You’re probably already building a community of fans & brand advocates on Facebook. Many companies large and small have had enormous success creating social buzz around their brands. For example, Mountain Dew has over 4 million FB fans – that’s a lot of loyal soda drinkers. This was largely accomplished by giving fans the opportunity to participate in the direction of the product by letting them vote on new flavors and bottle designs, as well as offering promotions like free music downloads.
Other brands like Skittles and Oreo have also leveraged this social network space with thoughtful ingenuity and creative prowess. Photo contests, games and competitions, as well as off-the-wall posts, big giveaways, and outrageously wild graphics have engaged their market and created thriving communities (more like large cities) based around the brand.
Maybe you’re not ready to go that wild and crazy, but wouldn’t it be nice if you had a tighter link between your eCommerce site and your Facebook community? Facebook has spent the last couple of years finding more ways to create links between people and the products, services, and interests relevant to them - resulting in the Facebook Open Graph.
What is Facebook Open Graph?
Open Graph is a social platform that allows information sharing through sites and apps, linking peoples’ interests and tastes by using social plug-ins. The most common use of Open Graph is the recognizable Like button that seems to be embedded in more and more places outside of Facebook. This ubiquitous Like insignia is found on news articles and blogs, next to products, videos, music…any online commodity you can imagine. When a viewer clicks Like for one of these things, a connection is made between your information and them; your page will appear in the “Likes and Interests” section of the user’s profile, and you’ll have the ability to send them targeted content based on their preferences.
Active endorsements of your products via customers “liking” them and leaving comments versus just passively viewing them, not only gives your customers a voice, it gives you access to their preferences and those of their Facebook friends, to better tailor content to your audiences.
Implementing the Open Graph Protocol
The Open Graph Protocol isn’t difficult to implement. But, like many things technical, there are right ways and wrong ways to do it.