Hey! I have something for you. You think you want it. And to get it, all you have to do it like my Facebook page. Or sign up for my mailing list to read my white paper. Or share this with a friend. Or tweet with this hashtag.
And THEN you can have this whatever it is.
This has been a marketing tactic for some time. I can think of web pages I saw at least 10 or 15 years ago that wouldn’t let you “learn more” until you agreed to join their email mailing list and in same cases also give up your mailing address. I never thought it was a good practice.
Businesses and services don’t really connect more with people they force through hoops and obstacles. Especially in this modern world of quick unsubscribing from email lists, I can easily join your list with an email address I made 5 minutes ago, get what I came to get, and never check that Hotmail again. Or unsubscribe. And then what do you REALLY have? You didn’t grow your list. You just taught me that if I want to work with you, you will put self-serving interests first, and delay me getting what I came to get. Maybe I can get what you have from someone else who will act like my time and personal information are more valuable.
Another of these approaches is like-gating on Facebook. In case you’re new to the term, this is where you offer something to people but they can only see it or have it if they like your Facebook fan or business page.
The interesting thing about that is that it assumes that people who are interested in your business don’t already like your Facebook fan page. So either your Facebook page isn’t that interesting or people aren’t really that into you (or something else). Unliking a fan page is really easy. One click, maybe 2, and it’s easy to find. Which means it only ends up serving as a temporary obstacle.
And all those likes can work against you.
Facebook looks at your fan page and sees how many people interact with it. Do you get likes? Comments? Shares? And when you get a low percentage of those, Facebook says aha this page isn’t that interesting, let’s show it to fewer people. That means that if you have more likes but from mostly uninterested people, you are potentially killing your ratio of engagement. Now, instead of 20 people out of 100 being involved in your page, it’s 25 out of 200. That will actually work against you on Facebook, where algorithms rule, and in a bad way.
Facebook previously dropped the hammer on forcing people to approve a Facebook app (that grabs all your personal info and possibly your friends’ personal info) in order to see or get something or enter a contest. Now, you won’t be able to force people to like something to get the scoop, get something, or enter a contest.
That’s a win for user experience. Let your Facebook fans or mailing list subscribers be people who naturally want to opt in and might stick around and be engaged.