Have you been seeing more of these on Facebook lately? Photos overlaid with text have been spreading like wildfire, making them a good bet for the prevailing Facebook content ideas of 2013. Containing just enough content, words and photos in one shot give Facebook users enough to connect with friends, make a statement and remind people they’re still around. The substance–whether meaningful like the example on the left or humorous, per example on right–prompts Facebook users to share these more than they share comments or photos alone. “Shares” go into reader’s newsfeed — right in front of all friends’ faces, making them the most potentially viral “posts” an individual or business can upload. “Likes” and “comments” stay right where they’re left, on the business’ page. These visual/textual messages seem to have hit the perfect “speed” for Facebook browsers. While corporations have whole teams merging text and graphics into concise visuals, small business and sole practitioners again must hobble something simple together themselves. These three tools help us compete:
Visual Facebook Content Tool #1: The photos you already have + Photoshop Elements
Your first stop on collecting some great visuals is to look on all the computers in your household. Who’s the family photographer? Luckily, I have some photos of animals and flowers and here’s something I put together quickly for my next blog post. In a miracle of science and good luck, I actually took this nice photo above. You, too, have some nice photos on your or your family hard drives. Raid them! Create a separate file for them and think about how you could use them on Facebook. At this point, it doesn’t even look like the photo has to match the industry exactly. Check out this photo from HUPSPOT, an internet marketing firm. You won’t see any graphs or analytics or data here. Still, it gets a point across and it got some shares. I learned long ago that if Hubspot is experimenting on it, I should be brave enough to do the same. 171 likes but 46 SHARES! A decent number. As for Photoshop Elements, this summer after determining that I had absolutely had no more room in my brain to learn one more platform, channel or program, I dragged myself to a class through my local adult school. It was $69 for 4 nights, taught by a wonderful retired guy. I thought I’d start with Elements and then progress to full on Photoshop CS6. On the first night, the instructor made it clear that the extensive version was only for graphic designers. I’ve been able to do great stuff with Photoshop Elements and I haven’t even scratched the surface yet. I’m sure there are other even more simple tools, but Photoshop Elements is such a breeze, I refuse to check out anything else!
Finding Cheap and Free Photos for Facebook Content
FREE: Wikimedia Commons: Photos are free, really and for true. From their site: “Unlike traditional media repositories, Wikimedia Commons is free. Everyone is allowed to copy, use and modify any files here freely as long as they follow the terms specified by the author; this often means crediting the source and author(s) appropriately and releasing copies/improvements under the same freedom to others. The license conditions of each individual media file can be found on their description page.” Save to computer and use at will. Google Advanced Image Search: SCROLL down until you see “usage rights” on left side. At the end of the bar, expand the choices and pick “free to use or share, even commercially,” or “free to use, share or modify even commercially” if you are a business. You’ll see how quickly the options diminish once you click on this limitation. Nevertheless, some remain that you could use. Low Cost: Bigstockphoto.com, istockphoto.com and many others. Generally run @ $3 per image. I try to jump on the SALES when I can.
Other Options for Sharable Facebook Content Ideas
Yes, please do check out www.someecards.com. You pick your background, graphic and text. Get the code to insert into a blog post or a link to put on a Facebook update. Choose from various themes: holiday, graduation, thank you, wedding, birthday . . . there are a million ways to filter the admittedly “vintage” graphics. You even get to save all your ecards on the site. Animoto.com: I wish I had the time to do more crazy stuff on Animoto. Basically, you can upload some photos and intersperse them with text to tell a story. Here’s one that I did for ProPlants. I’d make it a lot shorter today . . . Make your own slideshow with music at Animoto. I’d be in the Animoto playground all the time if I could. It’s either FREE or $5/month. I did my last year’s Christmas card on it and everyone went nuts. Abandon sleep, all ye who enter here!
Want to Make Your Facebook Content More Visual?
A writer for 25 years, I’m happy to give the words a break as long as pretty pictures get my customers get more business! My staff and I are just happy to be making stuff. Content is content, after all, and if users have determined that the best Facebook content ideas should be short, pretty and pithy, we’re on it. Contact Informed Web Content for Facebook strategy and/or a 10-pack of posts that get you started. In the meantime, take a Photoshop Elements course, break out that fancy digital SLR you bought on a whim and set it to manual. Take a photography class. Get your own shots up there to excite visitors, overlay a text box with a useful, industry-related quote and watch your shares skyrocket!