Facebook like-gate advice

3 CEOs share their best alternative to using a Facebook like-gate

Facebook recently announced they were banning the use of like-gating on Facebook Pages starting November 5, 2014.

This was a shock for a lot of businesses that have a Facebook Page because it meant they needed to make changes to their Facebook marketing strategy and find new ways to get people to like their Facebook Page.

While this affected businesses that manage a Facebook Page, how did it affect companies that specialize in tools to help you create Facebook landing pages?

I put together a list of alternatives to using a like-gate to attract new likes on your Facebook Page.

But I wanted to hear from the companies that create Facebook landing page tools to find out what changes they would make to help attract new likes or fans to their Facebook Pages.

To help you understand their approach to like-gating on Facebook, I gathered three of the top companies and asked them what they would do differently now that you won’t be allowed to use like-gating on Facebook landing pages.

Moving away from like-gating

While the announcement that like-gating was dead may come as a bit of a shock to businesses, this didn’t come as a surprise to many of the landing page companies.

Many of them were already moving beyond just offering tools to create Facebook landing pages.

For example, Shortstack recently launched a new campaign builder to help you go beyond just creating landing pages on Facebook.

They now allow you to build campaigns to use anywhere that can help you grow your fanbase.

Why like-gating isn’t a big deal

Earlier this year, Facebook launched a redesign of Facebook Pages.

When this initially launched, Facebook landing pages were initially removed from the new redesign and re-added later.

This was a clear indicator that Facebook might be making further changes to landing pages.

Couple that with the fact that Facebook has been making subtle changes such as removing the ability to set a default landing page over the past few years and you can clearly see that like-gating was bound to go away sooner or later.

So what are the CEO’s who create social media tools to help you create Facebook landing pages, contests, and promotions doing instead of using a like-gate? Let’s find out.

3 CEO’s share their best Facebook like-gate advice

Replace Your Like-Gating with “Action-Gating”

Shortstack founder, Jim BelosicJim Belosic, CEO of Shortstack

Action-Gating is when you reward a user after they fill out a form, signup for a newsletter, vote or perform some other action. For example, “Enter your email address in order to download our latest ebook.”
Some popular action-gating techniques include gathering demographic information, email addresses, newsletter signups, voting and user generated content submissions. Instead of forcing people to like your page, you’re collecting marketing data and leads. Action-gating doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing deal either. You can design the “gate” so that the user can submit as much or as little as they wish. If you have 5 form fields, try rewarding them for filling out more of the form. For example, “Fill out your email address to get a 5% off coupon. Complete all the fields and get up to 15% off!”
In the end, most brands will see that their like counts will continue to climb. Perhaps the increase may be a bit slower, but the reward is a more engaged audience and more actionable data.

Change is the name of the game!

Tabsite co-founder, Mike GingerichMike Gingerich, Co-founder of Tabsite

Change is the name of the game!  Now Facebook Page Admins will be required to move on past “Like-gating” and really I think it’s a good thing.

The reason it’s good is because a “Like Gate” could, at best, simply build your fan count.   At worst, it inflated your Page numbers and contributed to bad spends on ads targeting fans who weren’t really interested fans!  It wasn’t really a lead, and if your Facebook reach was down, then you were still going to have trouble reaching that fan in the future anyway.  Alternatively, a “form gate” provides a company a tangible asset, a name and email address.  This is a true lead and something that can then be used to reach the person in an ongoing way via email marketing.

Within TabSite we added a “Form Gate” this past spring for the simple reason that it is more valuable to get a name and email address than to simply get a fan. As well, we had more users embedding our apps on their website as opposed to only using it on a tab in Facebook and thus the “Form Gate” made more sense outside of Facebook.  A Form Gate is a simple form (such as name and email address) that a user must submit before they can access the content on the app.  This shift from Facebook is a logical next step for Facebook as they seek to try and keep the fan/page relationship as authentic as possible.  For marketers, it’s a reminder to think “holistically” with their online marketing.  Do not just think about “Facebook Marketing” but rather how your entire online marketing fits together.  This means connecting quality content on your blog and campaigns that capture leads, and then nurturing those leads with email marketing and social media engagement over time to develop a true customer community.   Relevant incentives that are connected to your product and service that are accessed after completing a form can be a great first step alternative to those who need to move beyond the Like Gate!

Getting Facebook likes in a subtle way

Nathan Latka - CEO of Heyo!Nathan Latka, Founder of Heyo!

Although Facebook has banned the use of like-gates, there are other ways you can still collect relevant likes.

Let’s look at an example from the King Tut’s Facebook Page. When they ran their campaign, initially, they also put a like-gate on the promotion which required that people like their page in order to reveal the promotion.

Starting November 5, under Facebook’s new rules, this functionality will no longer work. You also cannot create any new fangated pages as of today.

What can you do to get people to like your Facebook Page instead of a like-gate?

Like-gate example - King Tuts

Can I still ask people to like a contest or promotion as long as it’s not a like gate?

Yes, as long as liking or sharing is not a requirement to enter a content or promotion.

From Facebook:

It remains acceptable to incentivize people to login to your app, checkin at a place or enter a promotion on your app’s Page.

Lets look at a different way that King Tut’s can run a campaign and still collect likes from fans using Heyo!

Like-gate example - King Tuts

In this example, King Tut’s used the Heyo Sweepstakes template which requires people to enter their email to win a prize and then encourages, but does not require, people to like, share, and tweet the campaign. Under Facebook’s new guidelines, this is allowed.

The use of social sharing is a good technique to follow. This is because it allowed King Tut’s to avoid having to pay to promote their app in order to get traffic.

Instead, people could enter the promotion using their email address.

To increase (but not require) people to like their Facebook Page, they includes an optional Facebook like button.

In this example, this campaign resulted in 4,640 free views to the campaign (all with no ads) and 2,668 email opt ins (57.5% conversion).

Will Facebook continue making it harder for small businesses to have success on the platform?

I would watch Facebook very carefully over the next couple of quarters to see if they further restrict the ability for Facebook Pages to have organic success in an effort to boost advertising revenues.

Facebook beat Wall Street estimates in their recent earnings call, so I don’t see this squeeze coming in the next 3-5 months.

How to capitalize on changes to like-gating

While these are just some of the ways you can continue to grow your fanbase without using a like-gate, AgoraPulse had this to say on growing a fanbase.

One thing is for sure, they will all take (or continue to take) directions that take them away from dependency on “Facebook only.” Source

What this means for you as a business owner is that instead of relying on Facebook contests and promotions to drive new likes, continue to use Facebook but also look for other areas to help you grow your fanbase.

Your turn

If you found this Facebook like-gate advice helpful, be sure you share it!

While there was a lot of useful advice shared, which of these approaches was your favorite?

Question: Leave a comment below and tell me which of these strategies you plan to start using on your own Facebook Page.