[Image credit, Facebook Help Center]
I’ve been managing various social media accounts for about five years. Not to mention boring a very few people with my own Twitter ramblings, Facebook updates, instagrammed landscapes, etc etc. Like most social media account managers, this means being fanatical about content and borderline obsessed with all kinds of analytics, stressing over engagement and reach and numbers of varying types.
But sometimes you discover something so blindingly obvious you are convinced everyone else has known it for ages and you are a fool. Or someone asks you something you think is blindingly obvious but you know that person is not a fool. And the only logical conclusion is that these things are not as intuitive as you, with your obsessive page refreshing, might think.
So on the supposition that even seemingly basic things have to be explained at least once, I am going to start cataloguing some of the things I didn’t know about social media, both from a personal and an account management perspective, until I looked them up.
So here goes – starting with Facebook for personal profiles (the same tips not necessarily being the best thing for brands…)
Tips for getting the best out of your Facebook News Feed.
- If you’re trying to tag a brand or person in a status update and the name doesn’t come up straight away, type the ‘@’ sign before you begin writing their name. Then it should pop up.
- If you want to see updates in your feed in reverse chronological order, select to sort by ‘Most Recent’ at the top of the feed (this will be in the top right corner of the feed if you’re on a desktop, next to the first right-hand column ad. On a smart phone or tablet it should be an option under the three little lines in the very top left corner – you’ll see News Feed as a sub-option then select Most Recent, OR on an iPhone it might be an option right at the top of the feed, just under the News Feed heading.)
- On an iPhone you can also sort your news feed by type, for example just to see photos, or to see certain lists, like people from work or school.
- Which brings us on to lists. Like circles on Google+, you can put people in certain lists so that either they or you only see specific activity. The easiest way to find and create lists is on a desktop – go to your News Feed, then where it says ‘News Feed’ under ‘Favourites’ on the left-hand side of the page, hover over it until a little edit button pops up. Click that and it’ll show you all your existing lists – including what Facebook calls ‘Smart Lists’ ie people from your work/school networks or location.
- This is also where you can create new lists – for example, a list for industry friends or a specific friendship group – so that you group updates from relevant people in one place. To see updates from people just in that list, you can select it either from your phone (as above) or on the desktop in the left column under ‘Friends.’
- The ‘Restricted’ list option allows you to group specific people you only want to see your public updates. So if you’ve got work colleagues and you don’t want them to see your drunken weekend antics, add them here. To do this, go to the person’s profile and select the ‘Friends’ button at the bottom of their cover photo, then go to ‘Add to another list’. ‘Restricted’ will be an option in the drop-down – just select it. The person won’t know you’ve added them to this list.
- ‘Acquaintances’ is another useful list. Adding anyone to this list – which you do in exactly the same way as above – will ensure that fewer of their updates appear in your main News Feed. Their posts won’t disappear entirely but you’ll only see what Facebook thinks is important. Very good for people you don’t know very well who post incessantly!
- If you want to hide a specific person’s updates from your News Feed completely, again, go to their profile and select the ‘Friends’ button in the bottom right corner of their cover photos. There you’ll get an option to select or deselect ‘Show in News Feed.’ Again they won’t know if you choose to make sure their updates don’t show.
- If you want to see posts from just the Pages you follow (brands, venues, musicians, TV shows, etc) then these have their own feed too. On a desktop, it will appear on the left-hand side under Pages as ‘Pages Feed.’
- If you’re posting an update or album of pictures that you want only a certain selection of your friends to see, use the audience selector tool. This is available underneath the update box – on a status update, it’s next to the ‘post’ button and will probably be automatically set to either ‘Public’ or ‘Friends’ depending on your privacy settings. Click on it, and a drop-down box will display – as in the photo above. Select the list you want to show your update to if it’s specific (eg pictures from a work event might just be shown to work colleagues) or if you’re happy for anyone but your ‘Restricted’ list to see it, just select ‘Friends.’
It’s important to note that adding people or pages to lists doesn’t stop them from appearing in your main News Feed completely. Your News Feed will always be a collection of everything that Facebook thinks is of interest to you, based on your previous activities. So if you interact a lot with people in a newly created Friendship list and you also comment on your favourite band’s page a lot, your News Feed will still showcase activity from those feeds. It’s like Amazon recommendations: the more active you are in hiding activity you DON’T like, or commenting/clicking/sharing/ and, um, liking posts you DO like, the more relevant your News Feed will be for you. But lists are very handy for collecting everything together in one place.
Do you have anything else you’d add here that’s of relevance to personal Facebook profiles?
There’s lots more Facebook help here if you’re interested.