social media how toAre you curious what other companies are doing to achieve success with Facebook marketing? You’ve come to the right place.

This article highlights nine companies (big and small) that have transformed their Facebook presence by implementing innovative Facebook marketing practices.

You’re guaranteed to find inspiration for your Facebook marketing efforts here.

These tactics will work for just about any business—large or small, B2B or B2C. So let’s dig in!

#1: Cheese & Burger Society

The Cheese & Burger Society is sponsored by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board. This page is an innovative way to promote Wisconsin cheese by talking about something many people love—burgers and grilling.

One savvy practice introduced here is fan gating. Fan gating, also known as “like gating,” is where you require visitors to become a fan of your page to gain access to special content, discounts or contests.

If you use a contest for fan gating, make sure you abide by Facebook’s terms of service. These articles can help: Mari Smith (compliance) and Sara Hawkins (legal promotions).

cheese contest

This contest brought 1000s of new fans for The Cheese & Burger Society

To increase engagement, Cheese & Burger Society created a Send to a Friend app, allowing fans to send a cheeseburger to their friends. This is fun, easy and promotes viral visibility.

cheeseburger to chris

The Send to a Friend app makes it easy to connect with a friend in a fun way

The Cheese & Burger Society also encourages fans to post pictures. Photos and videos get a better EdgeRank (Facebook’s algorithm for determining what shows up on your fans’ news feeds) and people love to share photos.

In fact, approximately 6 billion photos are shared on Facebook each month according to Pixable. For some tips on how to take full advantage of photos on your page, see this article by Debbie Hemley.


Fans love posting pictures of themselves

Key Takeaways:

  1. Elevate the conversation to topics larger than your specific brand or niche.
  2. Find creative ways to engage your audience with photos and contests.
  3. If appropriate, develop an app to encourage fans to share your content (e.g., Send to a Friend).

#2: IdeaPaint

IdeaPaint is a B2B company that sells a specialty paint that converts walls and other spaces into a dry-erase writing surface, eliminating the need for hanging white boards and opening up creative space.

In keeping with their creative purpose and mission, IdeaPaint makes innovative use of their welcome tab by creating hot spots with links to their social sites. This promotes interactivity. The exploratory user will also find a link for a coupon.

Idea Paint's welcome page

Idea Paint's welcome page is loaded with discreet hotspots

idea paint coupon

Find the "Download" button and find this clever coupon.

A key to building long-term customer loyalty is to give your customers a good first experience with your product or service. IdeaPaint does this by providing detailed videos on their Facebook page on how to install and use their product.

Idea Paint videos

Idea Paint provides a variety of instructional and inspirational videos.

IdeaPaint integrates several social components in their Facebook videos. In addition to the Like button, they use the Send button, which enables you to directly send the link to your friends. The Facebook comment section allows people to make comments that will show up on their wall.

Idea Paint comments

Look at the smart social integration on this video.

Another smart tactic employed by IdeaPaint is their use of NetworkedBlogs to automatically pull their blog posts to a dedicated tab. Additionally, they manually add their posts to their wall. As explained by Mari Smith, this will enhance your news feed. (Get a free class here from Mari on Facebook News Feed Optimization. See the yellow box.)

Key Takeaways:

  1. Use hot spots on your welcome page to integrate your other online sites.
  2. Use videos to instruct and inspire, taking advantage of comments.
  3. Integrate your blog manually and automatically with your Facebook page.

#3: American Express Open Forum

American Express has created a forum just for small business owners and leaders. Through a strategic partnership with Facebook, they created a massive contest for small businesses that generated lots of interest and increased their fan base. Note the importance of having a valuable prize ($20,000).

open contest

This contest brought lots of new small business fans to Amex.

A key to creating ongoing engagement on your wall is to use variety in your posts. Notice how Amex uses questions, quotes and articles to engage their fans. It’s also important to use shorter posts. Buddy Media found that posts with 80 characters or fewer get 27% greater engagement than longer posts.

open variety

Notice the variety in these 3 posts.

American Express also cleverly integrated their rewards program so people can redeem points for Facebook ads. Maybe you can’t leverage a deal with Facebook, but perhaps this kind of rewards incentive might get you thinking about partnership opportunities you’ve been overlooking.

open incentives

This partnership with Facebook helps small business owners.

Amex features their authors and articles through some savvy Facebook integration. This requires special programming, but gives contributors the notoriety they deserve.

open blog

Amex features their experts and ads variety with polls and video clips.

Key takeaways:

  1. Integrate your blog with your Facebook page.
  2. Create variety in your posts.
  3. Form strategic partnerships that benefit your fans.

#4: Banez Insurance Agency

Banez Insurance Agency is a local Farmers Insurance agency in Stockton, California. This small business is doing a number of things smart marketers should study.

Ron Banez is the owner of this insurance agency. He makes an immediate impression on his welcome page by doing two things: 1) Making a charitable donation for every Like and 2) using a video.

banez donation

Notice Ron's disclaimer.

A few things to notice on his wall: First, observe how Ron has taken advantage of the photo strip by creating 5 interchangeable photos that reinforce his core messaging. Here’s a helpful article on optimizing your photo strip.

banez wall

Banez insurance makes good use of their photo strip.

Next, observe how Ron incorporated his photo in his profile image, enabling him to use his headshot as his avatar when interacting on his Facebook wall. In a relationship-based business like insurance, it’s important for people to see you’re a person.

Additionally, see how the profile image points you toward the links below it. This subtle guidance will keep visitors on your page longer, increasing the likelihood they will engage with you as a fan.

Finally, this page makes a great use of the tabs. Through the tabs you can get a quote, learn about insurance products and enter a contest.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Take advantage of the photo strip for messaging.
  2. Draw attention to your tabs.


PETCO is a national pet supply store. They have masterfully integrated their store on Facebook, allowing greater social engagement. See how it allows fans to tell their friends which products they like, even as they shop.

NOTE: Mari Smith recommends TabJuice as a great service for small businesses wanting to set up a store on Facebook.

petco store

PETCO makes it easy to share your favorite products with your Facebook friends.

Everyone wants fan engagement, but few companies tell their audience the rules of engagement. PETCO does it in a friendly, but direct, manner.

petco rules

PETCO's engagement guidelines are clear and lighthearted.

As an example of fan gating, PETCO shows you the benefits of becoming a fan: access to coupons, news and Facebook-only contests.

petco like

PETCO makes it easy to see the benefits of liking their page.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Integrate your store with Facebook.
  2. Tell fans the rules of engagement on your page.
  3. Make clear the benefits of liking your page.

#6: Red Bull

Red Bull is a popular energy drink that has built a very strong fan base. Let’s study some of their smart practices.

Upon your first visit to their page, you can’t avoid their strong, but fun, call to action. If their power of suggestion isn’t enough, they also provide a subtle hint as to what’s waiting for you when you become a fan (notice the grayed-out videos). This is a powerful alternative to PETCO’s approach of listing the benefits. Determine which approach makes more sense for your business.

red bull welcome

The grayed out area shows you what you're missing until you like Red Bull.

The more you can get fans returning to your page and lingering, the greater the likelihood they’ll tell their friends about you and eventually choose your products and services.

Red Bull developed a series of games and a TV channel for this very reason. While you may not have the budget to hire game developers or start your own TV channel, this might inspire some creative thinking on how to keep fans returning to your page.

red bull games

Red Bull has created games to keep fans returning to their page.

red bull tv

Red Bull also has their own TV channel.

Depending on your brand, it might be valuable to find ways to meet your fans in person. The Events tab can be a powerful way to let your fans know where to find you. Red Bull makes a great use of this.

red bull events

Some of the places Red Bull fans can gather.

Look at a couple of things about Red Bull’s tabs. They have creatively integrated their logo on their iFrame tabs. However, the Events tab gets lost due to the number of tabs they have. This highlights an important lesson: think carefully about the order of your tabs.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Don’t be afraid to be bold and creative when asking for a Like.
  2. Find innovative ways to keep fans on your page through games, TV, apps, videos, photos, etc.
  3. Use the Events tab to allow fans to find you face-to-face./li>

#7: Toll Booth Saddle Shop

Toll Booth Saddle Shop is a local horse supply shop in Mt. Holly, NJ (suburb of Philadelphia). This small business has built a loyal following by utilizing several smart Facebook strategies.

On their welcome page, they provide a clear overview of why a fan would want to Like their page and keep returning. Make sure to put your URL in the About section. As a physical business, you can create a Facebook Places page by merely including your address in your profile, thus allowing for check-ins.

The design of Toll Booth's welcome page is fitting for horse lovers.

Toll Booth’s store experience is highly social, allowing customers to tell their friends about their favorite items. Additionally, they provide an added benefit for following their page: a 10% discount automatically deducted when you shop in their Facebook store. That’s some easy money!

Toll Booth's store

See how they've made their shopping social.

On Toll Booth’s welcome page they also encourage you to sign up for their mailing list, telling you why you might want to do that. They have made it easy by using an iFrame app that links their list with Constant Contact.

Toll Booth's mailing

Integration with your mailing list can be easy with an app.

Toll Booth Saddle Shop keeps their page fun by incorporating a humorous series of horse videos each week. This is a great strategy to keep the interest of young and old customers alike. Many parents prefer shopping in places where their children enjoy themselves.


Fun videos increase engagement.

harold announce

Toll Booth announces the fun video.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Utilize Facebook Places.
  2. Integrate social proof into your store—and give discounts to your fans.
  3. Have fun with your videos.

#8: Threadless

Threadless is a community-based online t-shirt company. They invite artists to create t-shirt designs and then sell the ones selected by fans. As you can imagine, their fans are very engaged (as noted by every post having comments).

A design-based company should utilize their graphic capabilities to keep their site interesting. Threadless does this by regularly changing their photo strip images and rotating various profile images.


Great graphics make your page stand out.

Threadless has found ways to segment their audience by interest and location. To differentiate interest groupings, they have developed separate pages for things like Kids and Design. Threadless has done an amazing job of taking their community off the Internet to communities around the globe through meetups.

threadless pages

Targeting different interests.

threadless meetups

Targeting fans by location.

Threadless sells most of their products online, so it’s vital to have compelling photos. But they establish their brand as “by the people for the people” by using real people as their models and having fun.

threadless photos

Threadless uses everyday people to sell their products.

threadless photos

More examples of how Threadless uses everyday people.

One of Threadless’ trademarks is their customer involvement in the design and selection process of their business.

Many businesses could benefit from these principles by running contests or challenges where you invite your customers to develop a new product, process or concept. Then have your fans vote on their favorites.

threadless design

T-shirt challenges provide ways to engage the creative powers of the Threadless community.

threadless leaderboard

The leaderboard encourages community participation.

Key takeaways:

  1. Allow your fans to help define your business by letting them design and vote on your products.
  2. Use pictures to enhance the online shopping experience.
  3. Build and deepen your community through cross-promoting related pages and meetups.

#9: Skittles

Skittles is a colorful candy company that uses Facebook to reinforce their fun-loving, wacky culture.

On their welcome page they provide several opportunities to further engage their brand. They offer social buttons, links to memorable ads and the chance to “Experience the Rainbow” (a link back to their website). Additionally, they have a rotating “fan of the week,” who happens to be a comedian showing up in a variety of fun settings.


Skittles provides integration with their other media on their welcome page.

Skittles also has a set of guidelines that are short, clear and fun.

skittles rules

The Skittles rules of engagement are fun, but clear.

Finally, Skittles has developed a unique voice for their wall posts. They always speak in the first person. The posts are personal, playful and creative. Fans are encouraged to engage with each other directly.

Key takeaways:

  1. Integrate social buttons on your welcome tab.
  2. Make your guidelines fun and friendly.
  3. Keep your posts personal, playful and creative.

Want to Learn More About Facebook Marketing?

If you’re not taking full advantage of Facebook’s marketing power, don’t worry. You’re not alone. Many businesses are still just getting started with Facebook marketing.

There’s one simple way to take your Facebook marketing efforts to the next level. By attending the web’s largest online Facebook marketing conference, Facebook Success Summit 2011, you’ll become empowered to use Facebook to increase your fan base, better engage your customers and improve your sales.

You’ll be learning from 19 Facebook marketing experts. Join Guy Kawasaki, Mari Smith, Dave Kerpen, Robert Scoble, Michael Stelzner and experts from Intel, Applebee’s, PETCO and Intuit as they reveal proven Facebook marketing tactics at Facebook Success Summit 2011.

It’s the web’s largest online Facebook marketing conference. Go here for a sample class and to learn more.

What do you think about these Facebook pages? Have you tried any of these techniques? How did it go? Let us know! Please leave your comments in the box below.

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  • Jay Dave

    Ideal Paint uses the proven technologies and strategies to first by doing video marketing to tell their prospects that what they do and how they do it. AMEX is really driving the expected results to their customers/small business owners by posting their articles on their blog. AMEX brings an innovative idea their real customers can submit articles to their site so there will be no any 0% chances of re-written articles or spamming.

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  • PhilMershon

    Good points, Jay. Thanks!

  • Jeff Korhan

    Phil – You sure know how to get your articles read.  Opening with the photo of that tasty burger was pure genius!

  • Nick Pecastaing

    Nice examples, I’m going to mention it in my presentation on social media at tomorrow’s National Tribal Tourism Conference in Ft McDowell AZ.

  • PhilMershon

    Thanks, Jeff. Kind of hard to work after seeing that! :)

  • PhilMershon

    That’s great! Hope it goes well.

  • Jason Boies

    Wow, a treasure trove of great ideas here, Phil. :)

    Thanks for this.

    Jason Boies

    Radian6 Community Team

  • Mari Smith

    Excellent selection of successful Facebook pages, Phil!! Great wide variety too – so much here that businesses of all sizes can emulate and implement. :)

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  • PhilMershon

    Thanks so much, Jason!

  • PhilMershon

    Thanks for your tips, Mari!

  • Ttrevor

    I thought this webinar was really informative.  It still amazes me how much Facebook has done for marketers regardless of product, service or industry.  The bottom line is that customers will advocate for you and interact with you if you make it fun, easy and worthwhile.  Thanks for a great hour, Mari and Michael!

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  • Dexter Eugenio

    thanks for the write up Phil.

    you’ve included some links that I’ve been searching for recently and have now bookmarked (constant contact, mari’s ad info, etc)

    i took a lot from this.  :)

  • Diane

    Wow there’s lots of fantastic ideas here to work from.  This is a great resource for a company like mine who is just starting out on Facebook.  It would take my business to a whole new level.  Thank you.

  • Mike McDonald

    Clever stuff. I always thought “fan gating” was a bit intrusive, requiring someone to “Like” something before they really explore the page and get to decide if they do, in fact, like it. But there’s no denying the effectiveness of the strategy. 

  • Ashley

    Facebook has allowed us to have such fun with marketing. I love it!

  • social traffic

    Thanks for the ideas.  It was great to see a smaller and very niche company like the Toll Booth Saddle Shop can have a successful following through social media marketing.

  • Juan Felix

    hi Phil, valuable content as ever. Thanks for your informative post. It shows 9 clever ways businesses can differentiate their positioning with customized Facebook pages.

  • Carrie

    Thanks for sharing.
    And Could you share more tips for luxury brand,like watch?

  • PhilMershon

    Glad it helped, Dexter!

  • PhilMershon

    I agree Diane. Hope it goes well for you.

  • PhilMershon

    It can feel awkward at first, but if you think about it as taking the first step in starting a relationship it changes your mindset. 

  • PhilMershon

    Yes. What’s fun is that their local news heard that we covered them and now they’ve gained more attention from the Philadelphia area!

  • PhilMershon

    Thanks Juan!

  • PhilMershon

    I think most of these ideas would be relevant. For more ideas, I suggest you post the question on our Facebook wall and you’ll get some great ideas from other fans.

    Thanks for asking!

  • Shilpi Roy – Virtual Assistant

    Hi Phil,

    Wow, lots to digest. Thanks for generously sharing this useful info. Especially appreciate the acknowledgment that for success stories of Facebook, the goal may not be tens of thousands of fans but a few hundred solid ones.

  • Berenice

    Hi Phil
    Thanks a lot for this. Any B2B and European examples? Enjoy your day,

  • Matt Chandler

    A nice blend of famous and not so famous FB pages here.  The Red Bull is a popular one I show to clients to showcase a fun yet engaging capture page.

  • Sarah Parker

    Thanks for these, there are some I have never seen before. I think the retail brands could benefit from f-commerce, if done properly…

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  • PhilMershon

    Thanks. Of course, Mari Smith keeps saying that somewhere in the 500 to 1000 fans starts a tipping point, so don’t give up if you only have a couple hundred!

  • PhilMershon

    Red Bull is a European company. American Express Open Forum and Idea Paint are both B2B.

    You might also check out the winners of our top 10 small biz Facebook page contest. There were some more examples there:

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  • Sheldon

    You can get more Facebook fans/ likes at, they are great!

  • Particia

    Hello Phil. The Cheese & Burger society’s concept is sorta original. I’m wondering, that burger is a virtual one right? Anyways, I’ve seen the Red Bull page metnioned before and for design and functionality, it’s the BESt one that I’ve ever seen.

  • Prasant Naidu

    Amazing example of how SME’s have used simple things and have build their small community. Really like it and the selection of B2B examples in the list really makes a quite cool article. I have one small question for you Phil any article that tells me how to add hot spots on the landing page :)

  • John Kavan

    The power of advertisement is great on television but it is even great on the internet. It is because of social media, making your customers be interactive with your products is so effective. It’s because they get the chance to share their experience. This article teaches me a lot. So happy you have this topic.

  • John Kavan

    The power of advertisement is great on television but it is even great
    on the internet. It is because of social media, making your customers be
    interactive with your products is so effective. It’s because they get
    the chance to share their experience. This article teaches me a lot. So
    happy you have this topic.

  • Ann Velez

    Is there any  cost/benefit info? What is the increase in sales that go with these cool pages?

  • Ted E. Bear Hollow

    I love all of the SocialMedia Examiner stuff. However, what I would like to see is some MORE stuff, because I know that you all have done some in the past, but maybe a line-up of stuff regarding low cost, non-profit social media marketing successes. It’s great to see what Skittles, etc. is doing and to hear about fan-gating, but when you are a development coordinator at a children’s grief center you sort of have to filter through all of it and say, “What can I take away from this.” Truth is, most of the time I have to say, “Not much” because of who we are.

    A number: 1.2 million non-profits. That was in 2004. Now, I’m not going to take the time to go out and find out whether that number is going up or down and I have been out and about and I can tell you that most non-profits around Omaha don’t know what they are doing when it comes to social media stuff. I will also say that a cause like yourselves can be of great help to these folks that don’t know anything about social media. Therefore, because there is a saturation of uneducated or undereducated individuals in the private sector maybe its time that Social Media Examiner spend a bit of time there.

    What say you? :)

  • Edith Camerik

    Nice inspirational article for Facebook pioneers

  • broken bow cabins

    It is always good to know the success stories of such great people as these stories motivate you to more and more good work and also promote your business well.

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  • Phoebe Mckay

    I just got a $829.99 iPad2 for only $103.37 and my mom got a $1499.99 HDTV for only $251.92, they are both coming with USPS tomorrow. I would be an idiot to ever pay full retail prices at places like Walmart or Bestbuy. I sold a 37″ HDTV to my boss for $600 that I only paid $78.24 for. I use (Bidsget) . (com)

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  • Guest

    We have the same question as Prasant with regard to how to add hot spots on the landing page.  Do you have any other articles that explain this?

  • Yireh Enterprises, Inc

    Hi Andrew,
       You may want to subscribe to Samaritan’s Purse ( to see how their non-profit org has implemented many of the concepts described above and in other articles by SME (such as the “Top 10 Facebook Pages for 2011” in SME’s Reviews section). 

       Samaritan’s Purse does a great job of cross-linking Facebook stories/posts with videos on their YouTube channel, and getting fan involvement by asking questions like this one Monday morning (Sep 19):   What is your prayer request today? Leave it in the comments, and when you pray for others, “like” their comment. Click “share” to spread the prayer chain. 
       I thought this was a really creative way of getting folks to utilize the Like and Share features of FB.

    Hope this helps!

    Kind Regards,
    Michele Kincaid

  • Farrel Brest

    This is great. I’ve learnt mucho! Gracias!

  • Terry

    Any Hotel examples?


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  • Jessica Scharhag

    These are some awesome ideas!

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  • shoaglund

    Ran across this looking for inspiration — some really great examples here of larger and small scale companies using fb successfully. Thanks! 

    steph h 

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  • David Leonard

    Very insightful article…these are great examples to model after

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  • Rick Dugmore

    I love all of the insights you have given in this article. I was thinking about using Amazon to sell and ship my new t-shirt line. Need to get started on the trademark as well!