Life after like gating: How to keep growing and engaging your fan base

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Recently, Facebook announced that they will eliminate like gating for Facebook pages on Nov. 5.

Fan gating (or like gating) allows brands to require consumers to become Facebook fans in order to view exclusive content, redeem coupons or enter sweepstakes. In the short term, the move might be a blow to brands that rely on fan gating to grow their audience. But ultimately, the change will encourage brands to focus on strategically growing an engaged, relevant audience. It is a sign that social marketing is evolving past goals like “getting more likes,” and maturing into a practice that is focused on delivering real business value for an unusually low cost.

This is a good thing, we promise.

To ease the transition, we recommend these five tactics for building and leveraging your audience after Facebook sunsets the like-gate.

1. Run social campaigns that encourage —but don’t require — page likes

Facebook campaigns and promotions give brands a significant fan growth boost, even when they don’t require likes. Marketers can still create strong calls to action for why the consumer should become a fan. Plus, lifting the fan gate removes a barrier to entry, enabling more people to see and participate in experiences. You may lose a few likes, but you’ll capture more valuable info, like email addresses.

2. Focus on producing engaging, shareable content

Your true fans don’t need an incentive to like your page, because they’re genuinely interested in what you have to say. Deliver informative, quality content that grabs the attention of consumers and makes them want to become fans. Since Facebook’s reach decline, blasting Facebook posts hyper-frequently is no longer an effective strategy for growing reach and engagement. So you’ll need to emphasize quality and relevancy to get results.

3. Test, test, and test some more

Analyze the days and times when your content gets the most traction, and change your posting habits accordingly. Experiment with a variety of Facebook post types (photos, videos, links), and monitor performance. Put ad spend behind the posts that get plenty of likes and shares. Or try testing content with dark posts before blasting content to your entire fan base.

4. Don’t just rent your audience. Build your own.

Facebook likes are seen as a way to maintain connection with consumers, but with Facebook’s declining reach, marketers need to start owning —not renting—their audience.

Leverage social channels like Facebook to collect emails and marketing opt-ins, and ensure that you can stay connected with consumers in the long-term.

5. Focus on meaningful results.

The success of your Facebook strategy cannot be measured in likes. You need to track and optimize the channel’s contribution to the metrics that matter most to your business: whether it’s website visitors, coupon redemptions, direct sales, email acquisition, or customer loyalty. Invest in the tools and tactics that make a genuine impact.

Mairead is the Senior Manager of Marketing at Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer Offerpop, where she leads the content & community team. You can follow her on Twitter at @MaroidRage

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