On November 5th of 2014, Facebook eliminated like gating.
Dun dun dun.
Fan gating (or like gating) allowed brands to require consumers become Facebook fans in order to view exclusive content, redeem coupons or enter sweepstakes.
In other words, if the consumer wanted to participate, they had to honor the business with a coveted like.
After all these years of allowing this practice, Facebook thought to itself, “Wowza, we’ve given too much power to the players and, really, we’re the BIGGEST player around.”
No more requiring consumers to like pages in order to be eligible for promotional offers.
In the past, like gating was made possible by an open Application Program Interface (API) that allowed app developers to “read” Facebook’s information about the participant and see if that person was a fan of a particular page. This ability was removed from the API, making it technically impossible for developers to create a fan-gate mechanism. But more importantly, apart from apparent technical restrictions, Facebook point blank forbids the technique.
If you go against the big FB, they will Shut. You. Down.
You’ll lose your entire fan base because your page will cease to exist.
Facebook eliminated the practice because, in their own words, they wanted to ensure quality connections and help businesses reach the people who matter to them. Now days, people like pages because they want to connect and hear from the company, not because of artificial incentives.
As a consumer, I said THANK YOU FACEBOOK. It’s in my nature to be opposed to forceful participation.
As a marketers, I was like what the what? Why, Facebook, why?
But, trust me when I say there is Facebook life after life gating.
You Can Still Run Social Campaigns That Encourage Page Likes
A well-planned Facebook promotion can give your page a significant fan boost, even when it doesn’t require likes. It’s an opportunity to create strong calls to action for why the consumer should become a fan. Plus, since consumers can sometimes be busy, lifting a like gate removes an obstacle to entry and can get more people to enter.
Content is King
True fans don’t need an incentive to like your page because they are already interested. Deliver awesome content and they’ll become a fan because they want to see it. Every single time.
Take an Analytical Approach
Spend some time analyzing what works. Then start adjusting your posting habits accordingly. Don’t be scared to experiment with all kinds of Facebook post types and then carefully monitor each one. Put some money behind posts that are working well in order to increase your likes.
Focus on meaningful results.
Simply put, never measure the success of your Facebook strategy in likes. Decide what the most important thing is (website visitors, coupon redemptions, direct sales, email addresses or customer loyalty) and then invest in the tools that will impact those numbers.
Don’t be scared to run a Facebook promotion without like gating. Take the challenge and make it work.