On November 5th, Facebook’s new Platform Policies will affect thousands of micro and small businesses that generate page likes by offering coupons and contest entries, including the ones hosted by Mommy blogging and related websites. That’s when it will be against the rules to require a “like” for any kind of exchange (discounts, giveaways, etc.).
I actually use like-gating on my own Facebook page (like it and you’ll get a free guide). Yeah, I’ll have to stop come November 5th as well.
If you’re just now hearing about this issue, that’s probably because the policy is directed to developed and publishers of apps that connect with Facebook’s API.
Why the change?
Facebook’s updated policy states:
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 your app, checkin 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.
This actually makes sense. Nowadays the bulk of product giveaway contests that result in plentiful likes and tweets don’t typically do much for the average business. That’s because Facebook users wanting to win something throw their likes around like candy. On Twitter, their messages rarely hit the masses.
In my experience, the only promotions of “like for a coupon” that work well for less established brands are ones directed to existing email list subscribers. Since these visitors and shoppers are already established, they are more apt to engage with companies on social channels.
Soon, simply asking subscribers and customers to like you “just because” will once again become common practice. The best advice I can give here? Don’t beg for likes. Earn them.
Four Ways to Earn those Likes!
With like-gating going out the window, those who currently practice it are going to see a decline in page like stats. There are ways, however, to get more likes without violating Facebook policies.
- Treat customers great. Customers who have a good experience are more apt to like your page when prompted, so make sure you include a link to your Facebook page in emails.
- Post great content. Schedule a healthy balance of on-topic, textual posts, business hype, questions, and viral-style images or memes. The more users share your content, the greater the chance more likes will roll in.
- Host contests. The new policy doesn’t prevent companies from hosting contests that fall under Facebook’s guidelines. Only that you cannot require a user likes the page in order to enter.
- Have real conversations. Listen and respond, communicate and appreciate.
By the way, the new policy won’t prevent you from giving out coupons, either. You could, for example, create a landing page that gives two options: “Like Us on Facebook”, and “No Thanks, But I’ll Take a Coupon!”
It’s time to get back to business! And if you’ve been relying on like-gating, don’t be bummed about the change. Because every other business using it will also have to work harder (or nicer) to get nods from their customers.