Facebook has had the ability to add long-form content to your profile for years in the form of “Notes.” But up until now, they’ve always been basic, plain text pieces of content. Useful for those who wanted to record something personal and get to it easily (more easily than an old status update, at least), but otherwise not particularly useful.
All that’s changed now, with the release of the new Notes.
According to Facebook’s official release, “We’re rolling out an update to make notes on Facebook more beautiful and customizable. Notes are now an even better way to write a longer post and share with anyone — whether it’s a small group of friends or everyone on Facebook.”
Facebook Notes Are More Beautiful
There’s no doubt about it, both the user interface and the resulting notes are incredibly beautiful. Facebook has designed a contemporary composition form that brings it in line with modern blogging platforms. (More on that in a moment.)
The presentation is clean and focused on delivering a great writing and reading experience. And a big part of that is making sure that Notes are fully responsive. I mentioned it in the tutorial that I wrote, but this is a big reason why the formatting and content options are limited. Facebook is ensuring that their massive mobile user base is able to easily read and consume note content using the Facebook mobile apps.
Facebook Notes Are More Customizable
While the old notes were plain, boring text, the new notes are wonderfully customizable. Facebook Note authors can:
- Add a beautiful cover photo to bring style, personality and branding to your content.
- Insert and resize images throughout your notes.
- Style your text with headings, bold & italics, bulleted and lists, and more.
While the formatting options are basic, they’re more than sufficient to effectively style and present your content and information. The key to putting together a highly legible and consumable article is to break it up with short paragraphs, white space, bulleted lists, and relevant images. And Facebook Notes offers you all of those options.
Facebook Notes Positioned To Compete
Now, it’s nice that Facebook’s upgraded Notes for users, but let’s be honest. Delivering a more attractive Note experience wasn’t the goal, just a means to an end. Facebook’s real purpose here is to compete with LinkedIn, Tumblr, Google+, Medium and other similar platforms that support long-form content.
Facebook already has a dominating user base, and an incredibly usage factor, so why care about what LinkedIn or Medium has going on?
Because normal Facebook activity doesn’t attract external interest.
When you post a status update, how often do you encourage people outside of Facebook to view that status update? Likely never.
LinkedIn had the same problem, but then began offering users the option to create article content on their site, content which would be further promoted within the platform, something that’s particularly attractive to businesses and bloggers. As a result, LinkedIn users who compose Pulse posts are sharing that content to all of their other channels, encouraging more and more people to come back to LinkedIn.
Furthermore, the support of long-form content means that Facebook Notes will become a viable platform for businesses and bloggers, resulting in more content and information being entered into the platform, instead of just linked to in status updates. Facebook has long wanted to compete with Google in Search, but Graph Search never realized that goal. Having more public content reside within the platform itself could be a game-changer.
Uses For Facebook Notes (or, Why Should I Care?)
As much as I like the revamped Facebook Notes, I would never advocate a business to use Facebook Notes exclusively. Businesses and bloggers must own their own content. That content needs to be presented as part of a complete, branded experience and strategic funnel. When readers are on Facebook or LinkedIn, you have no control over what is displayed above, beside or below your content. It’s also often harder to drive traffic to that content, to say nothing of the lack of metrics available to measure the results of that content.
Instead, I think publishing content occasionally on these other platforms is an excellent strategy if used to support a larger, wider, content marketing plan.
- Consider the platform, and whether you can create content uniquely suited to that audience.
- Try to avoid republishing content you’ve written elsewhere, since you should have already promoted that original content heavily.
- Consider using a Note to share content that you’ll need to reference frequently within Facebook, or something your Facebook audience would be interested in discovering.
- Use Notes to highlight or feature some of your best content by introducing it to that audience.
- Use Notes to help your friends and followers understand better what you do, or what products & services you have to offer.
Do note that, for the moment, Notes are only available to personal profiles, not Pages. So that’s something to consider.
To get started with your first Facebook Note, be sure to review the guide I published on Facebook (I know, how meta), How To Create Facebook Notes. And if you have other ideas or questions on how to use Notes, leave a comment below.