Facebook Marketing: Life After “Like Gate”

By on October 22, 2014

Just in case you haven’t gotten the memo yet, by November 5, Facebook will close the “Like Gate” shut. This means Pages will no longer be allowed to require users to like their pages in order to see content, join a contest, access an app, or get a reward.

In Facebook’s own words:

You must not incentivize people to use social plugins or to like a Page. This includes offering rewards, or gating apps or app content based on whether or not a person has liked a Page. It remains acceptable to incentivize people to login to your app, checkin at a place or enter a promotion on your app’s Page. To ensure quality connections and help businesses reach the people who matter to them, we want people to like Pages because they want to connect and hear from the business, not because of artificial incentives. We believe this update will benefit people and advertisers alike.

The Facebook like gate has been quite popular among Facebook marketers for years as an effective way to get more fans. However, although some Page owners have expressed alarm over the imminent loss of the use of the like gate, there are others who do not feel affected. At all.

For starters, Facebook’s clamp down on organic reach has resulted in diminishing the value of new fans. Just think about it…

…of what value are new fans if the chances are higher of fans NOT seeing your content on their news feed versus them seeing it? Given those odds, it’s a better investment of time and other resources to do a Facebook ad campaign instead…

… which may just be what Facebook wants to happen.

Another reason why losing the Facebook like gate is not too upsetting to some Page owners is the observation that, in cases where the give-away is not related to the product or service, a lot of the new fans gained through like-gating are usually just there for the freebies.

But, in addition to all the reasons mentioned earlier, the less obvious to most is the fact that there are better ways to build fans for your Pages than like-gating.

Here are a few of them:

#1. Paying for Facebook advertising.

According to the Social Advertising Benchmark Report by The Salesforce Marketing Cloud, 1.28 billion users are active on Facebook in an average month. Of that number, more than a billion users access Facebook via Mobile. Given these numbers, you can’t really hate on Facebook for shutting down the Like Gate in favor of Facebook Ads. That’s a lot of potential revenues right there….

…AND, your customers really are on Facebook. You just need them to see your message. The best way to do that? Pay Facebook to give you that reach. It gets even better with the introduction of Ad Sets. This will allow you to better align your ad targeting, creative optimization and campaign goals.

#2. Redoing the Way You’ve Been Running Contests and Promotions

Swap asking for Likes with data, like email addresses, when running contests and promos. Likes don’t really count for much unless you can convert them into something that eventually generates revenues. Building up an email list, on the other hand, provides you with a good database for future marketing efforts.

#3. Form-Gating

Requiring your users to fill out a form as a “gate” to joining a contest or getting a freebie gets you that much closer to understanding your target market. When you understand your market better, it becomes easier to match what you offer with what they find of value.

#4. Crafting more compelling content

One of the changes I’m looking forward to with the scrapping of like-gating is getting better quality social media posts. Without the ability to incentivize “Likes”, the pressure is high for page managers to come up with engaging content to attract people to their Pages. That can be a very good thing and can pave the way for a more interesting and meaningful user experience overall with Facebook Page interactions.

It is likely that the loss of the “Like Gate” may be mourned by some marketers. But, to paraphrase a popular saying, “When Facebook closes a gate, it opens many doors and windows.”

Will you be among those who will mourn the loss of the Like Gate? How do you think will this affect your Facebook Page?

Let us know what you think through the comment section below.

 

 

About John Souza

John Souza is founder and chief strategist of SMMU and Social Media Impact, and is a bestselling business author. He won the 2011 Tech Marketing Awards ‘Social Media Marketer of the Year’ and most recently the About.com Reader’s Choice Award for Best Online Education Site. John has appeared on The Michael Gerber Show, and his business has been honored at the Mashable Awards, Forbes Business Awards and The Stevie Awards.
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