You might have noticed your Facebook News Feed looking a little different – more posts from people you’re subscribed to (including your friends) and fewer from fan pages. Well, it’s not just you. With the introduction of the “subscribe” feature, Facebook’s news feed has begun favoring posts and activity from subscriptions over posts from fan pages. This means it has become even more difficult to get content from your fan page seen in your followers’ news feeds. So what now?
First of all, this news means that it is more important than ever to post content that your fans will actively engage with by “liking”, commenting or sharing. Your fans’ activity will show up in News Feeds and News Tickers where your posts may not. So continue to ask questions, share images and videos, encourage comments, and post content that people will “like” and share with their friends.
Second, it’s probably time to start thinking about having staff and spokespeople represent your organization online through their Facebook profiles. Organizations and businesses have been doing this for quite some time on Twitter. Now, thanks to the introduction of the “subscribe” function, Facebook is finally catching up.
This change may be a little frustrating for organizations that have been concentrating on creating a strong fan page, but it presents a great opportunity to engage with fans in a more personal way. Organizational representatives can use social media to provide an inside view of your work and interact with advocates and supporters on a more personal level – all the while giving your organization a real face. It will deepen your connection with existing fans and help you find new supporters. Asking your supporters for something will also likely be more effective when it comes from a person rather than an organizational presence.
But before you get too eager about the newest thing on Facebook, remember that this is not the best idea for every organization. If your organization doesn’t have staff or representatives with the right personality or enough time and knowledge to engage on Facebook, you shouldn’t force it. If you only have the resources for one presence on Facebook, you should stick with the fan page which offers a lot of benefits that individual profiles do not – like Insights, landing pages, custom tabs, and Facebook ads targeting. And, after all, who knows what the future holds for fan pages.
Ready to get started? First, make sure you understand Facebook’s subscription and privacy settings so you know exactly how to broadcast to your subscribers. There is no need to friend your new supporters – just have them subscribe to your public feed. Beth Kanter offers more details on these first steps here.
Once your representative has his or her profile set up, it’s time to start recruiting subscribers. You can do this through the Facebook community, and also by putting a ‘Subscribe’ button on your website. It’s very simple – as easy as putting the “Like” button on your website.
Remember that this profile is not just a place to re-post everything from your fan page! It is a way for your representative to show their personality and interact with your supporters on a human level. The posts are a good place to express emotion, and share anecdotes and opinions. You can also use the profile to interact with people and pages throughout Facebook by “liking”, sharing, and commenting on content publicly. It may take some time to find your unique voice – try out different types of posts and pay attention to what your audience likes.
It is still early in the game but the tech and journalism sectors are already hopping on board – see Pete Cashmore of Mashable and Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times. Non-profit directors and staff have also been doing this for some time on Twitter – look at Kevin Donnellan of AARP and Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood.
Do you think this is good news or bad news for organizations on Facebook? Does your Executive Director or other staff already represent your organization through a public profile? Let us know in the comments below, through Twitter, or on our Facebook page!