The day has come – those who rely on contests or promotions with a “like gate” (meaning a user must first like the page before entering) are losing the feature forever.
Like gates are used to increase likes quickly by requiring those users to like the page before they can see or interact with the page’s content. The problem with like gates is that once the user likes your page to access whatever they were looking for, they’re likely to unlike or unfollow your updates. Even if they do remain one of your fans, likes acquired through like gating are often less qualified as actual fans of your business.
Like gates go against the new user experience Facebook has been implementing since March of this year. With the big News Feed algorithm update, Facebook announced that engagement (likes, comments, shares) played a much larger role in what is displayed for each user. Facebook began displaying the most relevant content based on engagement and prioritizing those posts over others that you don’t engage with as frequently.
So, what can you do? Unfortunately, like gates are likely to go away sometime this month and there’s no way to keep them in place. However, you can take the following steps to continue your social media strategy beyond Facebook like gate changes!
Think about what high like counts contribute to your business
Does it really matter if you have 100 likes or 1,000? Sure, a higher number may be desirable, but is it actually useful? Facebook can help your business reach new customers and build brand awareness whether you have a huge following or a modest one. Here, the quality is much more important than the quantity. You don’t need to trick users into liking your page – acquire them in more natural ways such as through your website, Storefront or other tactics. Even just asking clients to like you on Facebook during face-to-face conversations helps!
Consider your posts more strategically
If you don’t have a huge existing following, that doesn’t mean you can’t grow it through more savvy Facebook usage. Posts that receive more likes or shares by your own fans will increase the organic reach of your posts. Think about the stories you see in your News Feed about a friend liking or commenting on a page you aren’t currently following – these sorts of engagements are gold. If your text statuses aren’t getting a lot of engagement, try posting more photos or videos, or ask questions of your audience. The more they interact with your business on Facebook, the more your business can reach new users.
Remember that building a following takes time
Facebook success does not happen overnight; even when like gates were a viable option for contests and promotions, businesses could not build an engaged following in that time frame. Sure, that strategy helped, but the work never ended when the contest ended. Businesses with the most likes (and, more importantly, the most engagement) on Facebook have been building their audiences slowly but surely for a long time. Don’t get discouraged if your numbers grow more slowly! Focus on the relationships you do have with your existing fans and more will come.
These are all great things to keep in mind when you grow your Facebook page organically, and don’t forget you can also easily use paid social tactics to supplement your efforts if you have a budget set aside. Facebook will continue to change and update its policies, but if you build a solid foundation using these strategies your business will be successful no matter what changes come our way!