Facebook recently launched an SMS service for pages, allowing users to become fans of Pages by text message. Now, Facebook has enabled a new feature allowing fans of Facebook Pages to receive updates from their favorite company and celebrity profiles via text messages as well. The capability also exists for people to subscribe to updates via text from their personal profiles.
The addition of text message updates for fans of Pages should be welcomed by companies looking to further distribute content to their constituents when they’re away from their computer. The updates could include messages, wall posts or status updates.
Here’s how users can sign up to receive text updates from their favorite Facebook Pages.
1. When you arrive at the fan page, scroll your mouse to the top left side (generally where a company’s logo appears). Under the logo, where it says “Suggest to Friends” or “Add [or Remove] me from Fans,” they must choose “Subscribe to [Company Page].”
2. A window will pop up to confirm that you have signed up for mobile updates from the Facebook public profile.
But in order for the “Subscribe to” option to appear, the user must have already switched on mobile updates from their personal account. Here’s how to sign up:
1. Go to the settings menu in the upper right hand corner of your Facebook home page and choose “Account Settings.”
2. Click on the fourth tab, “Mobile.”
3. Enter in your phone number and select your carrier from the drop down menu.
4. After you click the blue button that says “Activate,” Facebook will send you a text message with a code for you to enter in, confirming that you elected to sign up for mobile updates.
5. After you confirm your mobile updates by typing in the code, you will be sent to a page that allows you to customize your mobile updates. You can decide what pieces of content updates should be delivered to your phone via text. These include pokes, messages, comments, Wall Posts and Friend Requests. You can also specify what time of day you’d like them delivered. You can cap the amount of texts Facebook sends you (and which friends specifically you’d like to see them from).
The addition of mobile updates can only be viewed as a good thing by companies looking to leverage the content that populates their profile on Facebook Pages. While many people who work in knowledge worker professions take their Web-enabled mobile phones for granted, a good portion of the cell phone populace merely has voice and text. Having a way to reach those users with some of the rich content (albeit textual) posted to their company profile will help them stay updated on key news and events.
From a competitive standpoint for Facebook, the ability for users to access status messages via text message from their favorite companies fills in an area where the social network lagged behind Twitter. Although, Twitter has not (yet) made a huge distinction in its treatment of personal versus company accounts. That could change, as Twitter founders hinted they might charge companies for their Twitter presence as a means to monetize the service.
For both companies, it would be interesting to know how many people utilize SMS for updates (especially for receiving content). Any user with a decently-sized trove of Facebook friends or Twitter followers could see a pretty hefty bill if they didn’t closely cap the amount of updates they send or receive each day.