Like-gating, or the act of putting some sort of barrier between a visitor and a Facebook fan page, has been one of the most popular ways of garnering new fans. This type of incentivized fan-collection has been done by way of offering a free download, coupons, exclusive content or as an entry method for a contest or giveaway in exchange for a Like. Starting November 5, Facebook is putting an end to the practice, which has left many brands scrambling to come up with a better way to increase Likes and brand messaging.
According to Facebook, Like-gating was interrupting the user experience and prevented Facebook from creating targeted ads because many users were Liking seemingly random pages in exchange for something free. If you advertise on Facebook, this is great news for better ad targeting and conversions. However, Like-gating has always been the easiest method of quickly increasing a fan base, and you may be wondering how else you can grow your following.
Here are some alternatives for businesses looking to grow their fan bases while expanding their customer base:
Collect Email Addresses
Your Facebook strategy and ads will be for naught should your page get shut down or if Facebook is no longer the social platform of choice for your customers. While you have an active and growing fan base, this is just another touch point to encourage customers to sign up for your mailing list. You can incentivize fans with an offer for a discount code for signing up or you can simply persuade them by offering exclusive access to sales and new product launches via email first. Most email marketing programs can connect to your fan page, making collecting email addresses seamless. And with Facebook only showing your posts to a fraction of your fan base, email guarantees that every communication you send goes to 100% of the customers on your list. Facebook may disappear, but email is still strong.
Close to 30% of Facebook’s users (and growing) say they only access the service on their mobile devices. In many cases, Like-gating apps don’t work on the mobile platform and end up damaging relationships because the pages fail to load. With Like-gating disappearing, now is the time to make sure your website is mobile responsive. A click from your fan page to your website should aim to keep people engaged in an effort to convert a fan into a customer. If mobile users get frustrated that your status updates drive them to a non mobile-friendly website, they potentially could choose to Unlike your page.
Facebook ads can now retarget people who have visited your website. It’s incredibly easy to set up by placing a pixel on your website and then setting up an ad in the Audiences section of the Ad Manager that is generated based on the pixel. This is a great way to re-present your products to users who are already interested in what you offer. Since the Audience ads can be connected to a fan page, even if they don’t click the ad, they can click to Like your page. Additionally, Facebook also offers to target a “Lookalike” audience. This is the top 1% of Facebook users that the Facebook algorithm finds to be similar to your website audience. You can leave this Lookalike audience as is, or you can make it more narrow and specific.
Although Like-gating won’t be around for much longer, the plethora of alternatives available to clever marketers to build brand awareness shouldn’t leave a hole in the marketplace for long.