Facebook recently announced that they are doing away with like-gating.
On Facebook, like-gating is the practice of offering incentives for users to like their Page or to use social plugins. Like-gating is also sometimes referred to as “fan-gating.”
Sometimes this is done through contests, where users need to like a page before they can enter for a chance at a prize; sometimes this is done during promotions and campaigns that promise a free sample, or perhaps a product like an e-course, to those who like your page.
At the beginning of August, Facebook informed businesses that they will have 90 days to make the change (though you can no longer start like-gating if it isn’t part of an already running campaign), and on November 5th, any existing like-gating will be disabled. You can no longer offer rewards or incentives to entice new users to like your Page.
Why Facebook is Getting Rid of Like-Gating
Facebook wants users to like—and thus connect—only with brands they are actually interested in following. They claim that this is in the best interest of both the users and the marketers, and in some ways I agree with them.
Liking a page for an incentive and then immediately hiding them from their newsfeed or unsubscribing defeats the purpose for both the users and the advertisers.
While like-gating was an extremely efficient way to reach new members of your target audience, Facebook cutting back on like-gating makes sense.
Instead of having not-so-interested users like a page for an incentive, now you will only have users who are actually interested liking brands on Facebook. This means that users are getting content that they’re actually interested in (which increases your engagement rate), and advertisers are getting users that are actually interested in their brand and product (again, increasing engagement rate).
Targeting should become more accurate, and it will likely be easier for marketers to zone in on who their target audience truly is using Audience Insights.
Especially with organic reach declining, it’s more important than ever to reach the fans that are most interested in your business instead of just having big numbers.
What It Means for You
We all have had a tendency to utilize like-gating, because up until now, it has been a great strategy to get a lot of likes quickly (though not always quality likes, but still). A lot of Facebook apps like Wishpond implement like-gating (either automatically or as an option) in order to increase your fans with each campaign they help you to run.
We will have to get creative with our methods for gaining new likes, but that’s ok, because doing so will likely bring us fans more relevant to our industry. It will be easier to connect with the people we actually want to connect with. Those fans will be more likely to convert.
And for all those who are writing off Facebook contests, don’t. Facebook contests or offers can still be used to glean powerful information, just not likes anymore. You can still offer incentives with a Facebook contest and require that they leave their e-mail or conact information in order to participate. You may not be getting a like, but you’ll be getting one more e-mail subscriber and a more solid lead.
There have been a lot of mixed reactions since Facebook’s announcement on the upcoming ban of like-gating.
To hear what 17 experts in the field have to say about how the like-gating ban will affect you, click here.
How to Get The Likes Without Using Like-Gating
Now that Facebook is eliminating like-gating, we will need to rely on other reliable methods to continue to increase our reach and engagement on Facebook.
Fortunately there are a lot of tried and true white-hat methods we can use to get new fans and followers. It will be harder to get big numbers fast, but we’ll all have to get more creative.
Make your content an incentive: No, you can no hold contests and have the allure of a potential prize if you just like your page. You can’t offer direct incentives for those likes. You can, however, make your content an incentive of its own. By making your content so good no one wants to miss it, they will like your page and follow your posts carefully without you having to offer them something extra.
Use Facebook Ads: Facebook’s Ad system is a great way to connect with new fans and leads. They have an ad objective designed to get your page new likes. All you have to do is target users in your ideal target audience that you aren’t already connected with and run a great campaign. With like-gating done away with on Facebook, Facebook Ads could rise even higher on the list of how to get new likes than it already is. By forcing advertisers to get rid of like-gating, Facebook may be trying to force an increase in marketers utilizing their paid ad system.
To discover how to increase your ROIs using Facebook ads, you can sign up for our FB Ads Formula here.
Focus on the fans you already have: Organic reach is declining, and it’s hard enough to reach the fans you already have, let alone reaching new ones. Create content that is valuable and relevant to those already engaged with your business and page. If you create good enough content, users will share it with their friends, helping new fans like your page.
Use form-gating instead of like-gating: As mentioned above, just because you can’t entice users to like your page with an incentive, it doesn’t mean that you can’t entice them to leave behind their contact information. Not only will they maybe like your page anyways, just for kicks, you’ll also be getting their information to contact them more directly and personally.