Every once in a while a feature completely flies past your radar because you’re so busy with all of the other search news happening at any given moment. For me, that was Facebook authorship, and it apparently happened back in June. Although it has only since been gaining popularity and many businesses still aren’t bothering with the new markup, or meta tag, getting started early can help get you earn more visibility on the platform and start to build a following. Learn how it all works below.
How the Facebook Authorship Feature Works
So the Facebook authorship feature uses Author Tag, so it’s the same thing that we once had with Google, and it makes it easy for readers to follow authors and helps authors get the visibility and credit for their writing, again, very similarly to what we once had with Google. You can see the authorship tag on the Facebook newsfeed whether you do a search or if a story pops up on someone’s newsfeed because a friend shared, liked, or commented on the article. Below shows how it works with a screenshot from the official Facebook announcement:
As you can see, the authors name appears below the article, and you can click. If you are not connected with that person, then there is a very clear “follow” button on the bottom right-hand corner (starting to see the benefits yet?). Naturally, all this means that your name will show up even if someone didn’t mention you thanks to the author tag.
If you ever want to share a post to your friends only, you can still do that. Remember, public followers and friends are different on Facebook.
Why It Matters
Aside from the extra visibility and opportunity to build up a profile and a following on Facebook, this feature actually brings a news-y feel, or acting similar to an online publication. It is positioning itself to be a place to discover and read great content—not only connect and chat with friends. Not coincidentally, this should help people stay on Facebook for longer periods of time. Therefore the sooner you can get started using Facebook in this way the better chance you’ll have to be on the top if this idea does take off.
How to Get Started with the Facebook Authorship Feature
If you want this extra visibility, then you have to make sure that your Meta Tag functionality in WordPress includes the article:author field. This will then make sure that everything you post will have that author tag. Below is an example from The Social Media Hat:
<meta property=”article:author” content=”https://www.facebook.com/allton” />
Probably the easiest way to set this all up if you use WordPress is to install WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin (which I highly recommend for SEO purposes as well). You can then navigate to SEO in the left sidebar, click on the Facebook tab, and check the Add Open Graph meta data checkbox. You should then paste your Facebook profile URL under your Profile on WordPress and you’re set to go. Below is a great screenshot again from Mike Alton on The Social Media Hat:
Extra: Make Sure Your Profile Can be Followed
If you really want to get the full benefits from Facebook authorship, you want to make sure that you’re setup so that people can follow you. Your privacy settings may be set to only allow friends to follow you, but this isn’t going to work if you want to reach new audiences (and remember you can only have 5,000 friends on Facebook).
In order to make sure you can be followed, visit your Settings, click Followers, and then find the Who Can Follow Me dropdown menu and select Everybody. Below is a great screenshot from Elisa Silverman on Business2Community:
Remember, whether you’re a blogger, journalist, or just want to build an audience on Facebook for your work, you can still use the author tag. Give it a try and let us know if you have any questions in the comment section below. Have you used the feature before and seen results? We want to hear about that too!