Facebook has added a new feature that was recently announced on their blog. They are now enabling publishers to “make it easy for Facebook readers to start following the author of an article they just read and enjoyed.”
In the example above, you can see that the author, Melissa Korn, now has a by-line right beneath the snippet. The new feature also allows readers to see more content by Korn or follow her to receive updates on future content.
Wait a minute, this was just a thing wasn’t it? The idea is similar to Google’s canceled authorship feature, which was created to showcase content on Google search results – a feature we really liked at Red Branch. Unfortunately, authors and webmasters were slow to adopt the feature, and Google shut the project down. It was only one of several reasons the project was nixed, but honestly a major one. If authors don’t use it, what good is the feature?
How it works
Facebook says the connection between the byline and a user’s Page or Profile is created after they click through a web article posted to Facebook. When the reader returns to their News Feed after reading the article, they have a couple of options. The story preview will display a Follow button if the writer or journalist has a Facebook Profile, or a Like button for the content creator who has a Facebook Page.
Building an Audience
This feature helps bloggers building their following and helps them gain more visibility for the content that they create. This addition will provide a significant boost for bloggers on the platform by helping them build audience. This announcement puts an emphasis specifically on ‘journalists’ but in this instance bloggers are journalists and they’ll be able to take advantage of this feature in the same way. It’ll be interesting to see how this feature will be implemented by writers of all kinds.
Adding Authorship Tags
Setting up Facebook Author Tags is much easier than it was to link your Google Authorship credentials to content. Most likely you already have the ability to set it up because it uses a meta tag that has been available for a while, article:author. If you’re using WordPress, you’re likely using WordPress SEO which give users the capability to insert a field for your Facebook Profile URL into your WordPress user profile, and then use that URL as the article:author tag on authored content.
Here’s how to configure it:
- Click on SEO in the left sidebar
- Click on the Facebook tab
- Check the Add Open Graph meta data checkbox
- Next, click on Users in the left sidebar, find your user profile, and then paste your Facebook profile URL in the appropriate field.
If you would like more details check Mike Allton’s post on exactly how to do it.
Although the Google Authorship feature was rather short-lived, the Facebook Author Tag makes it easy for readers to share the articles they enjoyed and publish content they’ve created. It’s an interesting addition, and it’ll be interesting to see how it’s utilized by marketers, businesses and writers in coming months.