September 2011 and what Facebook called the “most significant changes to the Facebook Platform since its launch in 2007”.
Included in these changes is the Subscribe Button, an opt in choice that allows you to not only vary the level of updates you receive from friends but more importantly to gain updates from individuals you don’t know but want to follow (spot the Google+ term), like a politician or perhaps an author. Which may bring some full circle back to using profiles.
Initially it was all about the profile and group, as Web Analytics World advised “…Organizations and bloggers should create Facebook Groups to further promote brand presence…”. Then in November 2007, Facebook launched Pages and with them, the main tool for businesses, public figures, organisations and causes to interact with individuals.
Profiles, Groups or Pages?
Despite this, there were still Facebookers using personal profiles and groups to communicate with their audiences, some had started before Pages existed and there was no way to easily migrate all their followers and activity between the three entities. Newcomers to Facebook weren’t always sure which was the best option (personal profile, group or page?) and on occasion created and used their personal profile for business without realising that this goes against Facebook T&Cs.
In October 2010, Facebook launched a tool to help users migrate the most important part of their profiles, their friends, over to a new Page. That same month, Facebook redesigned groups with the focus on making them suitable for more personally connected and smaller groupings. There was no migration tool to help groups move over to a new Page. Instead this summer Facebook started a process of migrating old style groups, either into the new style of group or into the archive and oblivion.
Should I delete my Page and Subscribe?
Fast forward to September 2011 and the Subscribe button, so if I’m a public figure should I be closing down my Page now?
Not necessarily, although Facebook does say that you can use either or both routes to interact with your audience. Whether you’re new to Facebook or established and comfortable with using a Page, take this opportunity to review your short, mid and long term goals for using Facebook and if you are already using it, your progress so far towards achieving these goals. Even if you are not a public figure, it is always worthwhile to invest some time in reviewing your Facebook activities and goals.
If you are interested in the Subscription route, take a look at the differences in functionality between Profiles with Subscriptions and Pages. While both allow an unlimited number of fans/subscribers, at this early stage, Pages hold far more functionality:
- allowing more than one admin (obviously!)
- targeted updates (language and location)
- custom tabs and applications
- insights for your page and website
Last night, Facebook Pages released a set of best practice guides for public figures to ensure that you get the most out of your page activity. It’s also worth noting that although the subscription button allows you to gain a wider audience with your public updates, the T&Cs still state that you are not to use your personal profile for your own commercial gain.
So while it may be a good option to allow subscribers I wouldn’t recommend deleting your page just yet!