Just as you were on the trend of increasing your "likes," now you have to start all over with your Facebook marketing tactics. Beginning tomorrow, Facebook is taking down the "like gate" — when you force Facebook users to like your Page.

Facebook announced the update to its Platform Policy back on Aug. 7, stating that it will no longer allow companies to require a user to like a Page to gain access to content, contests, apps or rewards. After an abundance of like gating, Facebook found that the likes were not authentic because the increased number of likes would diminish after a promotion had run its course.

Facebook detailed this change in a developers blog post by Harshdeep Singh: "You must not incentivize people to use social plugins or to like a Page. This includes offering rewards, or gating apps or app content based on whether or not a person has liked a Page. It remains acceptable to incentivize people to log in to your app, check in at a place or enter a promotion on your app's Page."

With this ban, Facebook hopes that businesses will start to receive likes from fans that actually want to like their page because if a fan genuinely likes a business, they will be more engaged to the page and businesses will see better results.

What does this mean for your business?

Don't fret. While gaining likes is a great way to measure your marketing skills, it's not the end of the road. With this new development, you'll be able to track your real fans who want to engage with your company and brand. This is just pushing you to utilize Facebook better for your marketing.

Here's how you can do so:

  • Relevant content: Engaging your fans with relevant content that addresses the wants and needs of your target audience should result in likes, comments, shares, etc.
  • Facebook advertisements: You can increase your fan base by targeted campaign options through Facebook. You also are able to pay attention to Insights — the analytics component is tied to your Facebook Page where you can promote popular content.
  • Other forms of gating: You can ask for a user's name and email address, which you will be able to use in email campaigns and will certainly be of greater value than a like.
  • Other social media platforms: Since Facebook is providing fewer options, it may be time to think outside the box of how you can promote your business on other platforms.
  • Incentives: Establish a compelling value proposition. The incentive may be as simple as providing the most thorough, helpful or entertaining information in your niche.

While this change is being made, you are still able to ask and encourage users to like a page. If you're allowing anyone to enter your promotion while encouraging fans to like and share your information, run with it. Fans who choose to like the page in addition to entering the contest will most likely continue to engage with your company. This scenario is not part of the ban and is still applicable to companies throughout.

Remember that while getting more likes is useful to your business, it's not the most reliable information. Reaching out to your fans and engaging them will give you more reliable analytics and traffic to your page. This policy change is a sign that even Facebook knows that a like isn't worth as much as Page admins think it is.