Action-Gating > Like-Gating
ShortStack, an excellent third-party tool for managing your Facebook campaigns, suggests that businesses shift their focus to action-gating instead. Action-gating is the process of collecting actionable and valuable data in favor of simply acquiring a like. So for example, instead of using the like button as the action required to attain a discount or participate in a promotion, try collecting a name and email address. While this may be a little more difficult than asking for a like, especially since the commitment from the user is greater, the result is vastly more valuable data from a much more engaged fan.
For years businesses have been using the like-gate as a way to collect page likes in an attempt to increase their page reach, but since Facebook made major changes to their newsfeed algorithm, page likes aren't nearly as important anymore. Believe it or not, these changes are designed to benefit the connections your business makes with people online, not hurt it. However, to do that you must first take a big step back and rethink your social media strategy.
Facebook Is Messy And Knows It
Like email marketing in the late 90's and early 2000's, reaching people on Facebook has become pretty messy. According to AllFacebook.com, the average Facebook user in the U.S. has liked 70 or more pages. If every page/business posts an average of 36 times per month, more than 2,500 updates will clutter a user's newsfeed...part of which prompted Facebook to reconsider which posts are shown and which aren't. Users were liking pages in an effort to participate in contests and acquire coupons or discounts, not because they were actually interested in the brand/business. This created a barrier between the businesses and their newly acquired likes making the success, and reach, of campaigns plummet.
See Also: Why Buying An Email Marketing List Isn't Always A Good Idea
Shrinking Your Pool Of Prospects
Traditional marketing was always simple. You start with a large pool of "prospects" that you could frequently blast with an ad resulting in a tiny percentage of "leads". For digital marketing it was an email prospect list, for multimedia it was a radio or TV commercial. At first glance, if every time you did this it resulted in a small spike in sales, it was successful, right? Wrong. The success was always marginal and you almost never really and truly connected with consumers. More importantly, the results are continually decreasing as consumers become increasingly numb to the thousands of generic and non-personalized messages put in front of them every day. The only way to be successful today is to stand out by connecting with your customers on a different level, one that is built on the value you add to their lives, above and beyond just simply selling them something.
What Facebook is attempting to do, for your benefit and the benefit of their users, is clean up the mess by shrinking your pool of "prospects" to include only those actively and genuinely interested in your business. The result is an increase of interaction with the posts you make as user's will only see content from the brands they want to see it from. The interaction they have with your posts will then be circulated among their friends resulting in a greater reach for your page. Though the amount of people you're able to connect with is shrinking, the opportunity for better interaction with fewer people increases significantly which will result in more repeat sales and better customer engagement. After all, this is what social media is all about, right?
Stepping Up Your Game
Reaching consumers is growing increasingly difficult, but it's important not to blame the marketing channels. By midday the average consumer has observed over 1,400 ads, can you believe that?! It's not surprising that their sensitivity toward advertising is decreasing to the point that they glaze over almost everything...it's the very reason why we live in a society with dwindling attention spans. To step up your game, you have to adapt or die. Adapting means making monumental shifts in the way you think about marketing and advertising. The best place to start is by thinking of consumers as people, not buyers. To reach people, you need to create value. To create value, you need to think beyond yourself.
For help building an effective strategy, swing by our Social Media Management services page. We offer several packages that can help inspire conversations among real and actively engaged fans.