Is “Fan Gating” dead with Timeline?
This is a oft repeated question across the web since the February 29 announcement and launch by Facebook of Timeline for Pages.
At first glance it appears so since the Timeline page with the large cover image is the mandatory default page and the former “Default Landing Page” drop down menu is gone on Timeline Pages.
Clearly, Facebook wants to drive traffic to the Timeline page and make the Timeline for Pages the centerpiece.
However, upon a further in-depth look, fan-gating is NOT dead, just different, and strategy must change accordingly.
Tab apps have a unique url and if this unique url is used in promotions on the web, you can direct users directly to the tab app with the fan gating Like Gate active on it. Formerly, most businesses that added Facebook Page links from their website, blog, and e-mail signatures, would simply have the icon link to their fan page by username such as www.Facebook.com/CKProducts, since you could control the default for new visitors you could have new visitors arrive on your Like Gate.
Now, however, if you want to gain the “Like” before they see content, you’ll want your web assets (links and images that link) to direct users to a specific url that you have a Like Gate active on!
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In this case, a company like CK products, would want to switch out there Facebook icon url to a tab app with a Like Gate like this one using TabSite’s Like Gate feature, www.Facebook.com/CKProducts. This will also be critical if you want the users to go to a specific tab to enter a Sweepstakes for example and you want them to “Like” the page prior to getting the entry form.
If users are on Facebook and use Facebook search to find your page, then they’ll still be taken to the Timeline default page. However, the vast majority of users come to your fan page via web links. So as noted, what link you use for your Facebook icon on your website, blog, and in e-mail blasts becomes more important and strategic now.
Be aware that just “getting the Like” is no longer enough.
It’s an important starting point it the overall strategy of converting fans to customers but it’s not an end all. Now with Timeline, it’s more critical than ever to reorganize your Facebook Page around people. At fMC Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said, “If a brand wants to talk to me they need to also listen.” Companies need to be good hosts. A lot of people are still looking at Facebook as a one-way platform. The businesses that are using it well are good hosts and are using it for two-way, interactive engagement. If people see a company responding, they’re going to be more likely to engage. The most effective businesses today are listening on Facebook and on all social platforms. The practice of checking your wall every few hours won’t work anymore. Businesses need to listen and engage with their audience in more real time.
With the launch of Timeline, it is clear that the metrics companies need to watch are shifting. Engagement is clearly the most important metric.
Engagement is measured by the number of interactions fans have with your content. Facebook recently introduced a new metric call “People Talking About This”, which is the unique number of people who have created a story about your business in the last seven days. Fans create stories by taking action including: liking a page, posts to your wall, comments or shares, answering questions that a business posted, RSVPing to an event, tagging your page in a photo, and checking into a place on your place pages.
As well, it’s also important to pay attention to reach. How many fans are you actually reaching? Businesses need to understand that every time they post they are only reaching small percentage of their overall audience. Brands can increase their reach by consistently posting engaging content.
So, the new Timeline for Pages has shifted the game! Like Gate and fan gating still have value and should be used. Getting the “Like”, however is only the start and Engagement becomes an even more critical factor going forward.