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Use Photos to Stand Out in the Facebook News Feed

This guest post is by Tommy Walker, Online Marketing Strategist and owner of Tommy.ismy.name.

A picture is worth a thousand words, right? This old cliché has become especially true in blogging. It’s statistically proven that by inserting compelling photographs into your blog posts, you’re able to better retain your reader’s attention.

So what if photos are also exactly what you need to stand out on the world’s most popular social network?

On Facebook, Photos are the most used features of the site (after status updates of course). You may have already known that, but did you also know that Facebook is one of the most used photo sharing platforms on the entire Internet?

So how can we tap into the power of Facebook Photos to separate your Page from the rest of the noise on Facebook?

If you’ve been using Facebook ads to perform inception on your blog, you’ll have a good idea of the psychographic profile of your readers. We can use this information to create (or find) compelling images that will resonate with your audience.

Let’s imagine I run a blog about creating Hollywood movie props on an indie movie budget. Normally I build simple props that are pretty general, like ray guns, or jet packs. But lately I’ve been running Facebook ads and I’ve learned from the Responder Profile report that the majority of the people who clicked on my ad have listed “Iron Man” as a favorite movie in their profile.

Knowing this, I create a tutorial for my blog that gives instructions on how to make an Iron Man mask.

To really draw attention to this step-by-step tutorial and stand out in my fans’ news feeds only requires a little extra thought and attention to detail. Just a little more work, and I get a result that looks something like this:

Now let’s break down what I did here, so you can create results like this, too.

Step 1: Breaking up the image

Take the main image that you would like to show up in the News Feed and break it up into two or three parts using a photo editor. For the Iron Man album, I broke one photo up into two separate images, with each image highlighting a different element of the build.

The original image looks like this:

To break it up, I simply opened the image in Gimp (although you could use Photoshop or even Paint!) and selected the Battery and Arc Reactor. Then I copied and pasted it into its own image file, and did the same for the mask.

I then very quickly created the album cover by typing “Become” over the Iron Man logo, and saved that as its own image file> I then saved everything to its own folder on my desktop.

Here are two quick notes about album covers. Firstly, selecting the right image is important for two reasons:

  1. The album cover is the first thing people see when someone clicks on the Photos tab on your page. By default, Facebook also displays the two most recent photo albums on the left-hand sidebar underneath the list of people who like your page. When they visit a page, it’s only natural for people to check out the number of people who like that page — for social proof. Take advantage of this curiosity by creating an eye-catching album cover. Even with a small number of likes, you’ll appear to be ahead of the game, as this is valuable real estate that most pages simply aren’t taking advantage of.
  2. The album cover will always appear in the furthest left-hand corner when you publish an album to the news feed. Selecting the wrong image for the album cover can make the entire update completely pointless. take a look at the images below. By default, the photo titled “Step 5″ would be the album cover here, but it’s not a great image. To have the most impact on the News Feed, you’d want to make sure that the album cover shows the image titled “Step 10.” We’ll talk about this more in the next section.

Step 2: Selecting the album cover and organizing your photos

Go to the Photos tab on your Business Page and click on Create a Photo Album.

A dialog box will appear, giving you instructions on uploading your photos.

Click Select Photos and choose the photos you would like to be included in the album.

Click Open once you’ve selected all of the photos for your album. The photos will begin to be uploaded to the album. By default, the album is named with the date and time that you’re uploading the photos. Change the name to reflect the contents of the album. Also, check the High Resolution button (just because you can!).

Once the photos have finished uploading, click Create Album.

From here, select the image you want to use for the cover of your album. Also feel free to add descriptions to your pictures. If it makes sense, insert links to relevant pages within your blog (this will depend on the content of your album).

Once you’re satisfied with your Photo descriptions, click Save Changes. A dialog box will appear prompting you to Publish or Skip.

Do not click publish!

Click Skip. You will be brought to the album and all of the images will appear in the order in which they were uploaded. This isn’t always ideal if you’re really looking to stand out in the news feed.

It is vital to note the arrangement of the photos in the album, as it will determine their order in the news feed.

As I said earlier, Facebook automatically puts the album cover as the far left image of the three in the album preview in the news feed—regardless of how the images are arranged in the album. Facebook then takes the two images after the photo that’s designated as the cover, and assigns them as the middle and far-right images in the news feed.

So if the photos are arranged like this in the album:

They will look like this in the news feed:

To achieve this landscape effect in the news feed, simply drag the two images that are meant to follow the album cover in the order in which you’d like them to appear in the news feed.

Then, your album will look like this:

And the feed will look like this:

Once you have your photos arranged the way you’d like them to appear in the news feed, all you have left to do is create an album description and publish the album.

Step 3: Entering your album’s description

Underneath your photos, you’ll see an Add a Caption link. Click it to open the popup where you can describe your album and include any external links.

Facebook will allow a total of 320 characters (including spaces) in your album description before it hides the content and adds a See More link to the end of your description.

Keep your descriptions around one to two lines, and always put a line break between your description and link so that the content appears cleanly in the news feed.

After you’ve clicked Save, click Edit Album Info to see the Album Description page. Click the Edit Photos tab on the top right of the gray box. Then, click Publish Now.

And there you have it! Your album will have a good chance of standing out in the otherwise really crowded news feed!

What’s that you say? You don’t make props? There are all sorts of other creative ways to use Facebook Photos to promote your business. What are some ways you’ve used this tool? Are there other Facebook Photo ideas you can share?

Tommy is an Online Marketing Strategist and owner of Tommy.ismy.name. He is about to release Hack The Social Network, the ultimate guide to Facebook Marketing, and is currently developing a “mind hacking” course.

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Comments

  1. Suzanne says:

    Incredibly useful post, Tommy! Thanks!

  2. This is just an amazingly useful tip. Thanks Tommy, I’m looking forward to trying it out.

  3. Although I am not using FB ads and am not interested in it, I read this post from beginning to the end. You have put serious effort and commitment in making this post. Props!

    Jane.

    • Hi Jane Sheeba,

      You have a great blog content!. Darren’s tip on using photo to pull reader to your blog sound good.

      Cheers,
      GaneshMuthiah

      • Thanks Darren,
        My friend is happy with the outcome of following you tips.
        She receives few more calls then usual count. I hope to read more content on how to use facebook to monetize our business.

        Cheers :-)
        GaneshMuthiah

  4. Pallav says:

    You could play with images to make your profile look snazzy too. I quite like the idea of breaking images. That’s a great concept to stand out.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Regards
    Pallav

    • Hi Darren,

      Hmm, there are always something new can be found in your post.
      Understanding Psychographic profiling is something new for me. Its amazing how detail you can be in developing your business.

      Like Pallav, I also like the idea of breaking the image, Its eye catching concept.

      Cheers,
      GaneshMuthiah

  5. Antriksh Y says:

    This is SUCH a brilliant idea! I mean, I haven’t read such an ingenious post on any of the blogs I follow in ages! Thanks Tommy! And you too, Darren.

  6. boey says:

    Useful tips. Like the idea of Facebook ads Responder Profile & the photos landscape effect in the news feed.

    Thanks for the sharing.

  7. Dan says:

    Great Post and Idea! Now I feel like I have to do some experimenting even though I was going to take today off!

  8. smbchamp says:

    Nice post. However how does it help us in blogging? I thought pro blogger was all about blogging and now its about social media(facebook marketing) too?

    • Tommy walker says:

      I hear what you’re saying for sure, and as a blogger I understand where you’re coming from. A big part of blogging is about promotion, and in the case of Facebook, I think there is a lot more hype about it than useful information. Too many talk about having a “Facebook strategy” and not have a business strategy. This is not the way to go, nor would I want simply by creating this type of information do I want to be associated with that group of marketers.

      The truth is, Facebook just has a vast crowd of people, and it’s simply a matter of fish where the fish are and use what you can learn about them to make the entire experience better. Not just on Facebook, but on your blog and the rest of the Internet :-)

      • Pete Carr says:

        smbchamp, Tommy.
        This is totally relevant to blogging. Take Tommy’s ideas for creating photo’s that stand out and use them on your blog. Like Tommy said “A picture is worth a thousand words” make your pictures stand out. Then when somebody shares your post on FB, your photo/images will go over to Facebook as well. Two birds one stone.
        Pete

  9. Deanna says:

    Awesome post! The landscaped “enter the mind of an online marketing strategist” photos are a great effect–it DEFINITELY stands out amongst the other boring stuff that just gets lost in the crowd.

  10. Ted Vieira says:

    Very cool idea, and nice detailed breakdown of the process. Very well done, thanks Tommy!

  11. Thanks for the useful post, Tommy!

    Very interesting information about how to use photos.

  12. Dominic says:

    Nice post, when I do it however it only posts 1 thumbnail, not 3. Interesting idea though

  13. Dominic says:

    Please note: it does post 3 if I publish from the publish button and not from the link on the album.

  14. Pete Carr says:

    Hi Tommy,
    Your idea for breaking up the image using Gimp is brilliant. You can really create a story with your pictures.
    Thanks for a great informative post.
    Pete

  15. Tim says:

    Images are like headers and logos are important for standing out. Here is a site offering a prize to someone who can design a new header / logo for the site.

    http://www.thesurvivalistblog.net/uncategorized/blog-header-contest/

  16. Mark Peters says:

    Another great post. Particularly like the detailed discussion about the photos and the explanatory graphics. It really helps to get under the skin of it.

  17. This is a fantastic way to stand out from everyone else in the Facebook crowd. Very creative.

  18. This is quite brilliant. I was wondering what was the deal with these new photos and I cannot wait to re-read this post and apply the techniques.

    Thanks for the lesson.

    Krizia

  19. It’s really cool and innovative.. a bit too much work though lol I’m just a lazy bump :D

  20. This is really a good idea. Well, it will take more time to do the things you have mentioned in here, but its worth it. I am gonna try it for sure, since my Facebook traffic is very low although I have a huge number of friends. Thanks for sharing.

  21. Revolutionary suggestions! I really appreciate you sharing these wonderful ‘network attention’ ideas! This is actually a trick we can use, not to repeat the images that show up over and over as repeated images aren’t that interesting or engaging.

  22. Sean Lewis says:

    Thanks for the post. I can never get images to appear in the news feed when posting links, is this something to do with the fact that the images are png format and not jpegs?

    • Tommy Walker says:

      This technique does not actually use the “link” sharing feature from the publisher, but instead uses the albums and you include links in the description of the album. Reason being, you get more real estate in the News Feed this way.

      I have the same issue using the “link” sharing feature from time to time, and honestly I think it’s just that part of Facebook’s server not working at the time, or something having to do with the way the blog itself is set up (in some cases)

      This is worth some investigation though, and I will look into it a little further. If I find anything I’ll be sure to let you know :-)

  23. Lauchlan says:

    Great tip Tommy!

  24. Elive says:

    These are good tips to optimize the blogs by images or we can say that images are the best way to attract the customers. Images should be well optimized by adding proper title.

  25. Fernando says:

    Wow, looks so tight!
    Never really thought about all the stuff you can do with images!

  26. Gina says:

    Absolutely outstanding idea, and a well executed how-to!

  27. Mike says:

    Tommy . . . good stuff.

    Quick question, wondering if there are any specifics for type of image file type?

    I’m guessing that they all would work?

    Cheers

    • Tommy Walker says:

      All standard photo formats are accepted as far as I know. For resolution purposes, I primarily use .png but will also use .jpg but as far as I know all of the common ones are covered :-)

  28. I’m a big fan of including pictures on my blog posts, which then get feed to Facebook automatically using the NetworkedBlogs application. It works very well to get the readers more engaged. Great post!

  29. febri says:

    very good idea and i think awesome

    i will use it in indonesia

    keep blogging

  30. This is a lot of great information. Thank you very much for sharing all of this.

  31. Joseph Ruiz says:

    Wow, great insight. I’ve bookmarked the page and plan to take advantage of the album soon. Thanks for sharing.

  32. Treacle says:

    Tommy shared this tip over in the ProBlogger.com community last week, and it’s made a HUGE difference in my Facebook group, The Lingerie Addict. So glad he’s sharing it here too. :)

  33. This is brilliant! I can’t wait to try it out. I love it when someone hacks FB like this. I’ve done it for other aspects of the site, but hadn’t cracked the images code. Thanks, Tommy.

  34. anil says:

    Thanks for the post. I can never get images to appear in the news feed when posting links, is this something to do with the fact that the images are png format and not jpegs?

    http://www.webkotwal.com/ ……….. http://www.chambatrip.com/

  35. Mimi says:

    This post was so helpful to me – thanks, Tommy!

  36. Jerrick says:

    Virtual communication always come to the first interaction with visitors. Photo or video always capture attention first and easy to remember. Newsletter only will capture the second attention. That why newspaper and magazines also do put lot of photo. No matter offline and online that full with article and non photo showing, it wouldn’t attract much people to look at it and need more promotion to push people to the product.

  37. I did it! It was super easy and faster than I thought it would be. I just used 2 images for the first one because it’s all I needed. Your instructions were spot on, Tommy.

  38. Alex Brooks says:

    That does look awesome, you can do the same thing to make your profile stand out as well. :)

  39. Kathie says:

    Is there a minimum size the pictures have to be? I do the upload and it just sits there, however if I upload a regular picture it goes right up. It seems breaking up the picture creates smaller images (which is does) but then they won’t upload. Any suggestions on this?

    • Tommy Walker says:

      I noticed this too… I don’t know the exact minimum size, but I’m guessing that there is one. My suggestion would be to just keep experimenting with the width until it takes…

      I know it’s not very scientific, but eventually it will work :-)

      If the original picture is too small, I would recommend blowing it up, then breaking it down. That could actually solve the problem way faster than trying to figure it out on a smaller size photo.

  40. Here’s a really great example of the kind of impact using this technique can have for your facebook page. Joakim is a good young photographer and one of our contributors at the Photoblog Alliance. Very well done and a cool look. http://www.facebook.com/JoakimBergquistPhotography