Facebook Is Taking Your Fans Away

But their new “fan-gating” ban is going to help your brand grow anyway.

megaphone-kidThe social media giant just recently updated their terms and conditions, and quietly announced that they are no longer allowing fan-gating apps to be created, and any existing fan-gating apps will cease working, starting November 5th.  So what does that mean? Unless you’re a developer (or on your game in marketing) chances are that you might think this isn’t news you should care about.

But beware! If your brand is running (or are thinking about running) a Facebook campaign or promotion where fans are required to like your page to enter a contest – otherwise known as “Fan-gating” –   you’d better read on.  If this isn’t something that matters to you, you can return to your newsfeed, which I’m sure is still blowing up with celebrities dumping ice water over their heads.

To those ready to scream “Extortion!” once more at Facebook’s unending Scrooge-ish behavior, here’s the lowdown.  In their latest move to “benefit people and advertisers alike” Facebook will no longer allow requiring people to “like” your page in exchange for a contest entry through apps.  As the masses of marketers cry out foul play over this particular gimmick to restrict opportunities to garner fans, it would be prudent to take a step back and remember that Facebook isn’t required to uphold any allegiance to people trying to make money off of them.  Obviously, those hit the hardest by this stunt won’t be major pages with millions of likes, but it will hurt those trying to build up a sizeable fan-base within a specific community: small businesses.  It’s like taking a plastic megaphone away from a toddler trying to find his mommy in a crowd of Wall Street junkies who get to keep their electronic bullhorns.

“So what does this mean for my current apps?” you ask? The good news is that the app will still function, just in a different way.  Before, if you didn’t like the page and you tried to enter a contest, you would be forced to like the page first. Now, anyone can enter the contest, even if they don’t like the page.  Use it to build up your email base!  If building up your fan base is a concern, then step up your game and start asking your customers in person if they’ve liked your page yet.  Let them know they can find special deals and discounts in the future on your page.  Encourage them to leave feedback about their experience for other users to see.  There are still many creative ways to boost your fan count.

Give that plastic megaphone back to Facebook and relax.  While Facebook’s attempts to persuade businesses to pay for ads aren’t anything new, this particular change does make an important point about who should be liking your page on Facebook.  Yes, it’s great to have the staggering amount of fans that top pages have, but if you’re a small business owner you probably won’t want to have that many fans anyways.  The fans that you do want are local to your business location or service area.  If they aren’t, then they’re not going to make much of a difference since they won’t be contributing to your conversion rates.

Above all, you should be engaging with the fans you do have.  Encourage them to like or comment on a post, and respond, respond, respond! Don’t leave those who are engaging, hanging!

If you’re still confused about the fan-gating ban or how it will affect your brand, or have not taken advantage of Facebook locations tool (shame on you) give me a shout at brandvine@processpeak.com.

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