Facebook Bans Like-Bait: What Company Pages Need to Know

What would you do to get people to Like your company’s Facebook page?

“Like our page to download a 25% off coupon!”
“To get exclusive access to our eBook, Like our page!”
“Like our page to enter our sweepstakes!”

If incentivizing for Likes is an approach you’re using or considering, it’s time to put on the brakes.

Facebook announced that starting Nov. 5, it is banning “Like-bait.” This includes offering rewards in exchange for a Like and gating content until a person has Liked a page. Facebook makes it clear that company pages “must not incentivize people to … Like a page.”

Here’s an example of a Like gate:

Like Gate

Why the Change?

Facebook says it wants people to engage with pages because they are truly interested in a company and not because they’ll get an incentive in return. As Digiday reported, this ban “falls in line with Facebook’s continued effort to de-clutter users’ news feeds and serve more substantive advertisements to its users.”

What’s Still Acceptable?

Companies can still ask people to Like their pages. They can also continue promoting the Like button on websites and marketing materials. But they can’t make it a requirement to Like a page in order to access content.

Facebook also says, “It remains acceptable to incentivize people to login to your app, check in at a place or enter a promotion on your app’s page.”

Will this Hurt Metrics?

On the contrary, this is an opportunity to focus efforts on organic growth.

Companies can’t measure success on community size alone. A smart measure is how engaged a community is, whether you have 25,000 or 300 Likes. If people hit the Like button on a page because of an incentive, it’s no guarantee that they will be ideal community contributors who Like, comment on or share your content. Companies must look deeper than basic metrics to assess and refine their content strategy.

How Can Pages Prepare?

The change takes place in 10 weeks, so companies are advised to review their Facebook pages to ensure that Like-bait is not part of the strategy. Brands are also challenged to create more engaging, shareable content, as well as organic ways to build their communities.

By Danielle Gerhart, Content Manager, Public Relations