July 13, 2011, 3:09 PM

A new site generates buzz via Facebook

Targeted ads help YouBeauty.com attract thousands of Facebook fans.

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Before launching last month, beauty and health informational content site YouBeauty.com needed to get the word out about its launch. With popular TV health expert Mehmet Oz as one of the site’s cofounders, YouBeauty wanted to inform the television host’s fans that Dr. Oz was embarking on a new endeavor, says Eric Kirsten, the site’s chief marketing officer. And the most efficient way to get that message out was Facebook.

“We thought that was the best way to find a scalable audience,” he says. Working with Extole Inc., a vendor that helps firms drive word-of-mouth referrals using giveaways on web sites and social media, YouBeauty launched a sweepstakes that offered a consumer and her guest a free three-day trip to New York to attend The Dr. Oz Show. Consumers could enter the sweepstakes by Liking the brand and clicking to complete an entry form. To entice shoppers to share news of the contest, the contest included a proviso that a consumer who referrs the winner receives a $300 L’Oreal gift bag.

To promote the contest, the site targeted consumers who had specific interests noted on Facebook, such as “health” and “wellness.” The retailer reached out to those Facebook members using Facebook Marketplace ads, which appear on one of four slots on the right side of a Facebook page under “People You May Know.”  It also targeted consumers who Like particular retailers, such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Kohl’s Corp., as well as consumers who Like Dr. Oz—and,  because there is a lot of crossover in the daytime shows consumers watch, consumers who Like other daytime personalities such as Ellen DeGeneres.

The retailer got the biggest response from the Facebook ads aimed at consumers who Like Dr. Oz, netting 4,207 new Likes. But it also gained traction from consumers who Liked The Ellen DeGeneres Show (1,421 Likes); Wal-Mart (1,417 Likes); Kohl’s (1,411 Likes); FarmVille (1,376 Likes) and The Oprah Winfrey Show (1,304 Likes).

YouBeauty experimented with featuring Dr. Oz’s image in the ad but found little impact, says Kirsten. “I expected ads featuring Dr. Oz to perform 10 times the rate of the other ads,” he says. “But it turned out what drew people in was tapping in to their interests, which Facebook’s segmentation enabled us to do.”

In the six weeks of the sweepstakes YouBeauty grew its Facebook fan base from 500 consumers to nearly 15,000.

When a consumer entered the sweepstakes, she could also click to join the YouBeauty and L’Oreal newsletter lists. For YouBeauty, newsletters offer another way to reach consumers, says Kirsten. “E-mail is an important way to distribute content in an ongoing, scheduled timeline,” he says. “It works in parallel to our Facebook communications,” he says.

Developing its e-mail subscription database from scratch, the site had 13,000 subscribers after the sweepstakes ended. L’Oreal added nearly 7,000.

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