Facebook is constantly making changes (that’s not the first time I’ve started a blog post with those words). It’s part of who they are and ultimately it’s a good thing for all of us.

The algorithms that control what content you see in your news stream got a big update that had a huge effect on how digital marketers should be approaching their Facebook marketing. With these changes your posts won’t necessarily show up in a user’s news feed just because they like your page. There’s even evidence that suggests your posts might not show up at all. With these changes, to what Facebook at one point called “EdgeRank“, people will only see your posts if they have previously engaged with them AND other people are actively engaging with them. Something else to keep in mind is Facebook could also penalize you if people hide or block your posts.

My argument is that like gates are a bad user experience and a barrier to entry for what could become good relationships. Like’s are not subscriptions although it’s an easy comparison to make. Facebook works very hard to serve up the posts it thinks its users will like. That’s what keeps users coming back. Facebook knows when a user likes your page and never comes back. It also knows when a lot of people like your page and never come back. These are signals that these relationships may not have been created with the users interests in mind.

In response to criticism, Facebook told Business Insider:

We’re continuing to optimize the news feed to show the posts that people are most likely to engage with, ensuring they see the most interesting stories. This aligns with our vision that all content should be as engaging as the posts you see from friends and family.

Facebook Accused Of Changing A Key Algorithm To Hurt Advertisers

With these new Facebook changes it’s time to look at other methods of attracting fans and increasing engagement on your pages.

Alternatives To Like Gates

Content Marketing

FacebookMarketingGet a content marketing strategy in place to get fans interacting with your page. Videos and images tend to get more engagement than links and status updates. Videos and images are also more likely to keep your visitors on Facebook and browsing your page.

Facebook also says, “When people like or comment on your posts, their friends can see them connecting with your Page. This kind of word-of-mouth marketing is a great way to expand your audience.”

Contests Without Gates

ContestsonFacebookContests are still a great way to generate a little buzz and give back to your fans. You should still ask users who aren’t fans to like your page but as a way to get more offers, not as a barrier to entry. Displaying it on a thank you page with a strong call to action will attract people more willing to interact with your brand. Check out ContestsHQ on Facebook for more information on running more integrated contests.

Feed Games

PlayGamesDirectlyinNewsFeedFacebookDevelopersFeed games allow you to create engaging rich media experiences within posts. The truth of the matter is people engage with posts more than they engage with apps and tabs on pages. Feed games work a lot like video posts, user presses play and the video plays. Feed games extend beyond video and allow to create interactive surveys, custom video players, contests and more.

Promoted Posts/Pin To Top

HowdoIpinaposttothetopofmyFacebookPageFacebookHelpCenterPut your Facebook posts to work. Facebook allow you to create promoted posts to try to extend your network to your fans’ friends. People trust recommendations from their friends however you can also promote your posts by specifying specific targets. Either way promoting your posts is an easy way to expand your network. Just make sure the post has enough value to drive real engagement.

You can also pin valuable posts to the top of your page so it’s the first thing people see. Since Facebook users are more likely to view your news feed than pages tabs this is a great place to convert these visitors to fans with a strong call to action.

Partner With Other Brands

facebookcrosspromoFacebook suggests working with other brands by cross promoting on each other’s pages. If you mention someone else’s page on your page, users can hover over the name to get an overview of the target page. These fans are also more likely to engage with your content which in turn exposes it to more of their audience.

Social Plugins

SocialPlugins-FacebookDevelopersFacebook’s social plugins were built to make integration with your site easy. If you have a like button on your website make sure you  turn on “Show Faces”.  In Facebook’s Like Button Best practices it says “People are twice as likely to click  on a Like button when they see a friend’s face next to it.

Conclusion

The theme here is to keep it real and focus on building relationships. Check out Facebook’s marketing page for more tips. Facebook is more powerful than we give it credit for. Fan gates are an old way of thinking and have no place on a platform that focuses on relationships and engagement. Now please go follow me on Twitter and like my company’s page for more awesome stuff like this.

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