One of the update coming from Facebook caused stress for some Facebook fan page admins for sure. On August 7 Facebook officially stated and confirmed that like-gating will be banned from November 5.
Why we say this information caused stress for “some” fan page admins and marketers? Because not all of them were using applications for collecting new fans ONLY and only those who were using fan page tab apps in these purposes ONLY should definitely be worried after this latest announcement from FB.
Let’s explain why?
1. Do you actually know what like-gating is?
First let’s remind you that the biggest motivation to install apps on some fan page was: like-gating! The other term usually used is fan-gating. The meaning is the same – apps enabled very easy and cozy way of growing your fans thanks to their “ability” to condition access to the content within the app with a fan page “Like” first. To say it simply – if someone was organizing competition and used sweepstakes, he was able to “force” non-fan to become the fan in order to participate and get the prize. And not only for the contests and sweepstakes but for all other content (even free e-books) where “free” access was actually conditioned with “Like in order to access and see.”
Yes, this was something apps were really good at. You was able to grow fan base fast and easy at an affordable price. But, somewhere down the “Facebook road”, number of Likes and number of fans didn’t matter anymore. Why? Because some fan page admins / marketers started doing the same – using fan-gates to rise the numbers only and showcasing their fan page “success” through them ONLY. This is the main reason why number of fans and “Like” value decreased tremendously. Number of fans one fan pages has doesn’t say anything about its quality and why someone actually decided to press “Like” button there.
We are sure that you must have seen at least once on Facebook some contest or offer with caption “Like our fan page to see…” or entered some sweepstake and landed on the page with such message displayed on it. And if you decided to go further, after you clicked the Like button, you entered the competition and was able to participate and see whatever was there.
2. Like-gating seen through Facebook eyes
So, we briefly explained and reminded you what is fan-gating.
Let’s now move on to the decision to disable this option from all Facebook fan pages. This is what Facebook officially said and how they explained this latest policy update:
“You must not incentivize people to use social plugins or to like a Page. This includes offering rewards, or gating apps or app content based on whether or not a person has liked a Page. It remains acceptable to incentivize people to login to your app, checkin at a place or enter a promotion on your app’s Page. To ensure quality connections and help businesses reach the people who matter to them, we want people to like Pages because they want to connect and hear from the business, not because of artificial incentives. We believe this update will benefit people and advertisers alike.”
What does this mean and what is Facebook saying to us all? It is very simple: Facebook is now “forcing” fan pages to produce the best quality content and promote it well in order to get genuine, real fans that really do want to follow them and click this magical “Like” button for the right reason.
3. Are apps dead for good?
This decision doesn’t mean apps are dead. No. Just their part which forced people to first become the fan page fan in order to see some content or join some contest. So, apps are still alive but developers will have to change certain things to meet the latest requirements set by Facebook.
And fan page owners and marketers who were using apps for collecting numbers only will have to change their Facebook mindset and start producing great, fabulous content worth of liking.
In the same time, as Facebook clearly said, you are allowed to ask people to like your page and thus join certain contest or promotion, but from November 5 you won’t be able to force them to do that because “mechanism” that was allowing this will be removed. Simple as that.
At the end just to mention Facebook ads. As a marketer you must know you have an option of collecting likes and new fans through Facebook advertising as well. So, like-gating was a direct competition to what Facebook is offering. This is also explaining why they decided to change this.
In the same time, what everyone are emphasizing, email marketing is something you should turn to if you already haven’t. And apps enabling contests and promotions are still the best way to collect this valuable “treasure” – emails. This is something Facebook ads cannot provide. So, even if you are unable to grow your fan base using apps, or at least this will be possible but in a much smaller number, you will be able to retarget audience using emails collected during your promotion. Even if they are not your Facebook fan page fans.
This is the reason why apps should neither be “deleted” nor forgot for good. No way. Facebook apps are still the best toll available to gather personal data (especially emails) that you can use for other marketing activities.
What will happen and what should be done after the latest changes from Facebook?
1. Leads instead of Fans
No more rapid fan number growth on pages as a consequence of some contest organized on this page. Just genuine numbers as a result of great content and good promotion. Yes, you must use ads if you want to reach more fans. Organic reach has dropped and we all know it. But this is no excuse for poor content published on your fan page. From now on, even with advertising, fan page administrators, community managers, fan page owners etc. will have to make the best content possible if they want to draw attention and gain new leads. Not fans. Leads.
2. Better quality of posts published on fan pages
We said it above, but just to repeat it even louder – Content is the king!
3. Better quality of fan base on fan pages
This latest update from Facebook will have a direct impact on fan base quality for sure. Since numbers ONLY don’t say anything about fan page quality (which is reality for quite some time and this is just a confirmation of that), some other parameters will rise as more important. Again to repeat – quality content people want to read and follow. Fans, won by content and good promotion, will more likely come back for more since they liked the page for the right reason – its content.
So, at the end, the newly published changes “done by Facebook” are not so bad after all, right? For those who were doing their jobs right from the beginning.
Do you agree with us?