New Facebook Changes & Why Subscribers Could Be THE BOMB!
Let’s face it… social media is still in it’s infancy. Think about how far telephones & televisions have come! (Hello, iPhones and big screens!) Well, right now, we’re all experiencing just the tip of the social media iceberg. Add in the speed of technology these days, and social media is a constantly moving and improving target. That’s just one of the many reasons I love my job! And the latest Facebook news about Timelines and Subscriptions is uber exciting on many fronts for you and your brand… but I do suggest you proceed with cautious optimism.
The No Brainer: Facebook’s New Timeline Update
Plain and simple, Timeline is a new look for your Facebook Profile page. It’s kinda like your Profile on steroids. There’s a cool new BIG picture at the top… called a cover photo. Your timeline now goes all the way back to your start on Facebook. And where apps have been available on Fan Pages, now there are Social Apps for your Timeline — music, movies, pictures, etc. At first all this was a little ADD for me… and I’m totally ADD…. wait, there’s something shiny!!
(dramatic pause…) But after a few days.. the new Timeline profile has really grown on me. Now, I think this update is a no brainer.
Lots of Promise But Proceed W/ Caution:
Facebook’s New Subscriptions
If you’re not as popular as Kim Kardashian or Lady Gaga, but you’re using facebook to network AND getting A LOT of friend requests from people you don’t necessarily know… then you’re in good company. I believe there are millions of us on facebook who have outgrown our Profiles, but still feel a little silly having a Fan Page. In case you’re not sure of the difference between the two… let me give some definitions:
This is your personal Facebook Profile where you accept (or ignore) “friend requests”. Yes, I know… many people feel like their profile is their personal space and they’re not comfortable connecting it w/ their work life at all. I totally respect that. I just enjoy using my profile to connect with people because it feels more genuine than a Fan Page. Plus, Facebook is all about making personal “connections”, so Profiles generally have the most “rights” — post on friends’ walls, send messages and tag people. The downside of a Profile? You can’t accept more than 5,000 friends. (While I agree with facebook that no one really has more than 5,000 true friends.. it’s a catch 22 for those who feel guilty NOT accepting a friend request or who find their Profile a great way to increase their “sphere of influence“. 5,000 may seem like a big number.. until you hit it. Then, you can’t accept ANY friend requests… even if it is your best buddy since 3rd grade! Been there… done that… did NOT buy the t-shirt!)
Fan Pages were created for businesses and companies. On these Pages, people click the “like” button to follow the updates. It’s best for businesses (from you local dry cleaners to Zappos) or brands w/ raving fans (like the Kardashians). Like it or not, I– like so many– found myself with no choice but to create a Fan Page to engage with new folks because I’d hit the 5,000 “friend” limit on my Profile. The upside of a Fan Page: customized apps (newsletters, videos, contests), Insights (so you know WHO likes your page and what postings trip their trigger), and no cap on the number of fans who can “like” your page. So, what could possibly be the downside? While facebook has worked VERY hard to make Fan Pages more user friend and acceptable (not feel so pompous)… a Fan Page still isn’t as personal as a profile.
So, again… many of us are caught into the middle… not knowing where we belong. THAT’S why I think I’m going to love the new Subscriptions option!! Here’s the world of subscriptions according to Cindy:
Basically Subscriptions allow you to have “friends” on your Profile (up to 5,000) AND add an endless number of people who “subscribe” to your updates. You can give these “subscribers” the same rights as “friends” (posting, messaging, etc) to create more engagement or you can limit what they can do. I feel like this is awesome because you can keep the people you truly KNOW as your “friends” and customize posts, pictures, etc to them privately (well, as private as the internet gets). You can un-friend (as opposed to de-friend) those “friends” you really don’t know personally and yet they will still stay subscribed to your timeline. PLUS… there’s no limit to subscribers! It could be the best of both worlds for many brands!!
Journalists are TOTALLY embracing Timeline and Subscriptions. They’ve updated their Profiles to the new Timeline and offer Subscriptions to their updates. Here are a few examples: Sam Champion from GMA, Katie Couric, Ann Curry from The TODAY Show, and more! (You may wonder why they don’t have a “friend” request button. Once you hit 10,000 subscribers, you switch to a Subscription ONLY platform. Check out this WONDERFUL article from my new friend Vadim Lavrusik – who heads up Journalists On Facebook. Here’s one of his articles.)
The only bummers I’ve found so far?
1. No analytics.
On your Profile, you can’t track Insights to see from where subscribers come or what posts get the most interest. Remember… I’m an Emmy winning investigative reporter… GIVE ME THE COLD, HARD FACTS! But, that doesn’t mean you’re totally in the dark with your subscriptions. You can tell when people comment and engage with you on a topic – which is the whole point of social media. (When I posted pictures of my face mangled by a cat a week and a half ago, I got 300+ comments on my Profile and Fan Page. I don’t need Insights to know THAT was a hot button! Here’s my newsletter about it.)
2. Facebook hasn’t yet combined the Fan Page apps into the Timelines.
With a Fan Page, you can add a tab that let’s folks sign up for your newsletter, watch videos straight from YouTube and enter contests. But that’s not to say apps aren’t available for your Timeline. They are! But the Timeline apps more social and not as marketing driven – which is both good (more genuine) and bad (the right contest can really boost the numbers of your target audience).
3. Spamming is apparently very easy on your Profile/Timeline.
Unlike your fan page, there are no profanity filters. (By the way, please don’t test it and make me block you, k?)
4. You can’t have multiple admins on a Timeline account.
Since this is your PROFILE… it only represents ONE person & can’t have multiple admins like Fan Pages.
With all this said… remember, Timeline and Subscriptions are NEW and only available right now for Profiles. I expect kinks to be worked out and many of these personal touches added to Fan Pages in the future. Plus, remember how I said we’re in the infancy of social media? You can bet your bottom dollar that Facebook will continue to change. We’ve only just begun!
The bottom line?
Those looking to connect with their high school classmates and look at their grandkid’s pictures are probably good with a basic Profile. Business and companies are probably best served with a Fan Page. For the rest of us? Well, before you rush into ANYTHING… you might wait a month or two or three to see what shakes out. In the meantime, I’m going head-first into the Timeline & Subscriptions so I can give you more information. I’m working with Facebook and Subscriptions were added to my Timeline last night. (Before you get mad at me…. I DID NOT SELECT WHO STAYED A FRIEND AND WHO MOVED TO A SUBSCRIBER! Facebook has an algorithm that moved 5,000 “friends” over to subscription status last night — except those who engaged the most w/ my Profile. PLEASE NOTE: I’ve given the same rights to Subscribers as my closest friends. But if your feelings are hurt… please let me know. I don’t want to lose your connection b/c I’m test driving stuff before I suggest it to my social media strategy clients. Better for me have an epic fail, right? LOL….)
Strategy is all about finding what works best for YOU!!
What do YOU think?
Have you updated to the new Timeline?
Are you going to add Subscribers?? Or is your Profile too personal?Does it bother you to be a “Subscriber” and not a “Friend”?
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