This afternoon, Facebook announced the release of a brand new feature, the Subscribe Button for profile pages. Ultimately, the new feature enables Facebook to support and provide even more publicly available content, which is a huge stride for its position in the search market.
Up until now, users haven't had much control over what see in their News Feed. On a user-by-user basis, the Subscribe Buttons gives you the ability to choose whether you'd like to see all updates, most updates, or just important updates from another user.
3 Main Functions of the Subscribe Button
The Subscribe Button, which Facebook promises to start making available on users' profiles over the next few days, will allow you to:
1. Choose exactly what you can see from people in your News Feed. Facebook users can already view updates from their friends in their News Feed, but using the new button, users can now choose how much will get displayed. They will now have the option of seeing all of that particular friend's updates, most (the amount that they currently see) of their updates, or only important updates (e.g. just highlights like a new job change or a move). Furthermore, users can also choose how much of what type of content will get displayed, such as photos, games, or nothing at all.
2. Subscribe to people who aren't your friends. As long as the user enables the Subscribe Button on his/her profile, you can subscribe to view updates from those people in your News Feed as well. This is a bonus for political figures, journalists, artists, bloggers, etc. who don't want hoards of friends but do want the ability to spread their messages to others.
3. Allow others to subscribe to your updates. Conversely, you can enable the Subscribe Button on your own profile and start generating subscribers to your updates as well. This will allow you to share your updates and content with more than just your friends. You can get even more granular with it, too. If you've enabled subscribers, you can limit what the public can see compared to what your friends can see using Facebook's post-by-post sharing options (e.g. public vs. friends vs. custom). To enable the Subscribe Button on your own profile, visit Facebook's Subscription Page and click "Allow Subscribers."
With the new Subscribe Button getting rolled out to personal profiles, the availability of the new feature will mean more publicly available data on Facebook. In addition, as people start enabling the Subscribe Button for their own profiles and try to attract subscribers, Facebook's search function will become substantially better. Up until now, Facebook's search functionality has been fairly limiting and not very useful due to the lack of publicly available content. This will soon change, making Facebook even more powerful from a search standpoint.
As a marketer, make sure that when you're promoting your business content on Facebook, you make it publicly available. This will ensure it can be indexed by Facebook search, thus expanding the reach of the content you share on Facebook.
Additionally, Facebook's introduction of the Subscribe Button will likely have future implications for business pages as well as Facebook's advertising platform. Marketers should keep an eye on Facebook's future announcements to stay on top of how new features can potentially affect their Facebook marketing efforts.
What do you think about Facebook's new Subscribe Button? Will you add it to your profile?
Originally published Sep 14, 2011 2:55:00 PM, updated October 20 2016