Besides the dramatic profile design change, the release of Timeline instigated two other significant modifications regarding Facebook’s terminology and platform capabilities.
First, the term “tab” was forced into extinction and replaced by the term “application.” Second, and also the most prominent change of the two, was the demise of the landing page, aka the welcome page. Frustration from the latter has since encouraged marketers and page administrators to rethink how they’re using tools such as fan-gating.
Just because landing pages no longer exist, it doesn’t mean fan-gating is something to be dismissed. Fan-gating is still an extremely effective tool that can be used to increase Facebook Page Likes. However, the ways in which businesses are now using fan-gating to attract new fans has changed as a result of Timeline. Because Pages can no longer use custom applications as their default landing tabs, alternative methods for increasing Page Likes have been developed.
Here are three examples of strategies to use with fan-gating to increase your Page’s Likes:
1. “Like” to Participate Contests
Hosting a contest on your Facebook page through a custom built application is one of the best ways not only to engage current fans, but attract new fans as well.
To get your contest seen by users other than your current fans, add a Share requirement or a voting component to your contest rules. This will encourage your fans to share your contest with their Facebook friends who have yet to Like your Page. Once these new users have been prompted by their friends to check out your Page’s contest, having a fan-gate will restrict participation until your Page has been Liked by the user.
To get the most new Likes, make sure your contest is user-friendly; meaning, make the contest rules extremely clear and don’t go overboard requiring the user to disclose a lot of personal information to enter. Users who have not yet built a relationship with your brand will likely be turned off and ultimately decide not to participate.
In the example below, ShortStack is giving away company swag through their refer-a-friend contest. To participate in the contest, users must first Like ShortStack’s Facebook Page, then fill out a short entry form and invite their friends to Like ShortStack’s Page to earn points to win.
2. Exclusive Content
Service-based companies often feel more limited in what they can offer to users — at least when compared to product-based businesses. But they couldn’t be more wrong. Using their industry knowledge, service-based businesses have the opportunity to create extremely valuable content that they can pass along to their fans.
Content is king. Branded content, in particular, is the most powerful of all. For example, promoting an exclusive eBook with valuable industry-related tips and best practices via a fan-gated application is a great way to earn more Page Likes, and to also position your company as an expert in your field.
Alternatives to doing an eBook include fan-gating exclusive white papers, infographics with interesting findings from your company’s case studies, or simply releasing short reports with industry success advice. Keep in mind: the more share-worthy the content is, the better. Think about catchy headlines that show the material will teach the user something valuable.
Below, Jon Loomer is using his eBook “The Secrets to Facebook Marketing Success” as an incentive to get new users to Like his Page. Once users become fans, full access to Loomer’s book is given.
3. Fans Only Promo Code
Creating a feeling of exclusivity is very important when trying to incentivize users to Like your Facebook Page. Things like fan-gating the access to a PDF of a printable coupon or revealing a special promotion code upon Liking a Page are two really effective methods for attracting new customer prospects and driving new Page Likes.
AltSmoke’s Facebook application (seen below) represents a great example of how to use a promotion code to drive more Page Likes. When a user Likes AltSmoke’s Page, a Facebook-exclusive coupon code is then revealed.
After creating a fan-gated Facebook application, another component to driving more Page Likes is to get your application noticed by users other than your current fans.
Use Facebook advertisements to link directly to your fan-gated application, try promoting your application on the other social platforms your business is on, and even link to the application in your company’s email newsletter. All these efforts will ultimately help make your business’ social media strategy successful.