Six sneaky methods marketers use on Facebook

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Jay Dillon

Director of Strategy and Creative at Inbound Experts
Jay is a digital marketer and producer whose creative and technical skills have developed digital brand strategies and sales campaigns using a range of complex internet applications from stand-alone websites through to Facebook API integrations.
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For companies actively using Facebook to get the attention of consumers, the two main goals are to have consumers ‘Like’ their page and secondly to engage with the content on their wall.

Below I reveal some of the tricks that these companies use to win consumers over.

Sexy Facebook Ads

Highly targeted Facebook ads can be cleverly designed to include an image of a sexy woman (a little bit of cleavage helps). Also the text of the ad will be designed to address the users fears directly in the ad copy. For example an ad for pimple cream might have a headline like ‘What will your date think of those zits’?


When a user does click on an ad, marketers will often send users to a special tab that they have set up on their Facebook page that forces the user to ‘Like’ the page before they get access to an item the ad was promoting (eg, a video, entry into a sweepstake, e-book etc).

Hijack other audiences

The managers of the Facebook page will often ‘Tag’ (ie, mention) other Facebook pages that have a big audience. This is a way of hijacking another businesses audience. It works especially well when a brand tags a page relating to a current movement or cause that is popular (hint for marketers: Olympic games are only 6 weeks away)

Friend requests

Some companies have gone to the trouble of sending out ‘Friend Requests’ in order to get in front of their audience. For instance a Condom brand in Brazil sent out Friend Requests to young males whereby the ads were designed to look like they came from their future babies with the message ‘Avoid surprises like this one, Use Olla Condoms’.

Facebook Apps

Wrap an engaging element such as a sexy video or interactive game up in an app that requires the user to give permission for the app to collect personal data about them. The user may also be unwittingly agreeing to allow the company behind the app to post promotional messages on their wall without their permission.

Onpage Engagement

Marketers really want consumers to interact with messages posted on their wall as this increases the chances that friends of that user will also be exposed to the brand.


Sneaky methods to achieve this include:

  • Ask questions or run polls in order to elicit a response (it is innate to the human mind to want to answer a question).
  • Be controversial or say crazy, wacky things that don’t make sense simply to elicit a response.
  • Ask their followers to ‘like’ an emotional status update in a way that they can’t resist. Eg, “Brand X supports Breast Cancer Awareness, Click ‘Like’ if you do too”.


Traditionally marketers have been kept in check by a number of government regulatory bodies such as The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). And it’s true that the same regulations apply to social media networks like Facebook.

However the playing field has changed dramatically and this fast-paced global platform presents challenges for these regulatory bodies, opportunities for marketing professionals and no-protection for the unwary consumer.

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