Earlier this month, Facebook launched the ‘Subscribe’ button that lets users view other people’s feeds. The idea is to allow users to follow people within their stream even if they are not friend, pretty much like the concept of Google+ Circles. Twitter uses the same concept where you can follow someone and there’s no compulsion on others to follow you back.
While most critics has been quick to write off the Subscribe button as Facebook’s attempt to copy Google+, I actually see a lot of business value in this new feature. How businesses can uses the Facebook Subscribe feature to interact with their customers? What value does it offer in terms of branding and marketing? Let’s find out.
How does it work?
The Subscribe button lets a Facebook user see another user’s post feed. The best part is that you can selectively choose what updates you subscribe to. Facebook lets you choose from
- All updates
- Most updates
- Important updates only
Further, users can customize the kind of updates they see from their friends. You no longer need to apply the one size fits all rule for sharing your updates with your friends.
Build the Brand, Subscriptions will follow
I’ve always considered Facebook to be a fantastic branding tool. Advertisers are hungry to get a slice of the Facebook branding pie. In fact, the explosive growth of Facebook has meant there’s a reduced spending on paid-for search – effectively money spent on Google. In my opinion, it’s not surprising that businesses are gradually moving away from the conventional Google branding model to a more innovative Facebook branding model.
Having said that, the ‘Subscribe’ button opens up a world of new opportunities from a branding perspective. By subscribing to potential customers, businesses can see what they’re doing. Such subscriptions can provide a vital input on consumer’s buying habits.
On the other hand, the Subscribe button makes life easier for business branding. They no longer need to manage friend requests, it would help reduce unwarranted friend requests from strangers and they can post unfiltered content to a larger group and the end users decide on what information they’d like to subscribe to.
If it’s Facebook, there are bound to be privacy concerns. Though the Subscribe button sounds an interesting tool for businesses, I’m a bit concerned as to how many users would be open to let businesses subscribe to their feeds. After all, it’s an invasion of privacy to let people see your news feed.
On the contrary, business users will relish every opportunity to have users subscribed to their updates. Therefore, brands must use the ‘Subscribe’ button cautiously to gather insights into their potential customers in ways they never have before.
What’s your opinion on Facebook’s Subscribe button? How do you plan to leverage it for branding purpose? Please share your opinion by leaving a comment.