How To “Like-Gate” Tabs and Content in Facebook Timeline

Monday, 16 April 2012

When Facebook pushed brand pages to the new Timeline layout a few weeks ago, a lot of questions arose. (See more about the changes here, here and here.) Savvy pages admins were quick to notice that the mandatory default landing tab for all pages is now the Wall, whereas previously each page could design and build a custom landing tab to draw fans in, explain the company and offer an incentive to “like” them on Facebook. This practice, called “like-gating” or “fan-gating” content, seemed to be a way of the past. Or is it?

Facebook Says: Buy Ads

Facebook issued a statement clarifying that while tabs (now called apps) can no longer be selected as the default landing page for non-fans, the practice of incentivizing new fans by hiding content and displaying only once a user “likes” the page is not gone. Rather, pages can send ad traffic to dedicated tabs for this purpose.

Facebook  is focused on making money, so it’s not surprising that they are pushing brands toward buying more ads. But how else can you make this work for you? Sure, if you’ve got a little money to spend, try out Facebook ads; their targeting capabilities are fantastic. But don’t stop there

I Say: Get Creative and Target Traffic Sources

Push your marketing team to think beyond what Facebook wants you to do and get inside the heads of potential fans. Send an email blast to your list that drives to a landing tab with an offer that’s revealed only when they click “like,” and tease that offer in the email. Cross-promote your brand and your social channels and tweet the link to this tab. Post it on your blog or an appropriate part of your site based on the content that’s there, and tie it back to the offer.

The beauty of this change to the default tab is that every page starts off on the same foot: organic traffic goes to the Wall. It’s up to you to make the most of other tabs. You can control who you send where, whether that is by buying Facebook ads and targeting certain keywords to different tabs, emailing your list based on selective criteria and tailoring Facebook offers to past behavior or linking from blog posts and lead forms to a tab offer that’s likely to get you more clicks, and more fans.

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