As you may have noticed already, a couple days ago Facebook rolled out an important new feature on the social network which they are calling “Subscriptions.” In particular, you’ll notice that many people’s personal profiles (including mine) on the site now feature a Subscribe button, which allows you to subscribe to get their updates in your Facebook feed – even if you’re not friends with them on Facebook.
This is potentially a huge shift in how Facebook works, and one which could have a big impact on how comedians use the site. You can read a little more about the basics of the new Subscribe button in general here, but I’ve put together the following crash course for comedians featuring the six things you really need to know about it and how it may affect what you do.
1. It Makes Facebook More Like Twitter
The introduction of the Subscribe button is a huge step by Facebook to mimic some of the functionality of Twitter. One of the biggest differences between the two social networks used to be that on Twitter you could follow anybody without them having to follow you back – now, that’s exactly what Facebook is allowing you to do through this feature.
It’s too early to tell what impact this may have, but it’s possible that it could ultimately lead to people moving away from Twitter and focusing more on Facebook – at least that’s what Facebook is surely hoping.
2. You Need To Activate It To Use It
If you want to allow people to subscribe to your personal profile updates, you will need to first activate the functionality on your profile. To do so, just click here and then hit the green “Allow Subscribers” button.
Once you’ve enabled the Subscriptions function on your profile, people who subscribe to your profile will see any updates that you post publicly. It’s worth noting here that you still have the ability on each update to post it privately or only show it to your actual friends and hide it from subscribers.
3. It Allows Your Personal Profile To Function More Like A Fan Page
One of the most common mistakes that comedians make when using Facebook is using a personal profile page as opposed to a Fan Page as I’ve previously discussed. The introduction of Facebook’s Subscriptions feature really blurs the line between the two types of pages because it now eliminates one of the biggest disadvantages of using a personal profile page which was that you could only have a maximum of 5,000 friends.
While you still can’t have more than 5,000 friends of your personal profile, you can now have an unlimited number of Subscribers to your personal profile. This is a huge development for those of you that have never set up a fan page and prefer to just use your personal profile instead.
4. Your Fan Page Is Still More Powerful Than Your Personal Profile
While the introduction of the Subscribe feature greatly improves the power of your personal profile, it doesn’t completely make your fan page irrelevant. I believe having a fan page is still a much better option for comedians, because fan pages allow you to run Facebook ads targeting your fans – both ads to gain new fans and the equally important sponsored story ads.
Even if you don’t currently plan on running any Facebook ads, this is a huge difference and a major reason why the majority of your efforts should still be focused on growing your fan page as opposed to your personal profile. Facebook ads are incredibly powerful and you’re going to want the option to use them at some point.
5. It May Increase (Or Decrease) The Chances Of People Seeing Your Updates
As part of the new Subscriptions feature, users who subscribe to you are able to adjust their settings when they subscribe to control how many of your updates they see and what kind of updates they see. For example, they can choose to see all of your updates, some of your updates, or block particular updates such as event invites, etc.
It’s way too early to know much about how subscribers will use this functionality but it’s easy to see how it could have a big impact on what you post. If you’re posting too often, or things that are perceived as annoying, it will theoretically be easier for people to block your stuff from their feeds. But if you’re posting great stuff, people will have more control to increase the chances that they see your updates (in theory), which could lead to a lot more people seeing and interacting with your stuff.
6. It’s A Reminder Why Your Website And Email List Are More Important Than Your Social Network
While there’s really nothing negative about the rollout of this new Facebook feature, it is a subtle reminder that Facebook can change the rules of the game whenever it wants. That’s why it can be very dangerous to make a platform you don’t control the hub of your online activity.
Facebook is great and it’s not going anywhere any time soon, but always remember that your website and email list (both of which you can fully control) should be the hub of your activity. Because you never know what platforms like Facebook are going to do and how their users are going to react to what they do.