With so many businesses turning to social media platforms to reach the market, it is no surprise that the like-gate ban by Facebook was met with uproar from a lot of social media marketers. The announcement made by Facebook in August that they would no longer allow business to like-gate their pages means that a lot of businesses have to come up with a new social media strategy if they are hoping to stay relevant. But first, what exactly is like-gating?
Like-gating is the process of forcing a Facebook user to like your page before they can be allowed to see the content on a custom app such as a contest or a coupon. The whole idea of like-gating is to increase the number of ‘likes’ for a business’ page. The problem, as has been recognized by Facebook, is that the ‘likes’ garnered this way are not authentic, and tend to diminish after the particular promotion has ran its course.
As a business owner or a social media marketer, you obviously recognize the importance of ‘likes’. Likes are valuable leads as far as social media goes, but what’s more important for a business is to focus on collecting actionable and valuable data such as emails, feedback and opinions, rather than simply growing the number of likes. If you are forcing a user to like your page, they are most likely not genuinely interested in what your business has to offer and will opt out a few months down the line.
What Facebook is trying to do is build a platform where businesses compete on the basis of content. This definitely separates the wheat from the chaff, and means that only those who actually have something worthwhile to offer will withstand the test of time. It is therefore safe to say that with the like-gating ban, we can look forward to better quality of social media posts as social media managers will be required to craft engaging posts to keep their fans’ attention.
While it may seem unfair to small businesses, like-gating might be just what every business needs to take a good look at their social media strategy. If you build your brand based on the lukewarm prospects of fans acquired through like-gating, you are not likely to survive for long. Like-gating is not a high value marketing method and it is something that many businesses have been moving away from, for the reasons that have been discussed above.
Even though the announcement was made in August, the deadline for the ban was set at November 5, after which businesses with third party apps would have their like-gate-designated content marked as ‘non-fan’. This gave plenty of time for business’ to come up with a plan B for their social media marketing strategy.
Social media marketers who have been in the field for a while are majorly in agreement that the ban on like-gating was long overdue, a sentiment that may not be shared by small businesses, but one that has a lot of truth.