What the End of Facebook Like-Gating Means to You

On November 5, 2014, Facebook ended the conventional fan-building method of ‘like-gating’, much to the chagrin of many social media marketers and business owners. Businesses that used the like-gating tactic were informed through an update in Facebook’s Platform Policy that it would no longer allow them to require people to ‘like’ a page in order to access games, apps, content, contests, and the like. Opinions are split on whether or not it was a good move, but do ‘likes’ even matter anymore?

Facebook explained that, in a nutshell, the reason they made the move to dispense with like-gating is because they believe that likes should mean something. If people like a page because they’ve been incentivised, it weakens the importance of the like, and that is no good for businesses that engage in social media marketing (as they all should). After all, the number of likes (fans) a company has is important to its social clout. However, it’s not the end-all some people make it out to be either. There are myriad ways around Facebook’s big change.

What It Means to You

If your business was one that used the like-gating method, now is the time to infuse some creativity into your marketing campaign. Since you can no longer depend on visitors to click ‘like’ to access your information, you have to begin to think outside the box in order to win them over. Here are a few innovative alternatives to Facebook’s like-gating.

  • Capitalise on your email list: Your subscribers most likely already see a Facebook link in the emails you send them, but do you tell them ‘why’ they should like your Facebook page? Can they get more valuable content? Are there Facebook-exclusive incentives? Sell your Facebook page to your email subscribers.
  • Referral rewards: Offer followers an incentive to share your Facebook page with their followers. Do this by presenting a discount or other perk and allowing them to share it with their friends. If a referral makes a purchase, reward the person who shared your offer with an additional bonus.
  • Tweet it instead: Twitter still allows a form of like-gating, so use it. Send out a tweet that offers an entry into a contest or other incentive for those who retweet and follow your business Twitter account. Since all of your social media accounts work together, eventually some of your Twitter followers will also migrate to your Facebook page.
  • Refocus unsubscribes: When people unsubscribe from your email list, include an option to like you on Facebook. That way, they won’t receive your emails any longer, but you’re still maintaining a connection to them.
  • Optimise for mobile: As of September 30, 2014, Facebook has 12 billion mobile users, 703 million of whom are active daily users. Make sure that all of your interactions (ads, links, custom FB tabs) are optimised for the mobile market.

So, Facebook ended the like-gating option. It’s not a death knell for your social media marketing campaign. Instead, it’s an opportunity to focus more energy on legitimate engagement, which yields more consistent ROI in the long run.