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Worth 1,000 Words: The Importance of Photos in the New Facebook

By , October 27, 2011

Facebook users love photos. They upload 6 billion photos every month .  For companies on Facebook, photos have always been an important part of their social publishing strategies. But the latest changes to Facebook have elevated the importance of photos posted by Facebook Pages – enough to compel social media marketers to take those lens caps off and get clicking.

4 reasons why Pages should work more photos into Facebook publishing:

1. They’re bigger in the News Feed and on Page walls.

Among the recent round of Facebook changes include new sizes for photos. Single images have appeared larger, and photo albums also feature three larger photos. More eye-catching, these photos create extra opportunities for marketers to capture the attention of their fans in the News Feed and on their Pages’ walls.

2. Facebook is now promoting Page photos more heavily.

Facebook recently began showcasing “Photos from Pages You Like” in the right-hand sidebar. A no-cost way for content to be shared with fans, this new feature gives photos additional visibility.

3. They are weighted heavier in the EdgeRank algorithm.

Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm is the formula that determines what gets seen in users’ News Feeds. There are a handful of factors that contribute to a post’s EdgeRank (get the full details on EdgeRank here). The “objects”  in the News Feed (the content, such as status updates, links, and photos) and the “edges” (the interactions users have with your objects) are a main factor in this formula. Photos and video are weighted higher than regular posts. Using photos helps increase EdgeRank scores, which means your images are more likely to be seen by your fans in their News Feeds.

4. Facebook users engage with them more often.

A study by Roost found that on average, photos get 50% more impressions than any other post type on Facebook. They are also among the most likely types of posts to accumulate likes, which are among the top engagement activities for Facebook Pages fans (and also a driver of EdgeRank).

How can you get more images into your Facebook posting schedule?

Take advantage of the new size of photo: Photos are bigger, which means at a glance they can pack in more content. Adding messaging to the photo allows your content to travel via the share button and lets you say more with less.

Maximize use of albums and how they display in the News Feed: When posting photos in an album, think ahead on how they view display – with one larger image and two smaller ones to its right. Facebook chooses which images display based on interaction activity, according to InsideFacebook, but a cohesive look can help attract engagement, no matter which photos are selected.

Not a pro? Enhance your photos with apps like Instagram: Photo filtering and sharing apps like Instagram and Hipstamatic have taken off in recent months. (Instagram users have uploaded more than 150 million images, and reports said Facebook wanted to buy the app.) While some brands are using Instagram itself as a platform for engagement, using on-the-go photo filters can up your photos’ cool factor.

Get creative with the Timeline cover photo: Brands are still waiting for an announcement about updates to Facebook Pages. (Mashable posted some “what if” examples of possible brand pages in the Timeline format.) For users, Timelines have been delayed for those who haven’t opened developer accounts. We are in a holding pattern for Timelines, but it’s not too early to plan ahead for how this space could be leveraged for a Facebook Page – and how images can be provided to fans to showcase on their own cover photos. Volkswagen offered a cover photo to promote its new 2012 Beetle – a smart tactic that allows true fans to display branded content in a prominent way.

Note: Don’t forget about Twitter. Twitter image galleries are visible on your profile page. For the images you send to Facebook, select some that work for your Twitter audience as well.