Are you tired of the worn Facebook commands: "like" and "comment"? It's OK; you can admit it. I'm with you. It's awful to visit a brand's timeline only to find dozens of "Like this if you …" posts. Yes, there's talk about new Facebook buttons, such as "want,"
but how can a brand freshen things up in the meantime?
I looked at the brands with the highest social engagement on Media Logic's Retail Social Juice Index to see how they encourage fans to join the conversation. Here are 10 other prompts (not "like," nor "comment") for brands to use as calls to action on Facebook:
1. Caption this. Caption requests are not new on Facebook, but fans still enjoy demonstrating their wit. For examples of particularly engaging photos (they received thousands of captions), check out GameStop, Foot Locker, and AutoZone.
2. Stand up and be counted. Ask for a show of hands, like Stella & Dot ("Who's with us?"), DSW ("Thumbs up if you could never, ever pick a favorite pair from your shoe collection!") and King Arthur Flour ("Who wants fried dough for breakfast?"). Turn likes into confessions as Spencer's does here: "Admit it! We've all talked in front of the fan to hear our robot voice." Or use good strong verbs for even more fun: "Holla if you're decked out in red, white and blue!" (Five Below)
3. Show us. Request fan photos for your Facebook Timeline (such as PetCo's "Show us your close-up cat pics!" and Bath & Body Works's "Show off your sale haul"). Or seek images for your Instagram account as Foot Locker does: "Tag your Instagram photos with #kickstagram @footlocker" … and then showcase selections on Timeline.
4. Debate it. Pick a topic with two clear perspectives, and encourage fans to take a side. Wet Seal asks, "Wrap-around watches: Yay or Nay?" Other variations include "agree/disagree," "true/false," and "love it/hate it"
5. Name it. Guess it. Feature close-up shots (such as Advance Auto Parts' "Name that part,"Cheaper Than Dirt's "What's it Wednesday," and Boden Clothing's "Guess the product behind the print"), and see which fans recognize it. Or take a trivia-like angle similar to that of L.L. Bean, which challenges fans to identify the location of a landscape photo, donating $1 to the National Park Foundation for each guess.
6. Choose. Fans love to state their preferences, and they lit up the comment sections of these posts: "Which would you rather rock - silver or gold?" (Nasty Gal) and, "We can't decide. Superman or Batman?" (Hot Topic).
7. Tell us. Though you can come right out and say, "Tell us," you can also imply it by posting opened ended questions: "How does your pet sleep?" (PetSmart); "How do you beat the heat?" (Walmart) and, "Think of summer - what's the first word that comes to mind?" (ModCloth).
8. Fill in the blank. Fans added thousands of comments to these fill-in-the-blank posts from brands: "Team USA's toughest opponent in London will be _____," (Foot Locker) and, "This weekend I will be playing ____," (Game Stop). If fans are passionate enough about your products, you can even get away with relating these posts to products, as these two did: "My favorite Yankee Candle summer scent is ____," and, "My first Pampered Chef product was _____."
9. Join us. Sending someone good wishes? Fans are often more than happy to join you. With Wrangler Western, fans celebrated the birthdays of one of the brand's models ("Happy Birthday to Wrangler tie-down roper and model, Stran Smith! Send your birthday wishes to Stran below."), and fans rallied with Citi Trends to send prayers to Usher during a recent family tragedy.
10. Try it. Claim it. Enjoy this. Whether you're giving away products or presenting exclusive discounts, fans love to hear about it. Green Mountain Coffee often offers free samples when it launches a flavor, and fans clamor for the loot. Look at a recent "official" Facebook offer from Bath & Body Works: "Try 1 of 3 NEW Signature fragrances from Paris, with love FREE!") It earned 1,372 comments; 7,047 likes, 12,505 shares-and more than 350K claims.
To strengthen their calls to action, many of these posts used other engagement techniques, such as fascinating photos or tie-ins with current events (the Olympics or summer heat waves, for example). But if you're tempted to boost engagement by offering incentives for participation, be careful. Awarding prizes based on certain actions—including "like" and "comment"—violates Facebook promotion guidelines.
What are some of your favorite Facebook calls to action?
Carolee Sherwood is Media Logic's conversation manager.