Since reporting late last year that Facebook sharing buttons, through the Open Graph, will morph into a variety of creative verbs and nouns beyond Like, Share and Recommend, custom integrations have been gradually popping up around the Web.
Custom Facebook buttons enhance the connection between consumption and social networking, allowing consumers to express how they feel about brands and products – a trend that’s catching on thanks to Pinterest.
But just having buttons isn't enough - like any call-to-action, they should be optimized.
5 Tips for Custom Open Graph Facebook Buttons
Tip 1: Style them like a Facebook Like button
Early adopters of custom buttons must understand the average web user won't recognize these as Facebook sharing buttons right off the bat. Unless they look like Facebook buttons, customers may not understand.
Styling the button using the Like button’s color/font helps users understand what the heck they are. Though in the beginning, many will still be confused.
Another option is to incorporate the Facebook icon into the button. This example is my rendition of what it could look like for a gaming product like EA Sports MMA.
Tip 2: Put a callout on your site explaining what they are for
Deb Shops puts a hot pink callout in its navigation, so no matter where you land on the site you can click on the tab to learn more.
A landing page gives you an opportunity to create excitement around the buttons while clarifying what they mean.
Tip 3: Use this information for marketing campaigns
Personalization tools often suffer from misunderstanding true user intent. Just because someone viewed a product, doesn't mean they want to buy. They could own it, or they could be researching or comparing items.
Hypothetically, American Apparel could use its Want, Love and Have buttons to gather input from visitors that could be used for site or email merchandising.
The examples shown from American Apparel, Hayneedle and Deb Shops are powered by 8thBridge's Graphite Platform, which has the ability to feed this information back into email campaigns for better targeting.
Tip 4: More isn’t better
Be judicious in your choices of sharing buttons. Don't use too many buttons (remember the "paradox of choice.") And avoid labels that are too similar (Like and Love, for example).
Tip 5: Get Creative
Angry Birds has teamed up with MTV Voices to promote its secret level created to promote anti-cyberbullying.
Players can access the secret level only after posting a positive action on MTV's Draw Your Line app (not to be confused with Draw Something).
Notice the "I Care" button is used far more than the other available social sharing options.
Digital products enjoy even more possibilities for the Open Graph. The social hooks can be baked right into the products themselves. For example, Netflix could publish “Linda is watching Napoleon Dynamite on Netflix."
We'll be watching the unfolding applications of Facebook Open Graph.