As Facebook floods its users with a variety of changes in advance of Thursday's F8 Developer Conference, one is left wondering how this commotion will affect music marketing. In particular, the introduction of the Subscribe Button raises the question of whether or not one should be converting one's Page Fans into Profile Subscribers.
Let's take a break from contemplating our new and "improved" Facebook newsfeed with real-time news ticker on the side and consider what's happening with the Subscribe Button, shall we?
The new Subscribe Button is in the process of being rolled out to users who will have to opt-in to activate it on individual Profiles. Basically, it allows folks to subscribe to updates from individuals without having to be accepted as a Friend by that user. Such subscribers can decide which posts to follow.
If you offer Profile subscriptions, posts marked public will be available to subscribers. If you want them to be able to comment, you simply allow anyone to comment on your public posts. More details can be found on Facebook and on the All Facebook blog.
For those musicians who have been building fanbases through their Profiles and haven't created a Fan Page, adding the Subscribe Button means that you will never go over the 5,000 friend limit and be forced to send people to a Fan Page that splits your following and adds to your workload.
If you have a Fan Page, you will soon be able to follow Mark Zuckerberg's example and switch all your fans over to a personal Profile as subscribers, ditching the Page in the process.
Officially, bands aren't supposed to have personal Profiles but many do. This is potentially a dangerous strategy since Facebook can nuke that Profile at any moment. So keeping or creating a Fan Page is a good idea for bands.
Beyond that, issues of what will appear in your fans' newsfeeds, whether via your Page or Profile are worth considering. Page posts can be optimized to appear in newsfeeds but that's never a sure thing. Profile subscribers will be able to make choices about which updates to receive. Friends lists further complicate the issue and upcoming announcements at F8 on Thursday may add even more complexity.
So should you switch Fans to Subscribers?
I suggest waiting till the dust clears and you have more info to decide. That said:
- If you're a band and not an individual musician, hold on to the Fan Page just to be on the safe side.
- If you're an individual musician, seriously consider combining the two.
Hypebot contributor Clyde Smith is a freelance writer and blogger. He blogs about web business models at Flux Research and the world of dance at All World Dance. To suggest music services and related topics for review at Hypebot, please contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.