BREAKING: Changes Coming to Facebook Pages’ News Feeds

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Posted by Sara on 19 Nov 2014 /



In case you missed it, Facebook announced another change to the News Feed, but this time it’s Pages that will be affected.

According to a statement posted in Facebook’s newsroom, “A lot of the content people see as too promotional is posts from Pages they like, rather than ads.”

The post went on to state that, “News Feed has controls for the number of ads a person sees and for the quality of those ads (based on engagement, hiding ads, etc.), but those same controls haven’t been as closely monitored for promotional Page posts. Now we’re bringing new volume and content controls for promotional posts, so people see more of what they want from Pages.”

So what qualifies as a post that is “too promotional?”

According to Facebook, it’s one of the following three things:

  1. Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
  2. Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
  3. Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads

Businesses can expect these changes to go into effect starting January 2015.

One way Facebook’s change could affect marketers is they will have limited ability to promote their marketing campaigns. In the past, Facebook was not only a great place to host a campaign but also a great place to promote a campaign.

In January, Pages will need to rethink how they host and promote campaigns.  You’ve probably heard us talk about the benefits of hosting your campaign on your website or on a landing page

Since Facebook has also removed the ability to like-gate and made enoughalgorithm changes that it can no longer be relied on for driving traffic to campaigns, it’s time to come up with new tactics.

If Facebook’s latest changes have you feeling down, don’t worry! We’re here to share five ways you can still see success and interaction from your online audience, without Facebook.

Ready? Here goes!

#1. Use email marketing instead of Facebook to promote your latest products and milestones. 

Email marketing remains the most successful form of organic marketing for businesses. According to SalesForce, 70 percent of people say they always open emails from their favorite companies! 

When we first heard about the like-gate ban we knew it was an important topic of conversation for our audience. Below is an example of the email we sent out about the changes.


Facebook Like-Gate Ban

#2. Host promotions, sweepstakes and other campaigns on your website instead of on Facebook. 

Your website is the one thing that no one can take away from you! It’s hosted by you, run by you, updated by you and its content is all determined by you. You can’t say that about any social networks, especially not Facebook. It makes sense that businesses would use their website as a “hub” for all of their online marketing.

You can do this using a simple embed feature.

ZipCar UK, a car rental service, recently pulled all of their campaigns off of Facebook and began embedding them into their website. After doing a direct comparison of the same campaign on Facebook versus their website, they saw a 717 percent increase in entries into their web-based competition and a 204 percent increase in page visits to their promotion. Those are extraordinary numbers! Did we mention that their overall website visits went up as well? If you send everyone to your website, they’re more likely to click around to other parts of your site once they’ve entered your promotion. If you’re hosting a promotion on Facebook once someone’s entered they’re most likely abandoning your page.


ZipCar UK


#3. Place ads on your website and blog — for free! — instead of relying on Facebook ads.

We’re not going to lie, we are fans of Facebook ads. They work for us, and we believe that if you test them out you’ll discover that they probably work for you too. However, you shouldn’t stop there!

You can run all sorts of free ads on your website and blog, including hello bars, display ads, pop-up notifications, calls-to-action in the footers of blog posts, or graphic announcements on your website.

None of these options cost any advertising dollars to run. You just need your designer to make some ads and your web team to upload them to your website. If you don’t have a designer, there are plenty of tools you can use to create your own graphics;  Canva is one of our favorites but there are many other options.

We’re currently in the process of promoting our 2014 Holiday eBook and here’s a look at a few ways we’ve used our website and blog to do so.

Hello Bars


ShortStack Hello Bar


Socially Stacked HelloBar

Sidebar ads on our blog


Side Bar Ads

Call-to-Action ads at the end of blog posts


more-leads

 

#4. If you’ve been asking your Facebook fans to share your content, marketing campaigns, promotions or other materials, try using share features instead.

Share features give visitors to your marketing campaigns up to six different ways they can share a campaign: via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ LinkedIn or manually.

Did you know that 43 percent of consumers are more likely to buy a new product when they learn about it from their friends or family?

This makes sense. In today’s world, if we need to find a practitioner or buy something we usually ask for our friends’ opinions or read through review sites like Yelp.

Share features are easy to add to any campaign and encourage your entrants and campaign visitors to tell their friends about the cool things you have going on.

Here’s an example from Cambria Inns, a hotel in California. At the bottom of each of their promotions they include links to their other profiles and encourage their audience to “join us.”


Share Widgets

#5. Explore other social networks instead of relying too much on your Facebook Page. 

There’s a great big social world out there and many businesses have pigeonholed themselves in Facebook.

Even if they have a presence other places, all of their efforts may be focused on that one place.

The easiest way to expand your social network horizons is to start where your fans already are.

There’s a good chance your audience is talking about you somewhere besides Facebook. Do a #hashtag search or simple name search on some of the other networks and join the conversation.

A good thing to keep in mind is that you don’t want to blanket post across all of your networks. Pick a strategy for each network, and provide a different value for each network. Your audience will be more likely to follow you in different places if your strategy changes!

#6. If you’re using Facebook to make promotional announcements, use traditional media sources as well.

The press release is dead?! We think not!

Each time we have a new feature or resource release we of course let our Facebook fans know about it but we also put out a press release and personally reach out to bloggers and media contacts we’ve built relationships with.

Back in the day we could rely on Facebook to reach enough people to bring enough attention to these sort of announcements, but that’s not the case anymore. Plus, with the latest algorithm changes I would assume that an organic post that says “Try our latest feature!” isn’t going to be liked by Facebook.

When we announced the launch of our Campaign Builder we combined both traditional and non-traditional approaches and it worked perfectly. We were able to attract new people and alert existing users of the exciting news using a variety of platforms including social networks, PR Web, social blogs and our website! Here’s a look at some of our efforts.

Blog Post


Campaign Builder Blog Post

Email 


Campaign Manager Email

Social Posts


Campaign Builder Post


Pinterest Campaign Builder

Landing Page


Campaign Builder Landing Page

Press Release


Campaign Builder Press Release

Media Coverage


Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 3.30.07 PM

 

As you’ve probably put together, the more places in the online universe you talk about what’s happening in your business the more people you’ll reach!

While Facebook remains a valuable communication channel for businesses, this latest announcement further supports the idea that it should not be used as a sales platform, unless you’re willing to pay.

To learn more about Facebook’s latest announcement, read about it on theFacebook Newsroom Blog.

No More Facebook Like-Gating on Facebook

Facebook recently made updates to their API and SDKs, but one of the most impactful changes was buried at the bottom of the announcement:

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.

The change went largely unnoticed for the first 24 hours or so. I’ve read responses ranging from “no big deal” to “freak-out mode.” In this post, I’m going to help you understand what this change means and how it will impact you as a Facebook marketer.

What It Means

If you use apps like ShortStack, Heyo, TabSite and many, many more, you may be using a like-gating (also known as “fan-gating”) feature. It works by showing different content to fans and non-fans.

Let’s use a contest for Brand A as an example. To make it work, you need to provide different views whether a user is a fan (“Click to enter!”) or non-fan (“like first to enter!”). When you visit Brand A’s custom app, Facebook will check to see whether or not you are a fan and present the view accordingly.

Well, this is no longer going to work. If you already have an app that is using this functionality, it will continue to like-gate until November 5. After that, the like-gating functionality of the app will stop working.

Like-gating functionality will not work for any new apps created going forward.

Why Facebook Did It

Well, let’s take it straight from Facebook:

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.

Facebook wants users to like brand pages because they actually “like” them, not because they were promised some freebie or contest entry for doing it.

Ultimately, Facebook says this will improve the experience for both users (they will see content they actually want to see) and advertisers (targeting by interests is more effective).

Why It Makes Sense

Look, I have used like-gating. I constantly run ads to build relevant likes, and one approach I took in the past was offering my free ebook in exchange for a like. I found that to be very effective.

I personally think this approach works. I am giving highly relevant content to people in exchange for a like. If they like that content, they should also like seeing my posts in their News Feed.

Unfortunately, this may be the exception when it comes to like-gating. The majority of brands using like-gating do it in connection to a contest. Many offer prizes (think iPads) that aren’t closely connected to the brand. Or it could be in exchange for coupons or even a contest with a relevant prize.

The main issue with this form of like-gating is that it is not in exchange for content. There is no implied desire to see that brand’s content in their News Feed.

On one hand, like-gating can be compared to website lead magnets where a valuable piece of content is offered in exchange for an email address. In either case, the value of that opt-in may be less than if provided without incentive. But the lead magnet is certainly an effective method of list building.

The difference, though, is that the negative impact of like-gating goes far beyond your number of likes.

Facebook tells us that the average user would see 1,500 stories in a given day. Facebook’s algorithms bring that number down to a more manageable 300. In order for Facebook to be a desirable place for users, the best and most relevant content needs to be surfaced.

Facebook uses many signals to determine what users see. But like-gating confuses those signals. Does a user really want to see content from that brand? It’s not always clear.

This move is aimed at preserving the value of the like. If users are liking pages for the purpose of getting something rather than because they actually want to see the content from that brand, it can harm the user experience. A bad user experience means users spend less time on Facebook.

Less time on Facebook — and fewer users — also negatively impacts advertisers. The implied reason is obvious — advertisers need users to be online to target them.

But preserving the value of the like is extremely important for advertisers as well. If I target users who like Brand B’s page, I do so because I think they have a common interest. But if Brand B built their audience through nothing but contests and giveaways, the value of that targeting is minimized.

That’s why I’ve written before about the “death” of interest targeting. It’s impossible to be 100% confident in the quality of another brand’s fan base. They may have acquired their audience by buying likes, running poorly targeted ads or by constantly running giveaways.

Why It May Be Too Late

This all sounds great, but I can’t help but think Facebook is a few years behind on this change to make much of a difference.

There are well over 1 Billion Facebook users who already like dozens, if not hundreds, of pages. Audiences are well established. Implementing this change will do nothing about the people who were incentivized to like pages in the past.

While this should be a positive change, the increase in quality will be a drop in the bucket. It should hardly be noticeable, particularly for larger pages.

I appreciate the move, and it may actually help the user experience. If a user rarely interacts with a brand, they won’t see that brand’s content anyway. But I doubt it will do much of anything for advertisers.

If I target fans of a particular page, I’m not able to only target “actively engaged” fans. I target all fans, and that will include those who were incentivized to like the page.

But targeting based on activity seems like a pretty darn good idea, doesn’t it??

Likes Still Matter

One common response to this change I’ve read is that it doesn’t matter because you shouldn’t be focused on likes anyway.

I find this to be way off base.

The argument is focused first on the fact that Organic Reach is down for most brands, so the value of a like is diminished. While Organic Reach may be down for some (not all — including me), brands are still reaching a lot of people for free. That remains significant.

Likes still matter.

Additionally, the act of a “like” helps marketers bucket users for more effective targeting. If you build your audience with relevant people, this gives you a highly effective group of people to target when building your email list, driving traffic to your website or selling.

I’ve seen it over and over again: Fans convert at a very high rate. I see this through organic content and with ads. Read this example and this one from my personal experiences.

Now What?

This isn’t the end of the world. Embrace that your fans will be those who care most about your brand. But also accept that it will now be harder to increase those numbers, particularly if you previously thrived with contests and other like-gating.

No matter what the method of increasing your audience, you need to establish a compelling value proposition. Why should someone like your page? The “incentive” may be as simple as providing the most thorough, helpful or entertaining information in your niche.

Don’t panic. Increasing likes still matters. But it may be time to get more creative with your methods.

Additionally, you should still use third party apps to build your email list. So instead of requiring users like your page to get the incentive, you are collecting an email address. This is allowed!

 

The one tip you absolutely need for Pinterest marketing.

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Pinterest leadsLast month, 14% of our website visitors AND new contacts came from Pinterest. Pretty good, right?

Well, for one of our clients, 48 percent of his traffic 57% of new contacts came from Pinterest. Insane!

How do we do it, you ask? Well, it has a little to do with the industry. This particular client is a pharmacist and nutritional counselor, so it’s not too hard to find a topic that will really do well on Pinterest.

Every month, we create a new piece of downloadable content for his website. Often, our ideas are inspired by what we see on Pinterest. For instance, if we see that a pin on featuring smoothie recipes is really popular on Pinterest, we might create a collection of ten smoothie recipes.Because of the focus of our client, we’ll make them healthy smoothies. They have to taste great AND be good for you. Tricky, but not impossible (we know because we did this). Also, one of them is now what I eat for lunch. Every. Single. Day.

I digress. Now that we have our offer, our landing page, our emails, blog post, and follow-up workflow (all done easily in HubSpot), we have to get the word out. It is worth noting here, that your landing pages have to be good for this to work. But, of course yours are!

For this client, the best channel is clearly Pinterest – though we do use others, too.

Here it Is – Pinterest Lead Generation Magic

We could just use the blog post image (which, by the way,  is sized and designed for best impact on Pinterest). BUT, we find that having many different pins yields much better results.

It’s easy to see how this could work for our “Smoothie Recipes” ebook. A gorgeous photo of each one (you can usually find something on BigStock, but sometimes we have to make our own) with some text overlay and a great description gives you ten pinnable images. Add in the blog post image for 11. Create a few more, changing up colors, fonts, and text and  you could easily have 20 or more for this one offer.

Now, schedule your pins throughout the month (we use ViralTag), making sure to pin to group boards and any of your own applicable boards.  In your description, make sure to mention that this recipe is available as part of  a free download and include a strong call to action, like “grab them now and have one for lunch!”

That’s it! You didn’t expect actual magic, did you? Just like all good inbound marketing, it takes time, but not a lot of money.

Make it Work for You

This example of the smoothie recipes is almost too easy. I know. But that doesn’t mean your landscaping company has no choice but to create ebooks about smoothies! Let’s say you created an ebook on starting a vegetable garden. The planning process may be broken down into  a few steps. Then there is preparation, a trip to the nursery or hardware store, etc. Each of those steps could use its own pinnable image. You could either create one template and change out the text. Or, you could use colorful images of vegetables and gardens with some text outlining a specific tip or step in the process.

And that, my friends, is my #1 tip for how to get massive numbers of leads from Pinterest.

Social Listening Strategy – Are you really listening?

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cutting throught the noiseIn many ways, the social media experience is much like being in crowded train station at the end of a workday. There are countless people having revealing discussions, following trends, and sharing opinions that will shape the perceptions of entire industries. Because of the inherent chaos, however, cutting through that noise is practically impossible. If you’re a business that relies on social media data to plan new products, create cost-effective marketing or keep ahead of user trends, it’s all too easy to find “social listening” a deafening process.

But it doesn’t have to be.

In the right hands, social listening can provide you with new insights into your existing social media analytics. An effective social listening dashboard should be able to tell you, at a glance, exactly what people are saying. This isn’t just a matter of Twitter mentions and keyword results, it’s about providing a greater context so that your company can make intelligent, informed decisions based on real conversations across the social media landscape.

To make the most out of your social listening efforts, it pays to have a firm grasp on some of the core concepts. The following list is by no means comprehensive, but it will provide you with a solid foundation for building the right social listening strategy for your company.

1. Know your goals. It’s a lot easier to see meaningful results from social listening if you know what you are listening for. Are you hoping to follow the sentiment of your market? Are you looking for opportunities to engage with influencers? Is guarding your product’s reputation at the top of your list, or are you looking for an opportunity to tease out a previously hidden customer trend? Knowing what you want to accomplish makes it that much easier to set up your tools in a way that will give you the best results.

2. Get the right data. Even with the most targeted settings and searches, distortions will happen. Don’t jump to conclusions. Because we live in a hugely interconnected online community, it’s easy to mistake the wake of a totally unrelated trend for a wave in your area of focus. An uptick in discussions about “gingham” in 2012 could have sent fabric makers into a tizzy, even though it might just have been a side-effect of millions of people mistyping “Gangnam” because of a popular Korean rap song.

3. Don’t just analyze. Actually listen. There is a true beauty to seeing a complex, chaotic cloud of comments, opinions, and remarks broken down into a simple-to-follow graph or pie chart. Just remember that those gorgeous renderings of trends and sentiments represent an algorithm’s best guess at what the crowd is saying. It pays to wade into the source content, and to actually interact with the people who are shaping those trend lines in the first place.

4. Dissect the process. In the last year, a huge range of software tools for social listening have hit the market. Many of these systems provide great-looking dashboards and seemingly definitive results with clear percentage changes for even the most minor performance tweaks. On the surface, that seems wonderful. But how are they making those assumptions? What precisely are they searching for? How are they interpreting changes? Are they giving you real statistical results, or are they simply pretty toys for telling you how many people used a given hashtag? Most quality vendors will be more than happy to walk you through the nitty gritty details of their service.

5. Put the results to use. Even a casual experiment with social listening will quickly uncover a range of questions, complaints and strong sentiments about any topic, product or company. Making use of that data, however, requires taking action. This doesn’t mean tackling every Twitter user and YouTube commenter head-on. It means knowing your ultimate goals and forming a strategy to see real, measurable results. A simple exchange with the author of a skeptical blog post can yield hugely positive results, for instance, while sparring with random trolls on Reddit might just waste your day.

6. Test the results, challenge the assumptions. As you start to gather data from your social listening experiments, it becomes increasingly important to verify everything. You have specific goals in mind, and a clear strategy for attaining those goals. Now, it’s time to test if your strategy actually moves you closer to the results you want to see. Are those wildly popular Pinterest Boards actually moving the needle on your female buying demographic? Are your LinkedIn contributions resulting in more buzz among industry professionals?

7. Don’t SPAM. This should go without saying. If you’re using your social listening data to inform your engagement strategy, it can be tempting to go overboard with the replies, the “helpful” links and the thinly veiled marketing. People are smart enough to know when they’re being pitched, and if they’re not interested they’ll turn off like a light switch.

8. Influencers matter. As you start to see trends in your social listening dashboard, you’ll probably notice that influential people tend to steer the conversation. If a popular blogger or Twitter user starts posting about a company or a product, that same view tends to echo through the social media landscape. There are few more cost-effective ways to test sentiment than starting with the influencers first, and then watching the results ripple through the data.

9. Customize. Off-the-shelf social-listening tools are generally designed to provide the best data sets for selling social-listening software. While this data can be useful in a broad sense, it doesn’t always provide meaningful, actionable data that’s relevant to your goals. A good social listening system will allow you to fine-tune everything, tuning out as much noise as you can. Take advantage of this.

10. Don’t confuse inbound and outbound conversations. Social listening exists in the overlap between customer relations and marketing, blurring the traditional lines between the two. It’s important to remember, however, that there are still two fundamental kinds of conversations happening in any social media contest: You’re either responding to customers (individually or en masse) or broadcasting to them. Any social-listening system you put in place should differentiate between those two channels, allowing you to track the performance of each.

With the right tools in place, you can follow what the most influential people in your market are saying about your product, what the opinion-makers are saying about your competition, and how your potential customers feel about your industry. It’s now possible to find out who is steering the social media conversation about your topic, the direction they’re steering it in, who is listening, and even where those voices are physically located. While this may sound complex, with the right software behind it these metrics are as easy to follow as website traffic and ad conversions.

By using the best available social listening tools, you’ll be able to drill down to the pivotal moments and key interactions that both create and kill industry buzz. Instead of simply reacting to trends after they’ve already gained momentum, social listening tools allow you to see sentiment as it takes shape. This allows you to do more than simply monitor and measure these trends; it allows you to steer them in ways that were not possible before.

As you master the art and science of social listening, the roiling madness of the train station now becomes simply the set dressing of the narrative. You’re able to pick out those one or two meaningful interactions that result in positive buzz and improved sales, and be able to respond quickly when someone is writing naughty graffiti about your company on the bathroom walls. All of that noise quickly become filtered to pure signal, making it that much easier to focus on doing what your company does best.

Instagram 101

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Key Steps to Instagram success for your business.

Wondering how to get started and learn to rock the Instagram platform? Then this Instagram 101 post and video are for you! Instagram is a wonderful ways to tell your story through photos. It’s a little glimpse into your world that can lead to better connections, new friends, and most importantly amazing business connections.

Let’s get a look into how others excel on Instagram. This was done as a presentation from her phone with screencasting so you can see exactly what it looks like live.

Let’s dig deep into Instagram for Business.

7 Keys Steps to Instagram Success

“Get super focused in your niche for #Instagram success.” {Click to tweet}

1. Create an Instagram profile

Have a clear, fantastic avatar that you use on Instagram as well as Twitter, Google+, Facebook. It helps people to recognize you across social media if you use the same photo.

  • Try to use the name user name as Twitter so that people can easily tag you.
  • Note: My user name on Instagram is now Peg Fitzpatrick, no longer PeggyFitzpatrick. Hooray!
  • Use keywords in your bio for searchability.
  • Change the URL in your bio to reflect what you’re doing.
  • Use BITLY to track your Instagram traffic and customize it. Use it to strategically boost your traffic where it makes the most sense to you.
  • Use emojis for some color and fun calls to action.

Resources:

How to Add Emojis to Instagram on Android 

How to Add Emojis (emoticons) to Your Instagram Posts (iPhone)

How to Create an #InstaAmazing Instagram Profile 

2. Construct an hashtag strategy

Attract your ideal clients by creating a solid hashtag strategy on Instagram! {click to tweet}

  • You can use up to 30 hashtags per post.
  • Post a few in the original post. Add more in the comments.
  • Use Evernote to save groups of hashtags by topic to use across your devices. Or use Notes on an iPhone. Cut and paste them in groups of six!
  • Be consistent with your hashtags. Choose your own to help people find you. Sue uses #instagramexpert and #instagallive.
  • It’s worth the time to build your hashtag strategy. It saves time and helps with consistency.
  • Create separate accounts if you have more than one niche. Sue has six accounts to cover her different business focuses. She’s increasing her business because customers of her store and clients for her social media consulting find her with hashtags.
  • Stop the random acts of hashtagging! Be focused and targeted in your niche.
  • Refresh your Instagram posts by changing your hashtag groups in the comments.
  • Create hashtags that build a hub for your content.

3. Build a posting strategy

4. Encourage engagement

Create real relationships with your ideal clients by creating value in your niche. {click to tweet} This is where the magic happens!

  • Delete spammy comments by swiping and remove them.
  • Give shouts out to thought leaders and friends.
  • Tag people in photos so they receive a notification.
  • Create a path for people to follow with your hashtags.
  • Make it easy for people to find you.
  • You can’t have success on Instagram with a private account. Make it public to connect with new people.
  • Check out industry relevant hashtags to find new people.
  • Double tap a post to like it and show your appreciation.

5. Be found with geo-tagging on Instagram

What is a geotag?

“Geotagging is a technical term for storing the latitude and longitude of your current location with your photo. This data is collected by the GPS device in your phone or tablet and is accessible to Instagram if you grant permission.”

This helps people find you. When you have a physical location, using geo-tagging is really important. They can follow your geo-tag via G0ogle maps right to your location. Perfect when you’re a small business!

Kim Garst and Sue created a video on how to use geo-tagging with Instagram.

6. Use call to actions

A call to action is the text you’ll add in your comments that tell people what you’d like them to do next. This takes a casual visitor to a lead and then a client by providing the next step to reach you or find out what you do.

A few calls to action you could use on Instagram:

  • Click the link in my bio for more information.
  • Check out the link in my bio for a sneak peek of my new course.
  • Like what you see here? Connect with me to learn more.
  • Contact me to learn how you can…

Every post should have a call to action but you don’t need to be pushy, you can just put the offer out there. If you don’t ask, you won’t connect. Let people know how they can work with you and make it easy for them to find you.

7. Connect with direct messages

Sue adds value to followers by sharing Instagram tips via direct messages.

Thank you so much to Sue for doing this fantastic hangout and sharing some of your Instagram smarts! If you want to learn more, please follow Sue, read her blog, and check out her educational opportunities. She’s hosting a conference in Boston called Sail to Your Success, come on September 20th at take your business to the next level.

I’m sure you’ll be headed right over to Instagram to test out these new things on your posts. Make sure you say hello while you’re there! Questions or comments? Love to hear them in the comments below.

What is Action-Gating? And How Can I Use it to Drive Results on Facebook?

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Did you hear, Facebook is dropping like-gating, or more to the point they will no longer allow companies to practice like-gating. If you have not heard, about Facebook’s decision to prohibit the practice of like-gating on its site, read on.

like gatewhat you need to know:

On August 7, Facebook announced an update to its Platform Policy to prohibit the practice of like-gating — or requiring someone to like your Facebook Page in order to receive an incentive.

Facebook’s decision to ban like-gating is based on a simple but an important idea — “to ensure quality connections and help businesses reach the people who matter to them.”

Facebook has given businesses 90 days (until November 5, 2014) to comply with this policy change.

Why is this important?

If you’ve been on Facebook for a while, you won’t be surprised to hear that Facebook has undergone a lot of changes in recent years.

As Facebook grows, the social media company has come to understand how important ensuring quality connections between users — and the businesses and organizations they follow — is to their own long-term success.

One of the ways that they have done that is with the News Feed algorithm, which controls the content users see in their feed. Facebook uses a series of factors to determine which content users will find interesting, and as a result, only show your content to a portion of your Facebook audience.

The removal of like-gating takes that a step further.

Facebook believes that if people like your page only to receive an incentive, then they may not be engaged or interested in what you’re sharing after the promotion is over. Instead, Facebook wants businesses to encourage customers and potential customers to like their page without requiring them to do so.

They believe that this will allow you to build a fan base that is more engaged, and as a result, more likely to interact with your business and act on the content you share on Facebook.

How does the change impact  your business on Facebook?

Well you will want to take steps to update both your Social Campaigns product and your Facebook Fan Promotion campaigns prepare for the November 5 deadline.

This change in particular will affect those people who like me use Constant Contact to collect an email address from new fans after liking my Page. The belief being that the best way to build a meaningful relationship with fans on Facebook is to move them beyond liking your page and onto your email list.

This allows you to take ownership of your contacts. It also keeps you from having to worry about further Facebook changes that make it difficult to reach your audience.

So while we they will be removing the ability to like gate a piece of content, coupon, or sweepstakes; You can still continue to make it easy to grow your email list on Facebook with our email action gate.

What is an action gate?

With an action gate, you can still require users take some specific action before redeeming a coupon or entering a Facebook contest, without forcing them to like your Page.

There are a number of benefits of using an action gate on Facebook.

One of the biggest benefits is that you’re able to engage your current fans beyond the traditional like, comment, or share. This means that you’ll not only have the opportunity to grow your email list, but you’ll also be able to strengthen relationships with the people who like your page and even turn them into new or repeat customers with an exclusive offer.

In addition, action gates allow you to think differently about the campaigns you decide to run. While like-gated offers limit your ability to extend your reach beyond Facebook, action gates allow you to easily promote your offer across different channels and drive people to an offer, hosted on your Facebook Page.

This is a great opportunity to encourage your connections on different social channels to like your Page, without requiring them to do so. Even if they don’t choose to like your Page at first, you can still use email to continue the conversation and potentially include links back to your page in future messages.

Here are a few examples of action-gated campaigns you can run:

  • Capture leads on Facebook with an exclusive download: While a like gate only allowed you to add new fans, an action gate allows you to capture new leads on Facebook and nurture them with email. One of the best ways to capture a new lead on Facebook is to offer an exclusive download with helpful information. After adding a new contact to your email list, you can easily send a follow up email with more information, or even create an autoresponder email series to help introduce them to your business.
  • Turn current fans into paying customers with a special offer: Because you’re not just focused on adding new fans, an action gate is a perfect way to reward current fans with an exclusive offer. We all know how difficult it can be to turn all those likes, comments, and shares into actual business results. Think of a special discount your fans would love and promote it to your fan base. After providing their email address, they will receive a coupon in their inbox.
  • Run a sweepstakes and keep the conversation going: With an action gate, you can run a sweepstakes on your Facebook Page that people can enter by providing their email address. When the winner is chosen, you can contact them via email and even reach out to non-winners after the contest is over. You can create a separate list within Constant Contact, and send targeted emails to introduce new subscribers to your business. You can also reward non-winners with a separate offer, and encourage them to visit your store, restaurant, or office.

Ready to get started?

There are a number of ways you can use action-gating to drive real results on your Facebook Page.

The use of like-gating will end on November 5, but you can start planning your action-gated campaign today.

An easy to fix for that Facebook feature has been causing cell phone bills to skyrocket.

If you have an iPhone, follow these instructions:

  1. Tap your ‘Settings’ button
  2. Scroll down and click on ‘Facebook’
  3. Click ‘Settings’
  4. Click ‘Auto-Play’
  5. Then choose ‘Wi-Fi only’ of ‘Off’

If you have an Android, follow these instructions:

  1. Open your Facebook app
  2. Go to ‘Account Settings’
  3. Click ‘App settings’
  4. Then choose ‘Auto-play only on Wi-Fi’ or ‘Off’
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