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Surviving Facebook’s New Fan Page Photo Roulette

In typical Facebook fashion, they’re giving you about 4 weeks to ponder how you feel about the new Fan Page layout. Then, on March 10th, they’ll upgrade your page whether you ”like” it or not. And while many of the updates are positive for page admins, there is at least one change that has the potential to rob you of control over your brand image. We’ll call it Fan Page Photo Roulette. And although it can be scary, there are ways to survive.

Back in December, Facebook updated personal profile pages with a strip of featured photos at the top of your wall.  This led to hours of entertainment for people who managed to manipulate this new feature into something pretty cool:

But Facebook doesn’t seem eager to allow the same creativity on its Fan Pages. As a result, admins now have limited control over what images people see when they visit a Fan Page. Here’s what’s happening:

  1. The 5 images displayed are the 5 photos most recently added to your Wall Photos album (aka posted to your wall) by an admin of your page.
  2. Images in the photo gallery strip display in random order.
  3. Despite contrary reports, it appears that images posted to your wall by non-admins do not populate the photo gallery strip.

Here are a few examples of what early adopters are experiencing:

PCWorld Magazine calls this the “worst new feature of the page makeover,” and I have to agree. None of these image galleries are particularly compelling. In fact, some are just downright odd. A mishmash of duplicate images, out-of-context graphics and random puppies? This is hardly the image you want to portray to potential Fans of your news organization (or any brand for that matter). Furthermore, Fan Page wall photos often include images of other products. This can be especially clunky:

I certainly doubt News 12 Long Island wants to use its page to promote the new Pepsi can, yet it has become a prominent visual on their wall because they recently posted a news update about it.

So, how can you regain control and avoid becoming a victim of Facebook’s Fan-Page Photo Roulette?

  1. Think critically about images you post to your page and how they may appear out of context.
  2. Routinely monitor your wall and delete any images from your Wall Photos album that are unappealing in the photo gallery.
  3. Implement a Custom Landing Tab so that new users who visit your page are greeted with a message you control (Check out WJXT’s tab designed by my company SocialNewsDesk).

Kim Wilson is the founder of SocialNewsDesk.com, a social media solution for newsrooms. The company creates technology to help newsrooms manage and profit from their social media efforts. Her blog, www.KimWilson.com, focuses on trends, tips and resources for improving social media in journalism and news. Kim is a graduate of the University of Florida with a degree in broadcast journalism, serves on the UF Advisory Board to the College of Journalism, and is currently an adjunct professor in the UF Journalism College. Her course, “Entrepreneurial Journalism,” focuses on innovative ways to create revenue and new business opportunities in the journalism industry. Follow Kim on Twitter @kimberly_wilson and @socialnewsdesk or become a fan of SocialNewsDesk on Facebook.

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  • http://www.dcmedia-design.com Danielle

    I am experiencing the hell that is the Fan Page Roulette. There was a tutorial that told you how to upload photos so they displayed a certain way, but this is not true. They display at random, and by moving one photo around, they all move…this gives NO control over where your photos are….BAD MOVE FB!

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  • Steve

    It’s shocking to me that Facebook would take away administrative control over such prominent real estate on an organization’s Fan page. What a HORRIBLE decision!

    • http://www.bing.com/ Lakeisha

      Geez, that’s ubnelievlabe. Kudos and such.

  • http://www.twitter.com/AndyCronin Andy

    Great post Kim and agree with you 100%. Am am hoping Facebook will eventually allow admins to have control back of these wall photo streams.

    I noticed by accident the other day that if tag photos backwards in the order you want them to appear in the stream, the fist time you then click back to the wall from the album you just tagged photos in, the 5 photos actually appear in the correct order (similar to the page hacks people were doing with their profiles).

    However, alas, as soon as the page is reloaded the 5 photos randomly change again. :-(

    To get around this and still get creative using the photo wall stream, the trick is to use images that look like they are displaying correctly no matter what order they are displayed. For example… check out this page: for Trixan Body (clthing brand in Sydney, Australia) http://www.facebook.com/trixanbody?v=wall

    Clever, huh? :-)

    Props to community manager of that page Dirk van Boxtel, and can’t wait to see more examples!

    Thanks…
    Andy

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  • http://www.mytweetmag.com sebastian

    @andy, thats really a clever solution !!!

    The randomization is odd for brand-building, and I am sure that facebook will implement a tagging-solution like for profiles after a while. But since then the brand-makers’ creativity has to do it. I tried this solution: http://www.facebook.com/pages/MyTweetMag/106480519403686

  • http://www.mrpublicrelations.blogspot.com/ Andrew M. Scott

    Nice! Thanks Sebastian and Andy for including these links to what these fan pages are doing! I enjoyed checking them out.

    We got a little creative with the Society of Professional Journalists fan page as well starting a few weeks ago: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Society-of-Professional-Journalists/166414942968

    Next week we’re rolling out a special Freedom of Information series for Sunshine Week that will feature different FOI and public records access programs.

    Two other Fan Pages I know of that are playing with the new settings:
    http://www.facebook.com/RossMedical?sk=wall
    http://www.facebook.com/USATODAYcollege

    Aside from that I also have to agree that this was a poor setting choice by Facebook. Thanks for the insightful post, Kim. It hit the nail right on the head on the worst and humorous (a puppy?) problems that this is causing.

  • http://www.fb.com/socialrank Roshan K

    Hey guys! Great article. When this issue hit, I quickly created a strip of images where it just would not matter how jumbled they got. Here you go: http://www.fb.com/socialrank

    Any feedback welcome!

  • Joan

    A little late, but I just came across this article today, 10/21, while I was searching up some information about Facebook. But just in case anyone is interested even though the topic maybe seem old, there is a way to control the Photo strip in Facebook–I did it for a client’s Facebook page. I found it at http://www.bevisibleassoc.com/blog/bid/76186/How-to-Control-the-New-Facebook-Pages-Photo-Strip.