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Social Media Marketing for Business

Brooks Tiffany


October 30, 2014

Good Riddance to the Facebook Like Gate: 7 Better Strategies to Score High Quality Likes

October 30, 2014 | By | 22 Comments">22 Comments

The Like Gate is nearing its official end and many of you are understandably upset because it’s been an integral part of your social marketing strategy for quite some time now. Well, I’m here to tell you it’s going to be alright. The Like Gate wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.  Read on to find out why you won’t miss the Like Gate and learn seven sharp strategies you can use to gain new, high quality Likes. After putting these to use, you’ll be saying “good riddance to the like gate,” too.


In Case You Missed It

Let’s start with a quick recap of events to bring everybody up to speed. Back on August 7, Facebook announced some new updates on their developer’s blog. Gently tucked in towards the end of this blog post was the following:

“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. 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”

Simply put, no more forcing a person to “Like” your Fan Page in exchange for a reward. Facebook wants people to want to Like your Page, not exchange it like an over-inflated currency. This is simply a step towards curbing that inflation and restoring value to the Like. No new Like Gates have been allowed since the announcement and any existing Like Gates are grandfathered in up until November 5th – when the last of the Like Gates will disappear.

Why the Like Gate Wasn’t Good For Fan Engagement

The Like Gate was indeed a powerful tool, at least on paper. Lock the promotion up, only give “Likers” the key, and watch the numbers go up. The problem with this is that those numbers often can’t be trusted because many of those Likes are empty and soulless – a ghost that will never engage with your page again but will return to haunt you.

According to a study done by consulting agency Syncapse last year, almost 50% of Fans Liked a Page because they simply wanted to support their brand – that’s awesome! However, 42% of fans Liked a page in order to get a coupon or discount while 35% Liked a page to participate in contests.

Don’t get me wrong here, those latter percentages are awesome, too; coupons and contests are beautiful marketing tools on Facebook. Again, the problem is that a decent number of those Fans came for nothing more than a reward – best to let those freeloaders be on their way without forcing them to Like your page – let me tell you why.FansOfBrands

Those freeloaders create what I refer to as “Like baggage.” You’re carrying the weight of a Like that isn’t helping you . In fact, it’s hurting you. Why? Because Facebook’s algorithm holds that Like against you when it doesn’t engage. Boring, unoriginal, and  irrelevant content gets less engagement. Less engagement is a red flag, and red flags tell Facebook to hide your content. That’s the law of the land.

Of course, your content isn’t boring, unoriginal, or irrelevant, but the Like Gate may have been accruing fans that dinged you in the eyes of the algorithm. You’re better off with fewer Fans who are far more engaged. In fact, it’s recommended that you frequently sift through your Likes and remove any “fake” ones. Yes, it hurts to see that Like count go down, but it’s for the better – just think of it as Spring cleaning for your Facebook Page.

Now let’s talk about some strategies you can use to gain new Facebook Likes and also ensure that those new Likes are high quality ones.

1. Protect Your Page From Low Quality Facebook Likes

Restricting access to your Page is the perfect starting point for your Like-cleansing journey. You can choose to only show your page to certain countries, or set it to only exclude certain countries. This is great for keeping spammers and fake accounts at bay.

It’s also an excellent way to ensure your page is only available to your target audience. Does your company strictly cater to an English speaking audience? Only include countries where that’s a major language. Does your company limit operation to the United States? Make your Facebook Page the same!

To restrict access to your page, go to your page settings and select the “general” tab. From here just select “country restrictions” and decide which ones you want to include or exclude.


You can also set age restrictions if you’re targeting a specific demographic. You’ll find that setting just below the country restrictions.

Now that you’ve got you’ve protected your page from unworthy Likes, lets move forward!

2. Design your Page to Encourage Likes and Engagement

I’m always pleasantly surprised when I come across a Page that has done something creative within the constraints of Facebook’s layout and I wish more would follow suit. One of those creative things you can do is design your cover photo to point to your Like button or an ongoing promotion.

Many people will visit your Page’s timeline only once and that may be the only chance you have to convince them that your page is worth following. Do it with a well-designed cover photo that reminds them of the Like button. That, along with high quality posts and an exciting promotion shows them that your Page is happening! It’s hard not to Like and engage a Page that knows exactly what it’s doing.


3. Run Contests With Exciting, Relevant Prizes

Contests are the Swiss army knife of Facebook Pages. They create excitement, foster strong brand awareness, engage Fans, collect leads, generate virality, and encourage new Likes, ultimately growing your Fan Page. But they can also be a double-edged sword if you’re not careful!

Placing a Like Gate over a contest was a common practice that certainly provided a lot of instant gratification for Fans and Pages alike, however, it really reduced the value of the Like in the long run. Contests that offered generalized prizes (that everyone would want) were shooting themselves in the foot – especially if they placed said contest behind a Like Gate.

To gain a more high quality Like, choose a prize that is fun and aligns closely with the interests of your target audience and be sure to include a Like and Share button on the contest!

By offering a highly targeted prize and not forcing your audience to Like your page, you can rest assured that only people who are truly interested in your Page will have Liked it. The ones who didn’t Like your page were going to be Like baggage anyways, so you’re better off with out them!

Sqauw Valley

Facebook does not allow businesses to publish their own apps so work with third party apps like Heyo to create your contest.

4. Add Facebook Social Plug-Ins To your Website, Blog

This is one of the oldest, most tried and true strategies in the book. However, you’d be surprised how many websites don’t take full advantage of it. Make use of Facebook’s social plug-ins by including a Like button, comment stream or other social plug-in on your website or blog.

Don’t worry, all it takes is inserting a little snippet of code that you can find on the Facebook developer’s site. Once you have your Like button installed, you’ll want to give your visitors a reason to click it. Many websites take the step of adding a Like button, but tuck it away in a corner where it’s less visible.

If you’re serious about grabbing high quality Likes, call your website visitors to action and let them know that they need to click “Like” if they want to stay up to date with the latest awesome things your brand has to offer. After all, they did seek out your website and that makes them high quality lead – turn them into a high quality Like!

Imgur recently did a “Facebook Like Day” and slapped an eye-catching banner across the top of their page. It used a call to action and gave a good reason as to why someone who likes their website should like their page. I frequent Imgur and had never thought of their Facebook page. Their Facebook banner earned them a new, high quality Like from yours truly.


5. Send a Dedicated Email To Your List

It might seem strange that you need to convert existing leads into Facebook Fans, because, well you’ve already got them on your email list! Email lists generally have a high ROI which means that the people on that list are primed to be a high quality Like. Having these leads Like your page is like knocking out two birds with one stone – not only are they available to you via more channels, their engagement with your brand boosts your Facebook Page’s status, which means higher visibility, which means more high quality Fans which means more engagement – it’s a beautiful cycle!

Now, by dedicated email, I mean one that is focused on getting your list to Like your Facebook Page. You don’t want the email to be about anything else (such as company news). The focus of the email should be about the Like.

Here are some recommendations on how to craft a great email from our very own COO (and email guru) Chris Riegger:


● Ensure it is a dedicated email. This means that you don’t use the email for any other purposes, such as to share company news. The sole purpose of the email should be to ask your email audience to “Like” your Facebook Page.

● Keep it simple. Consumer attention spans are getting shorter all the time. Personally, I like email copy that is friendly, crisp, and direct.

● Offer an incentive. Feel free to provide some kind of offer to readers to stimulate activity. You’re not forcing them to Like, you’re encouraging it with an offer aligned with your brand’s message.

6. Never, ever buy Likes

This should go without being said but it still happens. Buying Likes is buying Like baggage. Not only are these not high quality Likes – they’re anti-Likes. They are going going to cost you time and money, and they are going to hurt you. We protected your page in the first step to help keep these kinds of Likes out – so don’t go and pay for them!

It’s understandably very tempting to take this short-cut because it quickly pumps your fan count way up and saves your Page from looking like a newbie. But eventually that Like baggage will catch up with you and rear its ugly head. Your engagement will suffer and Facebook’s algortithm will hate you! Don’t do it!

If you’ve got the budget, here’s the correct way to spend it in search of high quality Likes.

7. Instead, Use Highly Targeted Facebook Advertising

Facebook Ads offers a finely tuned targeting tool that will help you reach relevant, untapped audiences. Use Facebook ads along with your contests and content to create a high quality Like and lead magnet. Tools such as Audience Insights help make it possible to research and target exactly the audience you are looking for and ensure that you get the most bang for your buck.

Now this isn’t something you want to shoot from the hip on. There are some bells, whistles, buttons, and dials you’ll need to have figured out first. Do your research and know your target audience! For some help on how to promote on Facebook effectively, check out our “How To Promote Your Campaign On Facebook” webinar on the Heyo YouTube channel.

Now Go Get Those High Quality Facebook Likes

Remember that it’s all about engagement – create relevant, high quality, engaging content and the Likes will come. Not just any Likes, but the right Likes. The Likes that you want and need. You should never have to force someone to Like your page and with the Like Gate gone, it’s a no longer an issue.

If you put the above strategies to use, high quality Likes will come. Forget about the Like Gate! Instead, equip your Page with a Swiss Army knife! Launch a mobile optimized campaign that will bring in high quality Facebook Likes, Fan engagement, email captures, and sales. Click here to sign up, and we’ll show you how to launch one that converts at 10% or higher.


Have you used the Like Gate? Did you find that it helped or hindered your campaigns? What’s your primary strategy for gaining high quality Likes? Do you want to vent about the Like Gate? Sound off in the comments below!

Brooks Tiffany


Brooks Tiffany is the Customer Engagement Leader and Technical Writer at Heyo in Blacksburg, VA. He's an Air Force veteran with a B.A. in English from Virginia Tech. He'll start pursuing an M.S. in Human Centered Design and Enginnering at the University of Washington this Fall.