Facebook’s subscribe button is a double-edged sword: If you enable it, you’ll want to be careful about what information you share publicly, and if you opt to enable comments from subscribers not on your friend list, you’ll need to moderate them the same way a page administrator needs to moderate wall posts.
But let’s back up a bit here.
The subscribe option represents a huge opportunity to people who run their business based on their name: Journalists, authors, speakers, TV personalities, solo accountants, solo lawyers and others can now use subscriptions instead of a Facebook page.
We don’t know yet if it’s a better option to use subscriptions than a page, but it would depend on these things:
- Is it easier and cheaper to get subscribers than page fans?
- Do subscribers see your posts at a higher rate than page fans? Much has been made of the low visibility rates of page posts. Is EdgeRank as harsh on subscribed posts, or does it not even come into play?
The Facebook subscribe option is really new. And of course, some of the usual suspects like Kevin Rose and Robert Scoble already have many thousands of subscribers. Oh and Zuck has 5.5 million.
But how can the average solo entrepreneur pimp out their profile to get more Facebook subscribers and manage posting to the public while also maintaining privacy amongst your closer friends?
1. Opt In To Allow People To Subscribe To Your Profile
Click here to go to the page where you can enable the subscribe button on your profile. The address is http://www.facebook.com/about/subscribe.
Later you can edit subscriber settings by going to your profile page and clicking on subscribers under your picture. You’ll see another line that confirms subscriptions are on.
Below you can see the settings I recommend.
This ensures that:
- Anyone who can see your updates can comment on them (if you have abusers later you may want to change this).
- You’ll be notified of all new subscribers (if you get lots of subscriptions, you may want to change this).
2. Ask People To Subscribe In Your Profile Picture
Now if you want people who are not your friends to subscribe to you… why not tell them to do so?
In my experience marketing online, telling people what to do always works better.
You can test it yourself- run two Facebook ads, one that tells them to click or like and another that doesn’t, and tell me what you find with your clickthrough rate.
The call-to-action works better 99% of the time. You always have a better chance of getting what you want when you ask for it.
(The picture for this is below with the next tip.)
3. Summarize What You Offer In Your Profile Picture
You have 200 pixels width and 600 height to work with.
Below is an example of what I recommend — as an author, I’m highlighting my book, with a call to action (subscribe now) in the middle. I’m also adding a summary of who I am and why people should subscribe.
If you aren’t an author, use the space I used for the book to show off what you do sell- maybe it’s your business logo, or your TV show, or a picture of your place of business.
You can see what your profile looks like to the public by going to profile, clicking on the view as button, then click on the “public” link.
4. Make Sure Your Privacy Settings Are Secure
Click over to your privacy settings, and the first thing you’ll see is the privacy of most of your posts. The default privacy setting means who sees your posts, unless you change it on specific posts before you post them.
Many people choose the Friends setting. Mine is visible to friends of friends, because I want people who are not friends to be able to see more about me.
Click on the settings for “how you connect.” You’ll see a box like this one, and these are the settings I use:
Personally, I want everyone to be able to find me. But you might consider allowing friend requests only from friends of friends. This makes friendship more exclusive, and increases the chances people will have only the option to subscribe to you. For me, this is tempting, because I get a lot of requests from people I don’t know, and they don’t write any message to me to introduce themselves. Considering there are many fake profiles, I don’t accept most friend requests. There was a time I did, but that was before I noticed some of them seemed like fake people. I have no idea why someone would create a fake profile and friend me, but I don’t want to know
5. Post Some of Your Posts To The Public
Given the above settings, anyone who is not a friend (or friend of friend in my case) will not be able to see your posts… unless you make them public. Subscribers will only see public posts.
So if you want your subscribers to get a post in their news feeds, you need to make it public before you post it.
And that’s all there is to it!
Brian Carter is the author of the book The Like Economy: How Businesses Make Money On Facebook.
AllFacebook edited an image from Shutterstock for the pimp graphic.