In this series — The Perfect Fan Page — we will write detailed articles on various aspects of Fan Page creation.
All you Need to Know About the Facebook Fan Page Photostrip
This article will tell you all you need to know about the Photostrip — the row of 5 small images to the right of your Profile Picture — with lots of great examples, strategies, and downloadable templates….
Facebook Profile Photostrip: Essential Info
The key things you need to know about the Profile Photostrip are:
- If you do nothing to control your Photostrip, Facebook will display thumbnails of the five most recent images uploaded by page admins (not fans);
- You can’t control the order in which the 5 Photostrip images appear; they are displayed in random order on each page load. However, the order can be controlled on Personal Profiles;
- You can control which images appear in your Photostrip and make it an integral part of your page’s visual branding and messaging. Any image a page admin uploads will automatically appear in the Photostrip; images added by fans won’t be added to your Photostrip;
- To remove an unwanted image from the Photostrip: To “hide” from the Photostrip an image you don’t want included, refresh the page after you upload the image, then delete it by mousing over the image and clicking on the small “x” that appears in the top right corner of the image.
- To unhide an image you hid from the Photostrip: 1) Click “Edit Page” button at top right; 2) Click “Profile Picture” in left column; 3) Under your profile picture, you’ll see “Row of photos at top of profile: [Unhide All]” – Click “Unhide All” button to unhide all hidden photos. Unfortunately, you can’t hide individual images;
- You can omit the Photostrip entirely by hiding all uploaded images;
- You can upload images of any size dimension but, if they are not already 97w x 68h pixels (aspect ratio: 1.43:1 – width/height), a section of the uploaded image will be sampled at the same aspect ratio and reduced to 97 x 68 for the Photostrip display;
- Images of the same dimensions will have the same area sampled for the thumbnail. This allows for some expanded uses of the Photostrip, as described below.
Consider the visual branding of your fan page — Control your Photostrip images!
The Photostrip is a key part of your page’s visual branding, extending to the right of your page’s profile picture and, ideally, extending the visual theme.
Use your Photostrip to extend your fan page branding AND convey information about your brand.
Whereas it appears that Wildfire does nothing to control the Photostrip images, resulting in a Photostrip that neither conveys information nor provides visual branding, or appeal:
Whether you use your Photostrip to extend your profile picture concept, show products, display text messaging, or display other imagery that relates to your brand, make sure you think about branding when developing your strip!
Focus on Visual Branding — Going with Thumbnails Only
Some pages use their Photostrip to simply extend the visual branding and messaging by uploading the 5 images sized at 97 x 68 pixels, the exact size of the displayed thumbnails.
The fan page for Steve Madden Fashion Design creates a great visual effect, with a limited color palette:
The Olay fan page has a simple, elegant Photostrip:
The Bounce fan page has a playful and colorful Photostrip:
Crockpot Divas, a page for sharing crockpot recipes, utilizes colorful iconic cooking images:
The Cairns & Great Barrier Reef Photostrip integrates nicely with the profile picture and is evocative and beautiful:
Drip Media does a great job of integrating the profile picture and the Photostrip:
JetBlue Airways goes full-on graphical/arty, to eye-pleasing effect!
3MultiMedia.com, a Huntington Beach Web shop, came up with a fun way to promote their services:
SmartyPig, the “free online piggy bank,” utilizes cartoonish images of things people might use their piggy bank to save for….
The Box Tops for Education utilizes simple messaging and colorful file-folder icons to convey their mission:
The Kiwi Shoe Care uses great icons and a very limited color palette to brand their page with — what else? — kiwis!
Panda Express, purveyor of “gourmet Chinese food”:
All the above examples use the Photostrip on one level — visual and/or messaging. Clicking on the images just displays the same small image with no additional information.
Using larger images for the Photostrip — and the Comment Box for captioning
As mentioned above, if you upload an image larger than 97x68px, it will be sampled and the sample resized to 97x68px. Larger images of the same dimension will have the same area of the image sampled.
Tofurious, a marketing guy, utilizes simple and intriguing iconography to pique interest. The images simply enlarge on clicking. (His Welcome tab also has a pretty clever “Like this Page” graphic.) He then uses the Comments box to expand on the graphic.
McDonalds also provides an enlarged version of the Photostrip thumbnail, but they also use the Comments Box to provide additional information — a link to their website:
Kraft Macaroni & Cheese promotes their various product offerings with catchy graphics that enlarge, with additional information, including bit.ly links for tracking, in the Comments:
Hike Social Apps also provides enlarged images and extra information in the Comments box:
DePauw University Class of 2016 uses college-related photos and messaging, with enlargements that include tagging in the Comments:
Use your Photostrip images as “navigation,” with enlargements that provide more info
Because you can upload images larger than the displayed thumbnail size, you can take advantage of this to turn each image into a navigation item that pops a larger and more informative image.
Then use the comments to give it a caption.
Celebration! Cinema figured out where Facebook crops a full size image for display in the Photostrip, then used the extra space to add text and other content. In the description they included bit.ly links so they could track click-throughs.
The enlargements are 960 x 672 pixels, and include more information. Then they use the comments box to provide a trackable link:
Hugh Briss uses his Photostrip as a “mini portfolio” where clicking on the images brings up a larger, more detailed version. He then uses the Comments to say something about each project:
Clicking on an image brings up the enlargement:
Hugh has obviously made a trade-off between a clean, visually attractive Photostrip and providing valuable information. But it’s a great use of the Photostrip, in terms of providing information.
How to control which part of your big image is cropped for your thumbnail
As I mentioned earlier in this article, when you upload a larger image, as in the above examples, Facebook takes a section of the image that is in the 1.43:1 width-to-height ratio and reduces it to create the thumbnail.
The good news: If all your large images are the same dimensions, then each will have the same section taken for the thumbnail. So you must:
- Decide on the size of your larger images you use for the Photostrip, and make sure they’re all the same dimensions;
- Upload one image to determine where Facebook will be cropping them;
- Create the other images now that you know which area will be used for the thumbnail.
This is most likely the technique used by Celebration! Cinema to create their nice Photostrip functionality.
Free Photoshop PSD Photostrip Templates
Jeremy Bronson created a nifty Photoshop PSD template, with a 724 x 509 pixel area, to use in creating large images with additional info not included in the thumbnail. Download it here. (Note: On Jeremy’s template, the visible thumbnail area can take up both the gray and white areas.)
We at HyperArts created this Photostrip template (PSD) to help you create the individual thumbnails and profile picture, if you go the thumbnails-only route.
What if you DON’T WANT a Photostrip at all?
If you’d prefer not to have a Photostrip on your fan page, simply hide all the images in your Photostrip, by clicking the little “x” that appears in the upper-right corner when you mouse over the thumbnail.
Addendum! If folks submit examples I think meet my critera for excellence, I’ll add them below…
Inhouse Advertising (Very nice enlargements on the popups!)
Zootaru (Check out how they enlarge … nice!)