Understanding Facebook Subscriptions - Are you going to be going public?

2 in 1 bag pattern - clutch 

What are facebook subscriptions?

Facebook have introduced a way that we can see selected 'public' posts from people in our facebook streams.  This will allow us all to decide which updates will be seen by everybody and which will be seen just by specified filtered lists, or just all friends - the default is 'friends' unless you have already changed this.  It sounds familiar because it's exactly like google+ circles works.  Also when someone subscribes, it's not reciprocal so this is a little like following on twitter too.  That wont neccesarily suddenly enlighten you, so I'll go on.

Facebook have created filters for your status updates on your facebook personal profiles.   Just write your update and then decide who you want to see it.  Public means everyone can see it including subscribers, Friends mean just people you are currently friends with can see it and then you can further filter who sees the post using facebook lists, like family, uni pals etc - you curate your own lists.

In order to allow other facebook users to subscribe to your public posts click on the 'subscriptions' link over in your left sidebar.  This will bring up a list of the people who you have subscribed to.  It will also give you the option to 'allow subscribers' - I say go for it, remember they will only see your 'public updates' and not anything else.

When you are on a friends profile you will now see in the top right that you are subscribed with a tick - this is automatic if you are friends.  Have any of you been using the lists to downgrade friends to aquaintences? It means they don't pop up in your feed so often - read this funny post! FB will alos make auto lists but I'd be wary of these, they certainly need checking that your boss hasn't accidentally found his way into your family list.

To subscribe to someone else posts you can search for them and click subscribe.  

Or if you come across someone interesting that you don't want to friend but do want to 'follow' hover over their name and the option will pop up.  I chose this one at random for the screen shot, I'm not into body building!

You can also decide how many of their posts you want to see, just use the drop down arrow next to their updates to edit this.  Or if you have a friend with lots in common, why not look at who they are subscribed to, you may find lots of interesting people to follow subscribe to.

So that's the kind of nuts and bolts of facebook subscribing but what can you do with this - is there potential for using it to promote your crafts...?  ...Yes lots! 

Well it's all about sending out the right 'public' profile - another marketing excercise for you.  As an independent crafter you need to put across a public persona that is inline with your products and your target audience, that's what blogging is all about.  Writing a blog is a way of offering people interested in your work a peek behind the scenes.  Use facebook subscriptions in exactly the same way.

Make your public status updates representative of your brand.  Try not to be spammy and remember your facebook friends will also be seeing these posts.  As far as I can tell you can't update just for subscribers which I think would be a great addition to give business people extra flexibility with this feature.

If your have a public profile  (like mine is Hilary Haptree - this isn't a fan page it's my alter-ego, don't tell fb!), a profile that you already use in a promotional way for your blog and products, it's still in your interest to build up subscribers too.  It's another way that you can be found as your name will appear in their 'subscriptions' list, and so it enable s more people to find you, regardless of the fact that all of your updates are in fact public - they don't know that! Having lots of subscribers is a definite positive!

'so sweet' Lollipop phone covers 

Mark Zuckerberg, aka Mr Facebook, has rather alot of subscribers already - a staggering 5.5million! How did he manage that when most of us have only just started getting on board with subscribing to people... ?

He migrated his page fans over to his profile as subscribers.  We have been able to migrate facebook friends over to fans for a few months, you know for all those people like me who "accidentally" made lots of friends with people they didn't know personally.  So now we can send them all back again from our fan pages as subscribers - from friend to fan to subscriber and then presumably fb will enable us to turn subscribers into fans at some point... mmmm?  I don't think the migration feature has been launched across the board yet - can't see any options available on my fan page.

Page, Profile or Both?

I'd recommend having a page and a profile if you are a small business, you can tell any subscribers about your page in your 'public' updates and equally you can invite people to 'subscribe' to your personal updates from your page.  But don't post the same updates, try and clearly define the fan page from the profile.  A profile should be a little less formal and more about you, not just your business.  Eg. if you went to a museum and you loved it, use that as a public update "Tate modern is awesome, such a great exhibition"  then on the page you could add a link to a blog post about your visit.  This way the person both subscribed and a fan will not be bombarded - it's really easy to unlike a page and unsubscribe from a profile.

Reciprocal subscriptions will no doubt become similar to how they are with twitter, people advertising that they will 'subscribe back' etc

You can find me - Hilary Pullen on Google+ , @haptree on twitter and Hilary Haptree on facebook - I'm fairly ubiquitous :)

What do you think of this new way of using facebook? Please comment as your comments make my posts much more interesting  ;)

I use my favourite images from the Craft Blog UK Flickr page to illustrate my posts - you can find more great images here