24 March 2011 | Kate Waite
Having recently uploaded images running across the top of the page isn't anything new for Facebook users as personal pages were changed to incorporate this last year. Now Facebook pages have been updated to look the same, although there are a few important differences to take note of. With a bit of creative thinking you can make the most of this prime page real estate.
The strip will always feature the last five images uploaded. To get the ones you want into the Facebook page photo strip all you need to do is create an album and upload the five images you wish to display, you don't have to publish the album.
The strip will always display the last five images uploaded to the page by a page administrator so bear this in mind if you are posting images to the wall as part of a new feed. These will overwrite the ones in your gallery but you can easily stop them from showing without removing the picture by just clicking the X on the top right of the image. This will remove it from the gallery strip, but not the page.
You can still encourage fans to share their pictures with you as these aren’t included in the photo strip. This is good news for pages as it prevents competitors from uploading their logo or images and having them featured in a prominent spot on your page.
It really is as easy as that, but that isn't all you need to know to make the most of the photo strip.
The first thing you might notice is that the thumbnail of your image seems to be cropped. When displayed in the photo strip the images you see are 97px wide by 68px tall but you can't upload them at this size as when clicked Facebook opens the full image in a picture viewer which won't work with tiny thumbnails.
Unfortunately when Facebook scales down the large image it doesn’t do it from the centre, which is why the thumbnail appears to have been cropped. However you can work round this by knowing exactly which part of your image Facebook will use for the thumbnail.
As you can see the overall image size is 720px by 720px and the area that will be displayed as the thumbnail is clearly marked. You can use these dimensions to create custom images. For example for the Facebook page Countryside 2011 we wanted to get the dates of the event clearly visible and the photo strip was an ideal place to reinforce this. In order to generate a thumbnail with the dates in the right area the following image was created and uploaded to Facebook:
You will also see there is a good opportunity to add a bit of information about the image when you've uploaded it. You can comment to leave a website link and provide more information for anyone who clicks on the image in the photo strip.
The image is then resized to the thumbnail size with the information that we wanted displayed (the dates) perfectly displayed in the photo strip.
With personal profiles you can determine the order of the pictures, allowing you to be creative adding banners or the popular “reverse mosaic” effect. With Facebook pages though they randomise the five images so you are unable to create this sort of banner, visitors will see them in a different order everytime they refresh the page.
There are ways to get around this though by creating a banner where the images don’t have to be displayed in a particular order. For example, how about a city skyline effect?
Jet Blue have made nice use of their photo gallery strip continuing the branding representing a queue of customers which continues on from their profile picture:
In travel marketing there has always been an emphasis on using strong imagery to sell a destination so there should be no shortage of attractive images. Now brands have the change to use this new space on their Facebook pages to give their page visual appeal.
At present it seems that a lot of brands aren't using the space creatively yet. Many of the Facebook pages I see feature either images which appear badly cropped due to Facebooks scaling, or shots of people which when scaled down are indistinguishable. Hopefully it won't be long before we see some really good examples of ways to use this photo strip space on Facebook pages - we'll do a round up of the best when we come across some good ones!