4 Facebook Authorship Myths Debunked
In June, Facebook released a new feature, Facebook Authorship, that should have been swiftly adopted by every single blogger and journalist on the planet.
Yet, strangely, that hasn’t been the case.
When I look through my Facebook News Feed, while I do see more and more people turning this feature on, I’m quite shocked at how many haven’t taken the time.
So I talked to some of you and found there are a few reasons, perfectly legitimate, and plenty of misconceptions. Let’s attack those misconceptions and see if we can’t get you on your way to enjoying Facebook Authorship and increased followers and branding for yourself.
Wait, What’s Facebook Authorship?
I go into detail on the feature in the original announcement, but the important point to understand is that Facebook Authorship is a way for the original author of a piece of content to be recognized with a linked byline on any instances where that post is shared to Facebook.
As long as a Link Preview is used, and the correct authorship tags are set up, the author’s name will appear below the title and description of the content, like this:
You can hover over a name to see their Facebook profile card (similar to a Google+ Hovercard), and you can click the name to view their full Facebook profile. This makes it easier for people to follow writers that they’re interested in, and want to see more of.
Facebook Authorship Myth #1 – Authorship Is Only For Journalists
Facebook’s official announcement talked about how Facebook Authorship is a great tool for journalists who want to be recognized for their writing. And while that’s true, it’s far from some kind of exclusive club.
Anyone who has created content can use this feature, whether it’s a blog post or news story. As long as you’re the author, and you’ve added the requisite meta tags to the content, you can receive the credit, and benefits, of Facebook Authorship.
Facebook Authorship Myth #2 – Authorship Is Only For WordPress
I can’t say where the basis for this myth came from, perhaps just a fact of ease of implementation, but many have told me they thought Facebook Authorship was only available for WordPress users.
While it’s probably the easiest platform on which to activate it, largely because the functionality and settings were already there for many WordPress sites, it’s hardly the only platform.
In fact, Facebook Authorship can be added to any page or site, so long as you have access to add or edit Meta Tags.
Of course, that does mean there are some sites where you won’t be able to. Some site building platforms don’t permit their users to add new meta tags or edit the header of their site. But other platforms, like Drupal, Joomla, Solo Build It!, Wix, Weebly, Blogger and others, all have the capability of being set up to support Facebook Authorship.
Facebook Authorship Myth #3 – I’m Not On Facebook And Don’t Need Authorship
While less a myth and more of an opinion or position, I felt it necessary to address this point of resistance.
I know this may be shocking to hear, but Facebook is not universally adored. [gasp!] That’s right, there are bloggers and business owners out there who don’t like Facebook, for a variety of reasons, and aren’t interested in using it.
To be fair, that’s their right. No one has to use a particular social network if they don’t want to.
But consider this:
If you’re creating new content regularly, you don’t have to use Facebook to take advantage of Facebook. You can create a profile, customize it nicely, and just make sure that whenever you have new content, it’s shared to that profile.
You can treat Facebook as a low-tier social network that you broadcast to.
You’ll get the benefit of having a presence there, which is something that may come up both in Facebook searches and Google searches, and can gain new followers and readers passively, particularly with Facebook Authorship enabled.
You see, just because you don’t like Facebook, that doesn’t mean your fans and readers don’t like Facebook. They do. And frankly, if you’re writing great stuff, they’re sharing it with their friends to Facebook, whether you like it or not.
So why not leverage that?
Facebook Authorship Myth #4 – Authorship Is Affected By Facebook’s Limited Reach
Finally, and I think this is the big one… there’s this idea that, since Facebook limits the organic reach of businesses, anything to do with Facebook is therefore a waste of time. It’s the argument that Facebook is making businesses ‘pay to play’ and that, if you can’t afford it, it’s a waste of time.
As with any myth or urban legend, there are some truths here, mixed with incorrect assumptions, so let’s break it down.
True: Facebook limits the organic reach of Facebook Pages, meaning that when you post to a Facebook Page, not all of the Page’s followers will be able inherently to see that post. There’s an algorithm referred to as EdgeRank which is applied to each new post, determining whether or not it will appear in a fan’s news feed. It will depend on whether they’ve shown interest in past posts, whether Facebook thinks they might be interested in this new one. And of course, even if the post meets their criteria, the users have to be online at the time. The result is that most Facebook Page posts reach just 4-5% of the total followers.
True: Facebook encourages businesses to overcome that poor reach by ‘boosting’ posts – paying to put that post in front of more fans or potential fans.
False: Facebook’s limited reach applies to personal profiles. In fact, EdgeRank is only applied to posts from your Facebook Page. As Tod Maffin pointed out, and Mari Smith confirmed, EdgeRank does apply to personal profiles, and is now referred to as “News Feed Ranking Algorithm.”
False: Authorship is affected by Facebook EdgeRank. Technically, the two have nothing to do with each other.
You see, while it’s true posts to your Page will only reach a limited number of your fans, that’s not the point of this feature. The benefit is that you can have your linked byline attached to EVERY share of that content to Facebook, whether you shared it to your Facebook Page, or I shared it to my personal profile. And it’s actually those personal shares that you’re likely most interested in.
Every time an interested reader shares something you’ve written to their Facebook profile, all of their friends and connections can potentially see it. And if you’ve set up Facebook Authorship correctly, they’ll see your name attached to that story.
That means that even if you have the worst Facebook Page in the world, and your posts get 0 reach… Facebook Authorship is still a great idea for you. As long as you’re writing interested content, content that other people might want to share to Facebook, you can take advantage of and benefit from Facebook Authorship.
Additional Reading: The Facebook Hack That Will 10x Your Reach
So with these four myths and misperceptions behind you, you can now rest assured that you won’t be wasting your time setting this up on your blog.
Still not convinced? I’d love to hear why! Drop me a note in the comments below.
And if you’ve struggled to get Facebook Authorship working for your site, be sure to review my Facebook Authorship implementation guide, and feel free to leave a comment over there with a link to your site if you need an extra set of eyes.