Increased heart rate and stomach cramps. Blood pressure rising.
Do you feel these any more acutely when hearing the latest changes from Facebook? Well, in the past years I just got used to them.
And listen, this change is not even a terrible one.
Facebook decided to retire the “Like-gate” starting November 5th.
The Like-gate helped to show different content to non-fans, so it was a great way to condition seeing the content of the tab to liking a Facebook Page first.
It helped Pages to collect more fans, and reach them later with their posts.
It was a great complementary function to contests and sweepstakes; it’s even a part of our pricing.
But does the Like-gate matter at all in an age when the organic reach plummets, and email marketing lives its renaissance?
How will the banned Like-gate affect businesses?
I asked 8 experts to provide an answer.
Here they are.
#1. Neal Schaffer – Social Media Author, Founder and Editor-in-Chief at Maximize Social Business
The integrity of any social network is built on “real” users with “real” engagement. Businesses have been “gaming the system” with Like-gating (and buying fake like, but I digress), which results in large numbers of fans that might have a very weak interest in the actual brand.
Similar to how email marketers “clean up” their lists regularly with inactive subscribers to ensure the integrity of their lists, Facebook is implementing this to help “clean up” the integrity of those who “Like” a business page.
From a social media marketing perspective, this is all part of the never-ending experiment that is social media, and it will require us all to create better and more engaging content and experiment with different ways of developing brand loyalty amongst Facebook users.
It also means that many “free” Like-gate campaigns will obviously shift into “paid” Like campaigns, so this will also help accelerate the shift towards Paid Social.
It will make it harder for companies without such a budget to build brand awareness inside the community of Facebook users.
#2. Ian Cleary – CEO of RazorSocial
In the offline world we are used to giving something in exchange for entering a competition. This is normally a mailing address or an email address. By entering the competition we are giving the company running the competition permission to market to us in the future.
If this exchange couldn’t happen they there would certainly be a lot less competitions run.
On Facebook with Like-gating now being removed companies will use email gating where they will ask people to enter their email address to enter the competitions.
But is this a bad thing for brands?
Your reach on a Facebook posts will likely be less than 10% and your open rate on an email will likely be more than double this. Is it better to have a fan or an email subscriber?
#3. Lilach Bullock – Founder and Director of CommsAxis
Although initially many brands may panic about the closure, if they stop and think about it for a moment hopefully they will see that this is a good thing.
We have to remember that social media is about targeting the right people, not just boosting numbers for the sake of it.
Brands now need to be much cleverer in their marketing and attract those people that genuinely like and care about their business and build real engagement.
It means a much more targeted approach that will be better for genuine business and social sales.
#4. Scott Ayres – Ambassador of Awesomeness at PostPlanner
The practice of “Like-gating” or “Fan-gating” was a great practice in 2010 when businesses were first starting to figure out Facebook, and users weren’t as savvy or mobile oriented. But today in 2014 this is a dated practice that needed to go away.
Forcing people to Like your page to get some content or open the entry form to a contest was not helping your business page.
In fact it was likely hurting it.
Because you are basically ending up with people Liking your page that could care less about the content you post onto their News Feed.
Which means they probably weren’t engaging with your posts, which is hurting your ranking in the News Feed algorithm.
So as a business owner I wouldn’t put much thought into this feature being gone as it’s a feature that lost its’ usefulness long ago.
Now for app providers this is a sting to their business as the ability to Like-gate an app has long been a selling point, although a rather simple function inside the app. But just as when Facebook got rid of the default landing pages the app companies that have a smart business plan and that are diverse will pull through this hiccup and come out even stronger.
#5. Ravi Shukle – Facebook Marketing Specialist at RaviShukle.com
I feel this new update to remove the “Like-gate” is a great move by Facebook.
Businesses will now be able to attract more quality fans using Facebook apps instead of attracting those who only like for the incentive.
For business owners who still wish to increase quality engaged fans they can still utilize Facebook Like ads to target their specific audience.
#6. Debbie Miller – Writer and Social Media Marketing Strategist at Social Hospitality
On the upside, removing the Like-gate option for contests helps ensure that the likes received are authentic.
By encouraging anyone to like a page simply to win a prize, it is likely many will do so just for the prize as opposed to actual interest in the page/product/service.
Similarly, it’s also common for Likes to drop slightly right after a contest ends as a result of people (who liked solely for sweepstakes entry) un-liking the page after the contest is over.
Eliminating the like gate means people who like a page truly intend to like the page, and therefore hopefully brands will see increased ROI on their posts and Facebook ads as a result.
#7. Rivka Kawano – Marketing Coach and Consultant, Co-Owner at New Media Design Studios
Yes, there are some downsides to this for some businesses. However, overall I think this will be a good change.
What business owners need to realize is that social media is best when it is attracting attention to building your own e-mail list.
A large social media following that is not connected to anything else is unlikely to yield real results anyway. Now is a good time to look at your strategy and see if you are growing your own bottom line or Facebook’s bottom line.
#8. Brian Carter – CEO, Social Media Speaker, Digital Marketing Consultant at The Carter Group
The like-gate has never been a big part of our strategies.
If we want fans, we run fan growth ads. If we want a lead, we run website conversion ads to the website or a Leadpages.net page.
To me, this is similar to when tabs were demoted – we had already recognized that what made sense was fan growth and interaction.
We saw that sending people to a tab made no more sense than sending people to a website. With the like gate, it’s never been the most efficient way to grow fans, so we won’t miss it.
Removing the Like-gate has positive side effects!
To sum it up we can say that these experts above welcome the idea of not having a Like-gate.
If we see the big picture, the social media marketing world will benefit from the change, here is why.
- Better quality. To earn fans, social media managers will need to create more engaging ads and posts. It makes a better quality social experience for all of us.
- Sustainable growth. Demolishing the Facebook Like-gate gives a push to grow your email list. It’s a sustainable way of reaching your customers, as it’s you who own your email list.
- Better targeting. If people don’t “Like” everything on Facebook, in the long run you can target better.
And anyway, what can you do. Banning the Like-gate was a logical move from Facebook, as it was competing with their ads.
I understand if you are upset about the change.
You and your clients might still value Page Likes. And sure, a 20k fan base looks much better than a 2k fan base.
(With app platforms like Antavo you can still use the Like-gate till the 5th November.)
But see this is an indication of what you really should focus on: sustainable marketing. As Rivka Kawano and Ian Cleary said, it’s time to focus on growing your email list.
In exchange for participating in your contests, sweepstakes or downloading your e-books, ask for an email address instead of asking for a “like”.
It just makes sense.Facebook Bans The Like-gate, Should You Be Frightened? - 8 Experts Weigh-in by Zsuzsa Kecsmar
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