The switch to Timeline has changed where and how Facebook users focus their attention when they visit a page. When the switch was first announced, I wrote about coping with changes to the default landing tab, in which I touched on these changes. What we’ve learned since then is that Facebook photos, from the cover image to photos we post in our timeline, are the main attraction for users.

So how do you create and post images that will generate buzz and engagement on your page? Here are five tips to keep in mind when posting photos on Facebook.

  1.  Show a human aspect. Pictures of a product with a white background are boring, and so are logos. A logo can be used for a profile picture, but photos in posts should be conversation pieces. As cliche as it might sound, Facebook has the word “face” in it for a reason. When displaying a product, show a happy customer using that product with a smile on his or her face. Remember that your page’s posts are competing with the posts of your fans’ friends. Think of what attracts your attention when you scroll through your personal news feed and translate that into a great photo post for your business.
  2. Use candid photos. Use nonprofessional photography — snapshots and candid photos. The less “staged” a photo is, the better. If your business is a T-shirt design company, snap some shots of your customers wearing your clothing line while they hang out with friends or cruise the town. The more natural the photo is, the more genuine it will come across. Most importantly, it will feel less like a sales pitch to your fans.
  3. Have a good message. The photo might catch the eye, but the caption will trigger engagement. Strive for a short message — a single sentence, a question that fans can answer and interact with, or even a guessing game. For example, a T-shirt company can post a photo of a customer wearing one of its shirts in a popular spot in town and ask fans to guess where that person is hanging out. If a fan needs to click “read more” to see the rest of your post, then the post is too long. Short and sweet is the key to Facebook posts.
  4. Post photos that are likeable and shareable. Be creative with your photos — think outside the box. If you run a flower business, post photos beyond static images of different flowers. For example, you could post a photo of a brave soul tasting a rose and tell your fans a fun fact, such as “Did you know the bloom of a rose is edible?” Then you can ask your fans if they’ve ever tried it. The more likeable and shareable your photo is, the more your fans will engage with it and share it with their friends, which will ultimately bring more eyes to your post and business.
  5.  Know your business. If you offer a service and not a product, you might have a little more difficulty reaching your audience through photography, but the task is not impossible. Think of interesting ways to show your data. Can you create a case study or infographic? Take your key information and build a graph or a themed chart. Surprising and interesting data can be just as intriguing as a really cool photo. When going down this path, choose a thumbnail image to post on your Facebook page that will link to a website that hosts the full illustration. When Facebook users view information in their news feed, they’re looking for a summary of the day’s headlines — not an entire article to read through.

Facebook has reaffirmed the old adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” With the variety of opportunities to engage fans via photos on Timeline, it’s worth sitting down with your team and brainstorming some new and fun ways to showcase photos on Facebook.

Jim Belosic is the CEO of ShortStack, a self-service social media platform that allows users to create custom Facebook applications. Its interface provides small businesses, individuals, graphic designers, agencies and corporations with tools to build mini-websites within Facebook pages that drive user interaction and increase “likes.”

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3 Responses to “A guide to using images on Facebook”

  1. Donna Hull says:

    I agree about the importance of photos on Facebook. At the My Itchy Travel Feet page, I've been conducting an experiment. The posts that get the most views? Photos that I upload and then add a short description and link back to the post that I'm promoting. Of course it's more time consuming. One word of warning, don't always link back to your site. Post photos that are conversation starters too. Nobody likes to be sold to all the time, especially FB users.

  2. Love the information in this post. I recently reviewed a skirt for me and a dress for my daughter for a clothing company. Instead of the 2 of us standing in front of a door or wall and snapping a couple of pics we went to a pretty park and my husband snapped candids of us hugging and looking into the water. The pictures came out great and created a lot of interest in my post. Lesson learned for the future!!

    I'm struck by the irony that I see no image on this post. Which means I can't pin it to my Pinterest blogging board and when I share on FB there will be no image to attract my readers attention. :)

  3. Vicky says:

    What do you think about photo copyright though?

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