creativity, culture, community
Um…what is fan gating, you ask? It’s the method of getting people to “like” your company, organization, product or service on Facebook so that they can enter contests, receive discounts, or get special information. Liking a page often provides access to fun stuff like giveaways, coupons, invitations to events, games, limited offers, or sneak peek videos and photos. If you don’t “like” the page you can’t see the special content.
In order to do this, the page administrators must build a “gate,” or special landing page, for first-time visitors. When you first visit the page, you are welcomed and asked to “like” the page before you can enter the site or post comments. The majority of page content is hidden behind a closed “gate.”
Why fan gate? Most companies want to build lots of friends on Facebook. Fan gating is a way to increase your number of friends. As with other “like” invites, companies rely on friends asking friends. To really have influence in the social space, it’s not just the number of friends you have at any one time, it’s your friends combined with your friends’ friends. So if you have an interesting site, people will tell their friends about you and they will want to join the fun, too. When you build up lots of friends, Facebook gives you options of how you can interact with them. You can add custom apps that allow you to gather email addresses or even sell merchandise on your page.
Don’t throw a party without hors d’oeuvres! Once you decide that fan gating is a good idea, have a plan in mind. You can turn off potential friends if you don’t have anything for them to do when they get to your inside page. And a word of caution… be honest in your dealings and forthright about what you are giving away or providing. Creating a contest, a special offer and fresh content before you start fan gating will save you time and help keep things rolling. Do research or brainstorm with your PR/Ad agency to make your plan, but try to ensure that what you are offering is of interest or benefit to your friends so they’ll keep coming back! Once you get your page set up…use other resources (email lists, in-store contests, ads) to help drive people to visit and like your Facebook page.
Here are a couple of companies or groups I think are doing a good job fan gating.
The new “Breaking Dawn” movie had a fun page with games, movie trailers, posters and videos. Some local arts organizations – like Atlanta’s High Museum of Art – have wonderful pages, and if you like them you can be among the first to know about upcoming exhibits or performances and even win tickets or goodies. Tourism boards from various countries offer contests to win free trips! There are all kinds of pages with lots of different kinds of contests and interactive experiences, so explore and see what others are doing.
For further reading, here is a story on Ad Age about regulations issued by the Better Business Bureau’s National Advertising Division regarding Facebook fan gating: http://bit.ly/uKbbJn
What do you think about fan gating? What gets you excited enough to “like” a company or product?