Since Face­book for­mally started allow­ing brands to “Like-gate” (also some­times called “Fan-gate”) page and app con­tent in late 2009, it has become a pop­u­lar tac­tic employed by many of the world’s largest brands.  It allows brands to increase their fan count by requir­ing Face­book users to “Like” their Brand Pages before they can see par­tic­u­lar content.

Detrac­tors claim that requir­ing new vis­i­tors to “Like” a page in exchange for exclu­sive offers or con­tent cheap­ens the “Like,” and may deter poten­tial fans from join­ing a brand’s com­mu­nity.  Addi­tion­ally, it may frus­trate those who do join and expect more from their loy­alty to the brand.

On the other hand, “Like-gating” can be a pow­er­ful means to acquir­ing fans when the “Like” is requested in exchange for com­pelling, exclu­sive con­tent. And brands have a strong incen­tive to col­lect “Likes.” Each “Like” rep­re­sents a new oppor­tu­nity to cul­ti­vate rela­tion­ships with poten­tial cus­tomers and actively com­mu­ni­cate with and remar­ket to this qual­i­fied audi­ence. Com­mu­ni­ca­tion on Face­book can be even more pow­er­ful than email and other chan­nels because the con­tent is more tar­geted, more eas­ily shared, and vis­i­ble within the Face­book News­feed — which is one of the most pop­u­lar modes of dis­cov­ery on the web today.

Encour­ag­ing fan acqui­si­tion by col­lect­ing “Likes” is gen­er­ally a core part of most rec­om­mended Face­book approaches. Before “Like-gating” con­tent on your page, how­ever, for­mu­lat­ing a strat­egy spe­cific to your company’s goals, audi­ence, and avail­able resources is cru­cial.  Here are some key con­sid­er­a­tions that will help you deter­mine whether “Like-gating” is right for your page and, if so, how to make the most out of this feature.

Iden­tify Goals & Assess Readiness

Whether your pri­mary goal is to grow your fan base, increase engage­ment, or drive web­site traf­fic, there is tremen­dous value in build­ing an audi­ence. “Like-gating” can help you cap­ture new vis­i­tors that land on your page, which increases the size of your page as well as your poten­tial audi­ence reach. How­ever, if your brand is cur­rently resource-constrained and strug­gling to reg­u­larly deliver con­tent or engage your audi­ence in a mean­ing­ful way, “Likegat­ing” may not be advan­ta­geous just yet.  You should first focus on cre­at­ing an inter­ac­tive com­mu­nity; once there’s a com­pelling rea­son for new fans to join your page, then con­sider mak­ing it exclusive.

Keep the fol­low­ing con­sid­er­a­tions in mind once you’ve opted for a “Like-gating” strategy:

Deliver a Strong Call-to-Action & Com­pelling Rea­son to “Like”

Your brand’s land­ing page pro­vides a unique oppor­tu­nity to make a pos­i­tive, last­ing impres­sion on new vis­i­tors and poten­tial cus­tomers. Use the land­ing page to explic­itly call­out the unique advan­tages of your Face­book com­mu­nity or spot­light infor­ma­tion that fans and fol­low­ers want to know.   You can drive fan growth on the land­ing page with a strong call-to-action that res­onates with your tar­get audi­ence and clearly com­mu­ni­cates the advan­tages of “Lik­ing” your page.

Focus on Qual­ity over Quantity

To ensure that you build a qual­i­fied audi­ence, “Like-gating” should be con­nected with ben­e­fits that are highly rel­e­vant to your brand. These ben­e­fits depend on the seg­ment and prod­uct that your com­pany deliv­ers, such as access to limited-edition items, unique edi­to­r­ial con­tent, par­tic­i­pa­tion in a com­mu­nity of like-minded indi­vid­u­als and pro­mo­tional offerings.

Fol­low Through

If your brand plans to use “Like-gating” for fan acqui­si­tion as part of a cam­paign or pro­mo­tion, then you need to be staffed-up and ready to deliver value once you’ve begun to build a fan base. It’s also cru­cial to deliver on the spe­cific offer used to encour­age new vis­i­tors to “Like” your page.

Con­sis­tently Deliver

Above all, the goal is that the fan ben­e­fits from the con­nec­tion that’s been estab­lished with your com­pany. Once you’ve built an audi­ence, con­tinue to engage your cus­tomers with com­pelling con­tent, appli­ca­tions, and oppor­tu­ni­ties to par­tic­i­pate in the com­mu­nity. If your com­pany is unable to con­sis­tently pub­lish to its Face­book page, fans are likely to lose inter­est or, worse, for­get that they pre­vi­ously “Liked” your page and decide to “Unlike” the page when they see mes­sages com­ing from your brand again.

Reward Loy­alty

Face­book offers an unprece­dented oppor­tu­nity to reward loyal fans of your brand and con­vert those fans into brand advo­cates. By mak­ing it pos­si­ble for only those who “Like” your page to receive exclu­sive offers, access con­tests, and engage in quizzes and polls, your com­pany increases its abil­ity to cap­i­tal­ize on its rela­tion­ships, lever­age brand pref­er­ence, and recruit new prospects.

– The Blog Team