Fan Gating on Facebook: A Missed Opportunity to Grow Your Fan Base

The No. 1 request I get from people about building their Facebook fan page is always: “I want to get thousands of fans as fast as possible.”

There is not enough room in one post to talk about proper social media strategies or building value from your fan base, although both of these are very important. Let’s face it…numbers matter.

Disclaimer – Getting tons of fans does not equal success. If you don’t plan, strategize, and interact your fans will be worthless.

Fan Gating: To require a Facebook user to “like” your page before they can receive desired content, gain access to information, enter a contest or sweepstakes.

To put it simply, this is when you require someone to become a fan before they can do anything.

Why would you use fan gating?

The first reason is obvious: to get more fans. The second, and more important reason, is future access. When someone is a fan they can see your future posts. There is another reason that is not often talked about, the psychological effect of hitting "like."

Next week I will be presenting on the psychology of the Facebook user at Pubcon, a big tech conference in Las Vegas. The very act of hitting the “like” button impacts how people will interact with you. You can boil this action down to a positive affirmation of you, your brand or your company.

Why is this important?

This is huge. Facebook gives you options on how you can interact with people on your fan page. You can build custom tabs that allow you to ask for people’s name and email, ask permission to access their friends or even sell merchandise.

When you get someone to positively affirm your page they are primed to take further action.

How do you set up a fan gate?

You have most likely seen this before. You find a new fan page and you are asked to hit “like” to enter a contest or see a special. This is called a reveal tab on your fan page. A tab that shows one piece of content and then switches once the person hits “like.” You can expect to pay about $250 or more in having one of these applications customly set up for you, or you can surf through the free plugins on Facebook.

Either way, fan gating is an excellent way to boost your fan base rapidly while building your email list or making people aware of your latest special.

I am not going to pimp out my own Facebook page as an example; instead I recommend checking out how these larger companies do it: MGD64 and Delta.

Jabez LeBret has authored three books and is a managing partner for Get Noticed Get Found. Over the last nine years he has delivered over 700 keynote addresses in five countries. His main area of expertise is managing Gen Y in the workplace, advanced Facebook strategies, LinkedIn strategies, Google+, SEO, local directory optimization, and online marketing. He recently relocated to Chicago.

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