How a Small Spice Shop got 736 Page Likes in 6 Days (Without Ads)

How a Small Spice Shop got 736 Page Likes in 6 Days (Without Ads)

I’m not gonna lie to you, I’ve been involved in projects where a new (as in *zero* Fans) Facebook Page ends the week with a couple of hundred thousand Likes.

It’s actually not that hard. No high-fives are exchanged, I’ll tell you that.

You build a campaign that includes the Facebook Page along with dropping $150k on banners on major portals and maybe some TV spots running on prime time. Of course you have to be a major brand as well, I’m talking maybe a video game console or a popular soda, maybe even a wireless communications brand.

If you and I get 200k Fans in a week, we will be crying on Oprah, wearing a funny hat.

Let’s get real now.

In the last few months we’ve experienced the crash and burn soap opera of Facebook Reach. We’re not going to get into that, it’s time to focus on how to play the game with the new rules. And the new rules of Facebook marketing indicate that this year, you will have to be a lot more creative to reach an audience, engage them and turn them into customers.

Today we are not going to talk about concepts either, I’m going to show you a real-life example of how playing your cards right can get you 736 Fans in 6 days, without running any ads.

Meet Koření od Antonína, a small and independent shop that sells spices in Prague, Czech Republic.

Koreni Facebook Page

Koření just celebrated its 15th anniversary back at the end of January 2014 (notice the date is after Reach went down), and they decided to take the celebration online to give away some prizes to its customers. In order to that, they decided to run a contest on their Facebook Page.

The goal was simple: Engage existing Fans and get new Page Likes.

Here is what they did in 5 steps:

1- Custom App

The contest was hosted inside Facebook, for this, a custom tab was created.

2- Like-Gate

In order to get new Fans, the only requirement to participate in the contest is to like the Page. So a Like-gate was set up.

Facebook Custom App with Like Gate

3- Quiz Contest

The contest was a quiz that puts the Fan’s knowledge to the test. It’s fun, it has a gaming aspect to it, and it also adds a layer of authenticity to the whole thing. If you a true Fan, you probably know your spices, right?

This means that if a person enters the contest for the sole purpose of getting a freebie, this quiz pretty much gives the true spice aficionado a clear advantage. This is actually helping you pre-qualify your Fans.

4- Virality

Let’s stay focused, when I say it’s important to have a virality component, I don’t mean we are looking for 7 million eyeballs. You are not Beyoncé.

Koření enabled its own participants to spread the promotion by awarding a “Referral Bonus” for each additional Facebook friend they refer. Now things got interesting!

Facebook Referral Bonus incentive

5- Promotion

Contests on Facebook Pages must have some type of promotion, as you probably know, the majority of the people that like your page never come back to the page itself, some say this is as low as 2%.

This means, if you don’t promote, your contest or whatever you’re doing, will be practically invisible.

Koření did 3 things to promote its contest:

  • 2 Organic posts on the Facebook Page
  • Announcement of the main website
  • Announcement in the email newsletter

That’s it. No Facebook ads.

Contest promotion post


And here is what was accomplished:


  • 1,493 visits generated from the Facebook posts, the company website and the newsletter
  • 1,300 visits were generated through the Referral Bonus incentive
  • 2,793 total tab visits

Facebook Tab traffic sources


  • 1,100 people participated in the contest
  • 760 people coming from the Page posts, website and newsletter entered and participated in the contest
  • 340 participants were recruited through the Referral Bonus
  • That’s 39.4% of the people that visited the contest tab

Like Conversion:

  • 736 people liked the Page to participate in the contest
  • 364 participants were already Fans of the Page
  • That means 736 Likes were generated out of those 2,793 for a Like Conversion of 26.4% (I know, I’m not considering that some of those visitors were already Fans of the Page)

Cost per Page Like

So far everything sounds like a big success, but we still need to look at the cost of generating those Page Likes.

As I mentioned before, there was no investment for paid media, everything was done organically through existing channels. Everything was produced in-house, so there is no cost for design either. The only cost is in the actual prizes. Here is the breakdown:

  • Marketing: $0
  • Design: $0
  • Value of prizes: $150

The promotion generated a total of 736 new Fans, that means the cost per Page Like is: $0.20

Build your own Quiz Contest for free

The Quiz Contest was built with TabFoundry, which is free. Yes. As in FREE.

  • Interesting to see real life examples that work. Thanks.

  • Very inspirational! Social media has been a great friend to small businesses and solopreneurs with little or no marketing budget.

  • HeatherF

    Thank you! This looks VERY doable! I’m coming back here once my book gets published and following this to a “T” 🙂

  • Great post Francisco! Love the screenshots. This is a great example of making Facebook work for you not against you. Your cost per page like is brilliant! You always inspire me.

  • Thank you Madalyn, you’re right, sometimes it feels like Facebook is working against you…

  • Awesome. Good luck with your book!

  • That was the point, showcasing something that you can actually do, instead of watching how Starbucks and Red Bull get bigger with budgets none of us have.

  • Finally someone gives a real life example that works…Congrats!

  • Marcy Ferro

    How did they get people to take their quiz?

  • Christine Schombert

    Thank you for spelling this out with detailed steps. Really want to run a contest, but was afraid with all the warnings. This clarified things. Thank you,

  • Glad it was helpful Christine.

  • hachesilva

    Great strategy, very detailed guide, thanks for sharing.

  • Amanda Shaw

    Excellent article—looks totally doable and I’m excited to try it!

  • Alex

    I did something similar for the company I work for (small business) and we got about 200 likes in 20 days or so. It was the first time we’ve ever done something like that and it didn’t even get a ton much promotion, but it worked out very well. This happened around December and we have retained all the new likes we got. It’s a pretty effective strategy.

  • Thanks for sharing that, the best part is the retention of those Fans.

  • Crowley Assistant

    Very insightful!

  • Abbie

    Interesting to see what organic ways businesses come up with to engage with its existing audience (and its now new ones!). Thanks for the detailed share!

  • EV

    Thanks for the post, Francisco. Any idea as to how much they invested in creating their little app? I would be curious to know the number, because that is part of the total cost of the program and should be factored to establish ROI, no?

  • Great idea. Now I have to think up one for our niche party service.

  • Venkat Reddy

    Oh Really?? I can see it though 🙂

  • Way to go Koření od Antonína!

    Their creativity went a long way and their customer acquisition thru FB was cheaper than if they purchased advertising credits for likes. Gets my brain cooking for some ideas.

    Great post 🙂

  • This clearly shows being organic and creativity goes a long way!

  • Good stuff Francisco, I’m loving the case study. Will consider how this approach may be applied to some of my local business clients – do keep me in the loop for more case studies!

  • I’m interested in knowing this number too!

  • The app is free at, you can simply sign up and build a “Quiz Contest” tab, you can follow this tutorial I’ve put together:

  • Great, thanks Francisco!

  • Kati

    Hey Francisco- great post! I have a question about the contest… I was under the impression that “Like-gating” (requiring a user to Like a page before entering a contest or accessing a key piece of content) doesn’t work consistently on mobile devices. This is a big concern for me as so much FB traffic comes in on mobile. Do you have any data on how much of the contest traffic was on mobile or any insight on whether your Like-gating process works on mobile? Thanks!

  • Andrew

    Fancisco-quick question. How do you add the viral reach functionality with TabFoundry. Was that custom code?

  • Kris

    It seems the shop is actually located in Plzeň, not Prague. I also wonder why the posts are in English? Are these mock-ups just for this article?

  • LOL .. love that gif of Pharrell – the expression says it all!!