When you ‘like’ the Facebook Pages of your favorite brands, restaurants, and media sites, Facebook really wants to make sure you really like the page. The social media site quietly announced that it would be eliminating fan gating (or like-gating) from Facebook pages. But, what is like-gating exactly?

Like-gating is where brands require customers to “like” a Facebook page in order to redeem coupons, read exclusive content, or enter contests and sweepstakes. It’s a way of exchanging a ‘like’ for an incentive.

“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 the app, check-in 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.”

Facebook’s right, it is a good thing. Although like-gating is a common tactic for marketers and social plugin programs, it’s not the most effective one for obtaining a valuable fanbase on social media sites. For brands who want long-term, loyal fans, brands will need to focus on delivering real business value instead of using quick exchange tactics like like-gating. Here’s how to grow your brand’s fanbase without using like-gating:

Run Social Campaigns (But Don’t Force Someone to ‘Like’ Your Page)

Facebook doesn’t have a problem with social campaigns, contests, or sweepstakes overall, but the key here is to not restrict any information from a non-fan. Calls-to-action that encourage users to like a Page is fine. Blacking out access to enter into contests until a user likes your Page is not. This may not let you grow your fanbase as fast as you want, but you will gather more valuable fans who might even provide you with their email addresses.

Produce and Share Amazing Content

By creating quality content, you won’t have to worry about how many people you get to like your page. The quality content in the form of videos, infographics, free downloadable guides and eBooks will be enough incentive to get them to come your way. But, it’s important that you don’t make it exclusive to fans only. WIth Facebook’s reach decline, you will need all the exposure you can get.


Test Your Results

On days where you’ll get lots of likes and feedback, make sure to take measurements. Experiment with a variety of different post types to see which ones work the best for your specific target audience.


Overall, Make it Meaningful

Looks like the social marketing world is evolving to become one of substance and value. Social media sites need to be integrated with other components of your overall online presence to create a true impression to audiences looking for you on the web. To do that, brands will need to focus on growing a relevant, strategic, targeted audience with quality content and attractive, creative campaigns (that don’t superficially restrict or incentivize users). Successful Facebook strategies will not longer be measured in the number of likes you have, but the effort you’re putting forth to add true value to your audience.