A Photo Worth 1,000 Words

Information is trickling in about Facebook’s new brand Timeline pages, and how people are really using them.  The key piece of actionable info is that what you select for your cover photo seems to be critical!  Your page viewers will spend a considerable amount of time (by Facebook standards) taking in your cover photo before they move on to scroll down to look at your content.  That is … IF they ever scroll down.

YOUR COVER PHOTO IS BIG BRANDING

It seems that people get information on multiple levels from your cover photo.

  • It can’t be purely advertising … although you can promote aspects of your brand in your cover photo.
  • It can convey some knowledge about your brand.
  • It can convey a feeling associated with your brand.

One other key thing to remember:

  • The way Timeline pages load, people only see the bottom 75% of your cover photo without scrolling up.

So, when your fans go to your Facebook page, they get a ton of information from your cover photo before they might even scroll down to read things.  Personally, my opinion is that most of the content that you’ve posted looks pretty clunky and a little difficult to read on the brand pages, no matter what it is you’ve posted.  It also seems that people in general spend more time looking at your app boxes just below your cover photo, rather than scrolling down further.

WHAT TO POST FOR A COVER PHOTO?

Here’s what some other media brands are using for cover photos.  If you work for a radio station, I’d also suggest you also look at the cover photos that some radio brands you respect are using.

MTV’s cover photo shows how far you can walk up to the “No Ads” rule for cover photos without crossing the line.  Their cover photo is about a new show, and their profile pic is, in large part, their logo.

So, based on this example, you could create a series of cover photos about your jocks … or about a big contest … or a major event … or something else tactical you want to talk about.

Meanwhile, iTunes’ cover photo gives a timely benefit for using iTunes; hearing some Carrie Underwood for free.

Here, too, you can see how you can do a classy “ad” that’s easy for iTunes’ fans to feel is a cool tactical benefit, rather than a billboard.  You could promote one of the big benefits of listening to your station:  the type of music you play, the quantity of music you play, special commercial-free periods, special weekend features, whatever.  Keep it benefit-oriented, though.

The smartphone podcast player, Stitcher, has a smart graphic that shows the variety of shows they play, and makes it “feel” like … radio.  Stitcher’s cover photo, using the look of a stereo system from a couple of decades ago or more, even hearkens back to a day when radio was definitely “cool.”

This graphic they’re using is definitely more strategic and less tactical than the above, but still shows the sort of creative, almost wordless message you can send about yourself.  It’s been done, but a pile of CDs of your core artists would get some eyeball time from your fans.

Finally, here’s an example of reflecting your brand through the eyes or usage habits of your fans.  Pandora’s cover photo shows lots of different sorts of people wearing different types of headphones and listening, one would assume, to their favorite, unique Pandora station.

Can you show your fans enjoying you?  It could be your typical core listener enjoying listening to you … in the place that he or she often does, and expressing the feeling on their face of what it’s like to have you on.

You’ll notice that even if your cover photo doesn’t show your logo, your profile pic can.

What do you think?  Feel free to comment below, or on the Chris Miller Digital Facebook page.

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