How To Use The New Facebook Photo Viewer As A Marketing Tool

How To Use The New Facebook Photo Viewer As A Marketing Tool

The recent Facebook Page upgrades unveiled some of the most complex features we’ve seen on the platform yet. Navigating Facebook as your Page OR Profile; posting and commenting on other Pages as your Page; notifications of Page activity; News Feed just for Pages you’ve liked; weighted system for displaying the most popular posts on your Page wall; and, replacement of FBML with iFrames.

I will be publishing a series of posts diving deeper into specific Facebook features, along with an in-depth review of all the changes and their impact on marketers. This post covers two features I’m very excited about, as they have a distinct marketing advantage: the five-photo strip at the top of Pages (similar to Profiles) and the new Photo Viewer lightbox.

First, I strongly recommend that if you have not yet upgraded your Page, you need to dive in and do so right now! 🙂 All Pages will automatically be upgraded next month anyway. Go here to view all your Pages, check out the new layout with the Preview button first, then Upgrade.

Upgrade Your Facebook Pages

New five-photo strip at the top of Pages

This new feature is identical to the new Profile design. Your five most recently uploaded Page photos are displayed at the top and will change any time you load new photos. Photos loaded by your fans and other Pages will not appear in this display. To remove a photo from the display, mouseover and click the “x”. Hidden photos will still be accessible.

What’s really cool is, just like your personal profile, you can get creative and use this valuable real estate for branding, special offers, tips, etc.

HyperArts Facebook Page Photo Strip

HyperArts Facebook Page Photo Strip

However, the photos do not stay in the same order (unlike Profiles). With each visit/refresh, the photos randomize. In the example above, Tim Ware at HyperArts Web Design mentions in the main Page image that they know the order is random. I refreshed Tim’s Page umpteen times and still couldn’t get the images to spell HyperArts. lol!

So, creating a sequential five-photo banner won’t quite work. (I’m not entirely sure why Facebook included the randomize feature. Perhaps so we can’t quite fully add a custom banner. Hm.)

Continue reading for my magical marketing tip, though!

New Photo Viewer Lightbox

We saw a sneak peek of this lovely feature back in December. Each photo throughout the entire Facebook platform can now easily be viewed in a popup lightbox so you can see enlarged pictures, scroll back and forth, like/comment and never lose your place on Facebook. This is an extremely handy feature when viewing photos in the News Feed, on anyone’s Profile or Page, etc.

Facebook photo viewer lightbox iris

Facebook Photo Viewer – Lightbox pops up, background grays out

Magical marketing tip: put CTAs on your images to make them ads!

Now, here’s the magical marketing tip: create a series of photos with special offers and calls to action (CTAs) right on the images and you basically have your own five free Facebook ads!! 🙂 “Click here for details,” is an obvious CTA. Then, include a short narrative with a hyperlink to that offer in the photo description. When your fans click the image, up it pops in the nifty new lightbox where they then see the description and link.

Any images of links (URLs) will, of course, not actually click through to the web page. BUT, when anyone clicks on the five images at the top of your Page (or anytime you share an image on your wall, load to an album, etc), they see the image pop up in the lightbox where you then have your compelling offer.

Fan Page Factory - Facebook Page

Fan Page Factory – Facebook Page

The ideal dimensions to make sure the thumbnail size shows properly is:  970px by 680px. Facebook then makes the entire image the thumbnail size, which is 97px by 68px. In the Fan Page Factory screenshot above, my buddy Nathan doesn’t have CTAs on each image, but he does have a compelling offer under each photo. Props to Nathan for the tip on the dimensions-to-thumbnail ratio! Quote:

If the ratio is not (1.426=97/68) Facebook will NOT render the entire photo as the thumbnail and will rather recenter the thumbnail and only show “out” until the ratio is met.

I recommend that you create at least five images like this, each with special offers and clear, “CLICK HERE” type of CTAs. Periodically change the images and offers. Each time you post a photo (photos tend to get the highest EdgeRank in the News Feed), your post goes out into the feed of fans and other pages that have liked you.

You might also check out the photo template made by ShortStack Labs.

550 new subscribers in less than 24 hours!

I tried the image-with-CTA experiment last Friday and uploaded a real simple 97px by 68px image (size of the thumbnail – I didn’t know at the time to make it 10x!). Within 24 hours, I had over 550 new opt-ins for my 15 Social Media Power Tips! I saw many fans shared the same photo on their page/profiles. Which, of course, creates a viral effect for the offer!

15 Social Media Power Tips - Facebook popup offer

15 Social Media Power Tips – Facebook popup offer

Though the image looks teeny in the Photo Viewer, it’s the proper size for the photo strip at the top of my Page. But, clearly, size didn’t matter!

Initially, I put the CTA in the narrative first followed by an explanation of my experiment. But, I edited the narrative so my usual, bubbly style showed first. I didn’t want it to suddenly come across as pushy/salesy in the News Feed of my fans. It’s important to remember whatever narrative you add to the photo will be what shows up in the News Feed of your fans.


Narrative for Facebook offer

Here’s the next offer I’m sharing via Facebook Photos:

Would you like to spend 2.5 days with me – either LIVE in person in sunny San Diego, or VIRTUALLY via streaming video access – and begin to master Facebook marketing? April 1-2, optional Beginners Bootamp on March 31. Check out my fab new page for this event, just unveiled today! If you’d like to attend live, save $500 on the 1 or 2 ticket price! Just enter ‘500discount’ on the check out page.

Social Media Mastery Immersion - Join Mari Smith!

Social Media Mastery Immersion – Join Mari Smith!

So, what do you think? Will you use your five-photo strip strategically for images with offers and calls-to-action? I’d love to see some creative examples – feel free to share in the comments below and include a link back to your Facebook Page!

Mari Smith

Forbes Top Social Media Power Influencer | Facebook Marketing Expert | Globe-trotting Speaker, Author | 'Mari like Ferrari' | Bubbly Scottish-Canadian!

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  1. Dawn on February 15, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    Mari ~ thank you for your tip, you are always my “go-to-gal” for all new things on Facebook.

  2. Deanna on February 15, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    That looks great!!!!!!! But I have a question, if we have a page that is always putting up new photos, how can we make sure that we have the same old 5 at the top of our photo strip?

  3. Anonymous on February 15, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    Very clever– I love this idea. But didn’t we discover that most fans don’t return to the FAN page after they’ve LIKEd it? Or do you think this is most useful for new visitors?

  4. Gkrasuski on February 15, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    I just left a post on your page. Very nice design, by the way. Would you be willing to share how you did this? We’re relatively new to FB, and this new platform is a big deal. I can’t figure this one out. Our FB page is Kieding Office Architects. Thanks, much.


  5. Terry Rabe on February 15, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    Hi Mari, thank you for all of your tips! How do you add calls to action (CTAs) right on the images? Do you mean add a caption for each photo? I am unclear howI go about adding a CTA to a photo. Can you elaborate? Thanks! -Terry

  6. Lesley on February 15, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    The new Facebook Photo Viewer keeps crashing my Internet Explorer. I hate and am trying to figure out how to get rid of it.

  7. Pat on February 15, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    Thanks for the tutorial Mari. I spent about 30 minutes creating a banner for the top 5 photos on my page, only to find out, like you mentioned, that they are always randomized!

    I did, however, find a solution to this, similar to yours except it still looks as if they were purposely placed in the order you find. Here’s a link to my page:

    Cheers, and thanks for all you do.

  8. Whetham Solutions on February 15, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    Love this!

  9. David Foster on February 15, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    Yes Mari. We are using it at FPE to showcase the people behind the page as well as upcoming things. I also do not quite get the randomness of the images and why they would not allow us to use them to actually have a tad more customization options on our pages…as far as the wall goes anyway, because we have had NONE, which kinda stinks because it is where the majority of people land…so I do hope they change that. I also am not a big fan of the lightbox viewer and neither are a growing number pf page admins as I noticed on a Facebook page thread…

    We will see what happens over time, but if Facebook ends up listening to the majority, I think we will see some changes in the near future…if not, well then my comments on “at least Facebook is listening” would become untrue.

  10. Phillipa Wirangi on February 15, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    Love this! I was getting so annoyed at the images being randomised 🙁 You always have fantastic tips Mari!

  11. Mari Smith on February 15, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    Hey David!! Oh, interesting – why are peeps not liking the lightbox? Btw, I saw a new page this morning – already 3000 members. 😉 Hmm, we’ll see. I’m sure big brands are enjoying the new weighted walls, but it doesn’t make much sense for the rest of us!

  12. Karen Runtz on February 15, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    So glad you shared this explanation. You spurred me on to take action with our still young FB page. It took me an hour or so to set up the images and add text and links. I’m still learning! In my case I added images related to success stories profiling individuals who bought or sold a business through our company, and featured in the monthly newsletter we launched in September. Then I used the lightbox captioning etc. to add a call to action to subscribe to the newsletter. The downside is that the wording isn’t visible unless visitors click the images, but I think it still has value. The page is at
    Thanks so much.

  13. Allison Nassour on February 15, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    Thanks Mari. I look forward to your future posts as you “scuba” through the new Facebook page changes!

  14. Betsy from Belly Feathers on February 15, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    Mari, this is absolutely genious! I have the perfect application for this coming up soon: I can advertise a giveaway for one of my handmade party banners that will be on another company’s blog.

  15. Kasia Rachfall on February 16, 2011 at 12:04 am

    You are awesome, Mari! Thanks for always having such fabulous suggestions. HUGS!

  16. David Foster on February 16, 2011 at 1:56 am

    Well I think the lightbox is because it is such a contrast to the rest of the site…almost like it is opening into some unknown universe or something LOL…but yes I saw that page, and that is actually one of 3 I have seen on the subject that are growing…so if Facebook is really listening I think we may see a change…because it really makes no sense..and if they do not change it..then at least explain to us how it works so we can make sense of it…because maybe if we knew we would find it is brilliant!

  17. Shelley on February 16, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    Hey Mari, great post and thanks! So, it appears it doesnt matter which album a photo is loaded into on Fan page, as far as what shows up on photo stream. Or, maybe you are still working on that! thanks for any insight.

  18. Pat on February 17, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    Great question Deanna – when you put new a new photo onto your page, it will replace one of the ones at the top. To get it back, all you have to do is click on the little (X) the new image that appears at the top and it will disappear. Cheers!

  19. Pat on February 17, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    Thanks for the post, Gkrasuski! I appreciate it. Really, I just follow the tips here in this post. Just create 5 photos that all line up with each other, which can work no matter what order they are in. The size, I believe is 97px by 68px. For the profile image, it’s at 180px x 483 px, and I just designed it so it aligned with the rest. Cheers!

  20. David Gadarian on February 18, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    Thanks Mari. I had a similar idea to utilize the space, but as usual you elevated my thinking on this considerably!

    BTW – I’ll just come out and say it – Facebook Marketing – An Hour A Day co-Authored by Mari is a great read.

  21. Jon Morter on February 18, 2011 at 11:33 am

    Hi Mari,

    I’ve started to create a ‘Fruit Machine’ (well it randomizes every time!)

  22. Susan Liddy on February 19, 2011 at 12:13 am

    How fun to stumble across your post right after doing this on my page! Great minds think a like?! Wowee. I didn’t resize my images, just uploaded my eCovers, etc. with a CTA in the description. I wonder how I could track the effectiveness… ?

  23. Darlene G on February 21, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    Excellent tips!! Thanks for sharing. I’m off to make some changes…

  24. Erik Karff on February 22, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    What great ideas Mari! Just wanted to stop by and say thank you!

  25. Jimmyserrano on February 24, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    I tried using 970×680 in the 5-strip photo area, but FB is still cropping them – I had to upload 97×68 photos, but of course when you click on them they are tiny in the gallery. Am I missing something?

  26. Athena A Harris on March 1, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    Thanks for this tut! Now I need more fans!

    Keep up the great work!

  27. Rebekah {honeyandcheese} on March 3, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    The CTA idea is brilliant! I never would have thought to use my photos that way, but now I’m spinning ideas in my mind. Thanks for the tip – and for the best dimensions to use!

  28. Earl Almeida on March 7, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    It appears the 5 photos on the top of the page aren’t so random anymore. I was looking at a friend’s wall where he had his name in the 5 images perfectly and I refreshed and the same thing happened. So I checked the HyperArts page you referenced above and it appeared perfectly in order and even after 4 refreshes. Pat’s page below still randomized it 3 different times when I refreshed it.

    Do you know how to modify the settings then to get the pictures in the same order?

  29. Christine Pilch on March 8, 2011 at 1:16 am

    The same thing happened to me as Jimmyserrano. I also tried using 970×680 px in the 5-strip photo area, but FB is still cropping them. Has anybody found dimensions that work correctly?

  30. Stefanie on March 8, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    Thanks will try it.

  31. MGDesigns on March 10, 2011 at 7:40 am

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I absolutely love this idea, and have implemented it on my fanpage – I think it turned out quite well, I just have to manage any other images added to be sure my preferred 5 stay on top:

  32. Katie Schwartz on March 10, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    I’m having the same problem with cropping at the 970×680 px. Any ideas?

  33. Katie Schwartz on March 10, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    Try this… I reduced the size of my photo & added white space around it, but kept the final dimensions at 970×680 px. Took several attempts & uploads into fb to perfect the white space so nothing was cropped in the thumnail, but it finally worked for me!

  34. amanda gram on March 24, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    love your ideas!!! Buy you can make a custom banner that does not change.. check out my page… and “like” it!!! lol

  35. amanda gram on March 24, 2011 at 11:40 pm

    just reealized havent done it on fan page yet.. just personal page. But the application is called Fbanner I thnk… there are few out there… just search banners from your page..not fan page…. need to do it thru personal one if I remember correctly then link to your fan page

  36. Brian on March 29, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    Great ideas. Dixie Elixirs uses the random images on their Facebook page to spell out the five letters of DIXIE. When they were posted, fans were encourage to reload the page to see if they could get it to spell “DIXIE”.

  37. Anonymous on April 2, 2011 at 10:52 pm

    Really helpful guide, Mari – thanks for sharing this. By the way, I got an “error” when trying to “Like” this: “The app ID “42328360008” specified within the “fb:app_id” meta tag was invalid.”

    And congrats on the 550 subscribers in 24 hours, that’s very cool – you’ve inspired me to use this on my clients’ facebook sites!

  38. Nathan Latka on April 23, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Thanks for the mention Mari! Glad I was able to help 🙂

  39. klimaatbeheersing on June 27, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    I never would have thought to use my photos that way, but now I’m spinning ideas in my mind.Will spin for more ideas and dig some tricks from this blog.

  40. Riquez on September 12, 2011 at 3:12 am

    485×68 (97 width each)

  41. Alexis Rodrigo on September 23, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    Excellent ideas, Mari, thanks for sharing! I followed your advice regarding the size (970px x 680 px) but my images still don’t display properly ( Any ideas?

  42. Luis Galarza on September 28, 2011 at 7:39 am

    Extremely useful and I have to say better innovative way to use images as Facebook promotion tools… I tried it to make sure still works after all the new changes the social network just launch, and it works excellent…. Awesome tactic Mari!

  43. Eme Michael on November 5, 2011 at 6:00 am

    Hi Thanks For Sharing Your Knowledge With Us About How To Use Facebook Photo Viewer As Marketing Tool Are Very Nice. For Those Who Enjoy Statuses On Facebook, We’re Just Trying To Make New Status And Hope You Are Really Likes It. And You Can Also Get Latest Banners From Facebook Banners.

  44. Anonymous on November 7, 2011 at 9:40 am

    nice one Mari. Over 550 subscribers in that timeframe? thats crazy good!

    I use slightly different dimensions that work too, which makes me wonder. The cropping and resizing is sort of a mystery. I made a psd template if anyone is interested

  45. Andymcdon on January 5, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    The HyperArts facebook landing page you first go to isn’t using a banner at all, but just an iframe from a different site. It’s made to look like a facebook banner. When you click to their wall in the left navigation, the top banner randomizes like usual.

    I am looking for a way to get around this though, anyone got ideas?

  46. Miked on January 11, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    Hi Mari,

    Regarding the 5-image bar…I can see that there is a way to exclude images from appearing by clicking the small x that appears in the top left corner when you hover over them. With more than 1000 images on my fan page however, this gets old fast. So is there a way to ensure that only the images I specifiy appear there?  

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