Photo: Meeting Notes

For this week’s cool tool, we’ll take a look at Facebook Notes, which Facebook has just upgraded to joined the likes of Medium and LinkedIn in offering its users a native blogging platform.

LinkedIn’s blogging tools have proven quite popular and has, not coincidentally, provided a bunch of free content for the network. It makes plenty of sense, then, for Facebook to follow suit by turning Notes into a serious blogging platform, especially in the wake of the network’s rollout of Instant Articles.

How To Blog Using Facebook Notes

I took Facebook Notes out for spin to see what had changed since 2009, the last time I’d published anything using the feature. Facebook is currently rolling out the upgrade. You can check to see if you have the upgrade by going to Facebook.com/notes.

The upgrade is available for personal profiles and brand pages alike, though you do need to be acting as the brand on Facebook to publish Notes from a page.

The initial upgrade, while a vast improvement over the original Notes, sticks to basic blogging features.

Facebook Notes Hero Image

The first thing you are asked to do after clicking the Add Note button is to add a Hero Image photo to the top of your post. A Hero Image is publishing speak for a large, page-spanning photo.

Screenshot: Facebook Notes - Hero Photo Add

You get the option of choosing from your existing photos or uploading a new one:

Chart: Facebook Notes - Add A Photo

Choose one of those options, and your photo is in place. Then you’re asked to write your title.

Screenshot: Facebook Notes - Hero Photo

Facebook Notes Formatting

From there, you write your post. Your basic formatting options are set off to the left-hand side and include:

  • Image upload (you can align photos left, right or center and include a caption)
  • Format headlines (H1 and H2 only)
  • Text can be formatted for bold, italics or monospacing
  • You can create hyperlinks within your copy
  • You can create bulleted or numbered lists
  • You can create a call-out quote (which is centered)
  • You can create a block of text that is highlighted with a grey background
  • The byline is automatically linked to your profile and is accompanied by your icon and a datestamp

Not surprisingly, you cannot embed code in your posts. I tried to embed a YouTube video and Notes just displayed the code itself.

I tried embedding a YouTube video by pasting in a URL, which some platforms will automatically embed for you, but no, Facebook just made the URL clickable.

There is no option to upload video directly to Facebook for inclusion in your posts but I suspect that option will come, considering how much Facebook is encouraging its users to upload video.

Facebook Notes Publishing Options

As you can see from this screenshot, there is a Save button to preserve you post as you are working on it (use it, because Notes doesn’t appear to have an autosave function).

When it comes time to publish, you can make your post Public, Private or any variation in between, from only your Facebook Friends or just members of any Facebook List you’ve created.

Screenshot: Facebook Notes - Publish Options

Search Optimization Implications

There don’t appear to be any as of now. I published my post, shared it a couple of times on Twitter, and of this writing the post has yet to be indexed by either Google or Bing.

Here are some of the factors that may affect search visibility for Facebook Notes posts:

  • Posts use the TITLE tag but not the META DESCRIPTION tag
  • Posts do not include Open Graph options, a standard Facebook itself supports
  • Posts use the following URL structure: facebook.com/notes/profile-name/post-title-keywords/UniquePostIDNumber
  • External links within posts use the NOFOLLOW attribute, so you cannot pass along Google Juice, as it were, through links

Facebook Notes Are Instant Articles

I tested my new Facebook Notes post on my iPhone 6 Plus, and it loaded lightening-quick. I have yet to come across one of the infamous Instant Articles in the wild but given how instant my post downloaded, it looks like both Notes and Instant Articles are using the same delivery technology.

Facebook Notes are very easy to read on mobile devices.

Screenshot: Facebook Notes - Mobile

Facebook Notes Post Performance Metrics

Yeah, not so much. The only metrics you get on how well your post has done are the same vanity metrics you get for status updates:

  • Likes,
  • Shares and
  • Comments.

You’d think Facebook would follow LinkedIn’s lead and give us Views, at the very least.

Embeddable Facebook Notes

One last feature that is barely visible and tucked away in the upper right-hand corner of your post is the ability for anyone to embed your post.

Screenshot: Facebook Notes - Embed Post

So here it is, my first Facebook Notes post.