This morning my feeds were full of the news that Facebook is launching a ‘Subscribe’ button that can be added to websites. This made me revisit my use of Facebook subscribe and whether I wanted to continue.
When Facebook first rolled out ‘Subscribe’ I thought it was a good idea, in fact it was something that had been possible for a while under another guise. It used to be the case that if you sent a friend request to someone and they didn’t respond you would see their public updates in your newsfeed. Subscribing just formalised this process, and I think we have Google+ to thank for the simplification of it. Initally I allowed subscribers, partly as an experiment to see how it would work but as I accumulated subscribers I began to understand the benefits. I like having the option, it means I don’t have to friend people I don’t know and can keep my friends down to the people I do communicate with on a regular basis. However there are a few glitches that I’m not altogether happy with.
Firstly if I want to post a lot of content that I think has relevance to my subscribers there is no way of restricting this. Many of my friends are just that, they have no interest in social media beyond keeping in touch with friends, if I’m constantly posting business social media links they are going to start ignoring my updates altogether. I am what I’d call a ‘power’ Facebook user, which is a polite term for someone who posts a lot. I like that I can restrict content to just those I think would be interested in it by using friend lists but if I want my subscribers to see it I can’t stop it pumping out these social media news stories to everyone on my friend lists.
So why am I concerned? Surely I could just post the social media stuff to the Spiderworking.com business page? The Spiderworking.com page is aimed at a very specific audiece. It’s there to provide useful tips and handy information to small business owners using social media. Many of the interesting articles I want to share publically through my profile would not fit that remit. I like being able to share these with a wider audience and my Facebook profile, along with my Google+ page allow me to do this. To be able to filter content just to subscribers would give me the opportunity to share this stuff without boring my non-business, non social-media related friends.
However this isn’t my biggest problem with the subscribe button. As I mentioned above I love being able to filter content to the appropriate audience. I often choose to share posts publically, to just friends or to a specific group of people. This functionality is key to what I post on Facebook. However if I comment on a friends ‘public’ post or ‘Like’ it this appears on the newsfeeds not only of all my friends but also my subscribers. These could be fun comments with friends that may seem odd or inappropriate to a public audience. As a result of this I’ve stopped commenting on some posts. I’m becoming less social.
So I’ve reached the stage where I wonder if having subscribers is worth it? I have very little contact with them and if they fell into my target market surely it would be better for them to connect with my business page? Not having subscribers wouldn’t fix my second problem totally, comments I make will still go out to my entire friend list and publically but without subscribers they won’t automatically appear on ‘strangers’ news feeds. I have to consider if it’s just my ego stopping me abandoning subscribers and clearly if this is the case it’s not a strong reason to hang onto them. I’ll be re-thinking the entire Spiderworking.com social strategy for the New Year and will decide then if having subscribers on Facebook is a worthwhile exercise for me.
Have you allowed subscribers on your Facebook profile? If so do you see a benefit? Do my concerns concern you too? I’d like to hear your comments.