and still no more members than today. What you really should see more do is to have something to offer around your niche site*.

I am not successful with my site at all (how do you measure success?). I have just above 2.100 members since August 3'rd 2010. If I didn't delete spammers or empty profiles, I would have about 3.800 minus those who deleted themselves. Success? Not really, but not failure either. 350 - 450 are active members monthly and they actually send a lot of mails to each other. Almost 44.000 mails have been sent internally. I know because I monitor my site daily and I use Google Analytics to measure my traffic and effort of my investments in ads on sites with related content and users.

Stop talking and say something clever about the topic: Okay, I'll try!

- Make your idea visible by buying banners on sites with related content and users!
- If you have a local site or are from a small country (like my self) get some flyers printed and do household delivery!
- Buy Facebook ads - they actually work (they did for me until I was denied by Facebook to place more ads)!
- Spend time everyday with your members, be present everyday. I use 5 hours per day!
- Stand up for your own idea and delete and block spammers even though it hurts to decrease Database!
- Offer your members branded iPhone and Android App - I've had between 100 - 500 downloads of Android alone!


When talking about payments, I have had payment "on" for a long time and it generated between 10 - 18 new payments during a typical month. How ever it decreased activity seriously making my site look like a cemetery on a cold February morning. So I decided to do adjustments towards females with a module from Market and allowed none paying members to send up to 3 mails per day for free. Activity increased again. Payments are rare, so I'll wait until I reach 10K and then up with payments again.

As I see it, we don't have anything new to offer compared to Facebook, Google +, successful local dating sites and so on. I don't believe in implementing games and such entertainment stuff. What people really want is a substitute for real life and as a consequence of this: Contact with other people! So until you have lots of members, offer that contact your self!

I have one wish pointed at Boonex: A more simple and intuitive Dolphin. More user-friendliness. Many basic movements are not intuitive enough for newcomers to Dolphin and people doesn't use more than minutes before they leave again saying: Its too complicated! I still can't wait for D8 to come.
prolaznik
If you think d7 is complicated just wait till d8 comes out lol.. D7 rolled out some two years ago, was it really usable at that time?...Remember all the alpha releases ,,betas,,...bug fixes and so on, and all that is waiting it's turn with d8.
My predictions for d8.
Add one year + before some betas roll out.
Add two more years give or take for bug fixes,/improvements.
So we are looking at about another 3 years before D8 is usable.
SOON this SOON that you forgot about that?..lol... So yeah see more i say work with what you got don't wait for something that could take years. D7 is OK now, could use some makeovers here/there but it's usable.
Good luck.
EagleII
@bengunn

I find the thread concerning FB Connect "interesting". We have it live have had it live and it works flawlessly on 7.0.8.
http://we-patriots.com ( I keep meaning to zip and donate that template to boonex for sale or give away - Alzheimer onset? Nawwwwwwwwww I'm only 64+ ( that's all you need to know (g) ).

I have learned in life - one important lesson - to make sure the "bugs I see" ain't me.... more oft than not I created the monster.

Dolphin On! see more Older - but no wiser -- yet -- a wise guy in the end. (-:
http://we-patriots.com Right winging at it best.
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