Facebook's Subscribe Button Works Best With Engagement

By Jackie Cohen Comment

About an hour after we first posted about how U.S. media analyst Jim Romenesko questioned the quality of his subscribers on the social network, Facebook’s Journalist Program Manager Vadim Lavrusik showed us all how to ask a better question.

Lavrusik has 71,090 subscribers, nearly five times as many as Romenesko, whose journalism career has lasted longer by more times than that.

But Lavrusik just demonstrated that the subscribe button doesn’t automatically engage readers. Perhaps just asking questions isn’t enough, but rather starting a dialogue.

But let’s back up here. Romenesko and Lavrusik have been bandying back and forth after the latter posted that journalists have experienced a 320 percent increase in subscriptions since November, 2011.

Romenesko posted on his own Facebook wall: “What kind of Facebook subscribers are you getting?”

This came after Lavrusik suggested to Romenesko that he ask his readers what kind of Facebook subscribers the journalists are getting.

Romenesko had written that he believed the majority of his subscribers outside the U.S. are spammers, while Ludsik claims they found the popular blogger out of interest in U.S. media. The Facebook journalist program manager suggested that Romenesko ask his non-U.S. subscribers who they are.

When Romenesko posted the question in simple terms, without making conversation, he only heard back from 20 subscribers. Lavrusik showed how to do this better by starting a conversation with his subscribers. That garnered 191 responses within an hour.

Jennifer Moire contributed to this story.