Facebook’s like-gating announcement is another blow to small business battling for positioning on the platform.
It’s no secret organic reach is down and a pay-to-play mentality has taken over in the minds of marketers and social media gurus. Facebook ads may provide the best opportunity to reach your target audience, but what if you’re a solopreneur or small business with little to no advertising budget?
My biggest issue with the steady stream of changes that Facebook throws at small businesses is that nothing is stepping up to provide relief in the wake of constant hardships. Like-gating made great sense for marketers that provided value (ebook, swipe file, cheatsheet) in exchange for a FB like.
The Hard Truth
Unfortunately, poorly run contests and giveaways abused the like-gate feature and Facebook decided to empower and protect their users from these ‘artificial’ likes. I understand Facebook’s stance, but that doesn’t mean I agree with it wholeheartedly.
If you are currently running a Facebook like-gate you may continue to do so until November 5 which is the drop-dead date for like-gate activity. No new like-gates can be established at this time or going forward.
Bigger brands and companies may not suffer from the loss of like-gates, but smaller businesses that make concentrated efforts regarding contests to hype product launches or provide early-bird discounts will feel the sting.
ShortStack, Heyo, 22 Social, Tab Foundry and countless other contest/promotion apps will have to come up with alternative methods of attracting customers thanks to the ban on like-gates. I was actually contemplating using ShortStack for at least a free trial and hadn’t yet gotten around to it.
Here are some repercussions I see taking place as a result of all the recent changes:
- Brands will have to approach Facebook as a paid platform to achieve any type of ROI as well as to increase their audience, gain likes and reach fans.
- Marketers that can navigate Power Editor or Ads Manager will see their demand steadily increase as businesses turn towards professionals that can provide positive and effective results through the use of remarketing, interest targeting and conversion pixels.
- More small business will walk away from Facebook knowing their time and effort are better spent on things like their blog, email marketing or other social platforms.
- LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest will continue to infiltrate the small business advertising mindset as increased functionality allows companies to reach their intended audience easier and cheaper than FB.
Is Facebook alienating your business or are you in for the long haul? For the entire time I’ve had my Facebook fan page up and functional, FB has taken away numerous tools that I had intended to use to help grow my page.
I’m not going to buy Facebook likes or resort to sleazy tactics to gain more likes, comments and shares. In fact, I’m going to keep pressing on the best I can with what I’ve got. There are already articles talking about how to proceed with growing your fan base now that the like-gate is no longer an option.
I’d love to hear your take on the whole Facebook like-gate ordeal. Is it a welcome relief or an unfortunate loss? The only thing that’s for sure is that Facebook isn’t going to stop making changes — good or bad.