Tuesday, October 23, 2012
You shouldn’t spend a lot of time making your Shareable Squares-- ten to fifteen minutes tops. The most important thing is to put one up every day. What will slow you down is too many choices. There are thousands of fonts available online. There are probably over a hundred online and iPad apps that allow you to dramatically change the colors, mix in photographic layers, add type and frames. The options for combining all these things is infinite, and you If you try to futz around with a few of these, you can spend all day. If you’re having fun, then go for it, but I want you to make a square at least once a day, in whatever way works out for you. Take an hour sometime and do two or three of them. Trust me, sometimes you think you’ve done a masterpiece and nobody notices; then you’ll toss something off in two minutes and it will be huge. It’s the ideas that make a square or break it.
That’s why I recommend PicMonkey. (My post on it is here.) It has very few type fonts and very few things you can do with colors and frames. Spend a few months with it and you’ll know everything it can do.
Still, if you go on my Facebook page now and then, you’ve seen me do some silly, yet impressive composites, which look like they might have taken a bit of time to do. These come from the site PhotoFunia. This site can magically pop your pictures into posters, art galleries, billboards, frames, drawings, magazines, on TV sets, books, and so on. It also has excellent technology for grafting faces onto other bodies or turning somebody into a zombie. All you have to do is upload your photo, click “Go!” and you’re done. All that is left is to crop it into an 803 x 803 pixel square.
PhotoFunia will give you ideas when you don’t have any. Every time you want to let people know there is a new review, you can either take a frame grab or a PicMonkey quote and throw it on a billboard or put it in an art gallery. There’s ample room for imagination with this beyond fooling around. For example, you could take an image of something really tragic, and by putting it on the cover of a magazine casually held by a model, turn it into an image of how people are casually oblivious to the awful things that go on in the world.
There are many other sites like this as well as Facebook and iPad apps that do similar things, although each one has some special effects that the others don’t. Still, I strongly suggest that you keep it simple and start with PhotoFunia and stick with it, at least for awhile. Keep as few tools and options as possible and you will get the most impact out of your Facebook fan page in the least time.
By the way, please keep posting your squares on my Facebook page and I will re-post them. Let me know whether they are working for you and if you give me permission to put them up on the blog too.
Sunday, October 21, 2012
Everything in traditional movie marketing is generated by the marketers: publicity, reviews, posters, trailers and TV spots, websites, ads, and so on. It is a one way / top-down process. The marketers make all this stuff and hope that all or part of it will somehow register in the consciousness of potential moviegoers.
Social media marketing works the complete opposite way. A Facebook fan page is a group of people who come together online to talk about a topic of common interest, which in this case is a movie. People can decide to form a group like this on their own, or the marketers can invite them when they set up a page.
Instead of one-way, social media is two-way, or more precisely, multi-way. Social media is about dialogue and making connections and no marketer can force a group to convene or control what that discussion will be. Eric Cantor has an official Facebook page; there is also a popular “Eric Cantor is a Douchebag” page.
Our task as Facebook marketers is to set up the online community, try to get people to go there, and then keep the conversation going. Effective social media marketing happens when the audience is the show--not us. But most movie marketers transfer the one-way technique to Facebook by using it as a newsletter or an email blast… and fail utterly. Sending out status updates about what cities the film is opening in or links to reviews and articles is unlikely to provoke people to comment, share or like. And if they don’t do that, the Facebook algorithm sends out fewer posts and the page gradually becomes a pointless exercise.
The whole idea of social media marketing rests on authenticity--you can’t have a Facebook Community for your film unless there really are a group of people who want to talk about it. That’s why the number of likes you have on your page doesn’t necessarily matter. It does you no good to get your friends--who like you personally but may not have any particular interest in your movie--to like your page as a favor. What matters more than the number of likes is the amount and the quality of the conversation appearing on the page from the people who do care about the topic of discussion.
Having more likes doesn’t necessarily mean you have more activity. The official “Audi USA” page has almost six million members, but it has less fan engagement than the fan page “I Love Audi,” which has only one million members.
If you want to check out whether any film page is working or not, all you need to do is click the Likes button.
You’ll see something like this:
The number on the left, “People Talking About This,” represents the number of unique people who have liked, commented, shared, or otherwise interacted with this particular movie fan page over the past week. That’s always more important than the number of Likes.
The frame grab above is from a recent independent film. Here are a few others:
Here is “Moonrise Kingdom”
How does your page measure up? Facebook fan pages aren’t like posters or trailers, where I might love one and you might hate it. The “People Are Talking About This” is a cold number that can’t be argued with. It doesn’t matter how nice your page looks or how hard you are working on it, either people are talking about it or they ain’t. I would say, however, that though a low number means failure, a high one doesn’t necessarily mean success: it’s not useful if everybody is just telling each other to go to hell. To evaluate a page you have to look at more than its analytics.
If you’re not happy with what you see, you can: try using Shareable Square images instead of status updates and links; use calls to action; post daily but not more than three times a day. I’m sure you’ll see a lot of improvement very soon.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
A Shareable Square should be as bold and brief as it is possible for you to make it. Shareable Squares are all about the quick glance; they get a larger response than text for exactly that reason.
Never forget that many people will see your square on their phones or in apps like Tweetdeck where the image you may have put a lot of time into will be extremely small. If you are too subtle, a lot of people won’t notice it at all. What’s the point of that?
I found the quote above on the web and I liked it. It was fine, but I didn’t think it was something that would have the greatest impact on my page. So I kicked it into high gear.
Keep your text as short as possible.
Stick with a single bold font.
I began my New York movie career as a graphic designer, and so I know a bit more about it than most, but I’ve thrown the rulebooks out for my squares. In terms of font weight, my answer is increasingly bold or even extra-bold. I’m often going with Arial Black because PicMonkey has it, so that makes it quick. When I do my squares elsewhere, I use Gill or Helvetica Neue.
Many graphic designers abhor Helvetica or Arial, as they are omnipresent cliches --check out Gary Hustwit’s excellent film Helvetica--but they are used everywhere because their stripped-down Swiss design is elegant and beautiful. You can’t go wrong with it, and that’s a good thing if you don’t know what you’re doing with typography.
Artist Barbara Kruger has created a lifetime of great art with Futura Bold Italic and Woody Allen has used Windsor Light Condensed on every movie since Annie Hall. It’s okay if you find your font and stick with it. Sans serif is recommended but you can choose anything you want if it packs a punch. If it’s not extremely legible at a small size… toss it!
On the other hand, I do admit that sometimes I feel like making a square like this Breakfast at Tiffany’s quote that breaks all my rules. The squares are also creative expression for me, and it would bore me if all I did was swing for the bleachers for fan reaction every time. And maybe I will assemble this square later with other things and it will work well in other social media like in Pinterest or a Tumblr blog.
But I know that most of the time I have to look for the most impact.
Monday, October 15, 2012
There is a business that has been spreading through Facebook for a long time that involves the selling of “likes.” In order to have likes to sell, the con men have to create untold thousands of phony people online. In order for the fake likes to appear real, they need to like other sites, not just the ones that they are being paid to like. The result is that you may be getting a lot of strange people liking your page: people who only seem to speak a foreign language; people who haven’t posted, or if they have posted it’s all gibberish; have profile pictures that are celebrities; and finally--have liked 4000 pages. One way to test your page is to look in your “Insights” and see where your fans live. I have a LOT of so-called “fans” who live in Morocco.
Some of you might be happy about this because it creates the illusion that your page is more popular than it really is, but having fake likes is not a good thing. When you buy ads to reach your fans, you will be paying good money to reach these phonies. Worse, if you advertise to the friends of your fans, you will get more and more of these imposters. In no time, they’ll be growing like crabgrass on your page.
The only way that your page will work as a marketing tool is by getting people to come to it that are truly interested. Anyone who is supposedly a fan of your page but isn’t involved puts you at a disadvantage. Over time, the Facebook algorithm will judge your page to not be interesting and will show your posts to less people. I have no idea how these things work--perhaps real people are manipulating them or perhaps they are internet robots (aka “bots”).
Having these counterfeit people on my page defeats the whole purpose of what I’m trying to achieve, which is bringing people together to talk about Facebook and social media. .It has been reported that Facebook is in the process of cleaning out fake pages, but I can’t wait for that. I want them gone.
Whenever my page is liked, I check out the page to see if it is real. I try to give it the benefit of the doubt. If there is any sign that this is an actual person I leave it alone. But if I’m sure it’s a fake, I go to the top of the phony profile and click the downward arrow next to message and select “Report/Block.” Blocking means that I can’t contact the person who doesn’t exist and that non-person can’t contact me… but that doesn’t help me. I want them gone. So I report them to Facebook.
After that, Facebook will ask to see if you’ve read their Community Standards. And then you can Confirm.
I realize that this doesn’t actually do anything, it just passes on a request to Facebook. It would be nice if Facebook would allow an individual page admin to eliminate any “likes” that they find suspicious. In the meantime this is the only option we have.
Tuesday, October 09, 2012
As my previous post was about “The Best Times to Post,” it’s logical that today I show you how to schedule your posts. It couldn’t be easier. As soon as you add a picture or type something into the status box, you’ll see a little clock icon on the left. Clicking it will give you dropdown menus for year, month, date, hour and minute. You could certainly schedule posts long into the future, but I don’t recommend it. You should always leave yourself some flexibility for unexpected things that come up. On the other hand, it doesn’t matter, as you can delete one at any time.
To see your scheduled post, go to the “Edit Page” menu and select “Use Activity Log.” If you’ve scheduled more than one post, you might not see it. Don’t worry, it’s still there… you just have to click a link to reveal it. The “Activity Log” is a very interesting place to explore, as it shows every post you’ve added to your page, every comment you’ve made and every post that any of your fans have made to the page. It goes all the way back to the beginning.
In addition to experimenting with different times of day, there are a number of advantages to scheduling. For me, the best is that you get a chance to look at the post in advance before it goes up. I have a tendency to put posts up and leave important things out, like a link to my blog. But once it’s up, it’s up and it goes out instantly to my members. You can’t edit it. But with a scheduled post, you can delete it and do it as many times as you want.
Another useful thing about scheduling posts is it allows you to easily space posts out by at least three or four hours. This is definitely the best way to go—grouping posts together has the same negative impact on the Facebook computer algorithm as posting too many times each day.
One of the great things about Facebook is that you can work on it on your own time. You don’t need to be at your desk or on your phone tweeting all the time. Facebook doesn’t need to be about up-to-the-minute news like Twitter is. You can create your squares in the evening or early morning. I tend to do many of my squares at one sitting. If you are going to be out for a day or two, you can get your posts set up in advance.
I keep an Excel chart of all my posts. I try to plan out what I’m going to write a week in advance. Generally I play around with the order. For example, I now know that weekends are good days, so I’m placing some of my better posts on the weekends. I keep all my ideas for new posts on the Excel page and put them in and out. I try to balance topics I’d like to write about with a natural flow of information I am providing about how to use Facebook. I may need to teach one thing before I can teach another. If you’re doing a campaign for a movie, it is a really good idea to plot it out in a general way even months in advance. For example, you may get the most reaction on the day you put up your trailer than any other day So give some thought to when that would do you the most good.
Facebook recently added a new feature called Targeted Posts. They allow you to target your posts by a wide range of options, including gender, relationship status, educational status, age, location, and language. I am very interested in the idea of location targeting because I have some fans in the UK. It would be great to send out the same post twice, each one only visible in the UK or the US. Then I could hit each country at the most ideal time. The problem with Targeted Posts is that Facebook only offers them to pages that have more than 5000 fans. But some bloggers say this isn’t always the case, so keep your eyes open for an icon that looks like a target that may turn up next to your clock icon.
Monday, October 08, 2012
It’s been common knowledge among people in the social media world that the best times to post are affected by the nature of the people who are fans of your page. Buddy Media (now owned by Salesforce) and other companies have done numerous studies on this. For example, Mondays are best for “general retail” and Thursday is the best for “clothing and fashion.” Some users may interact with Facebook during work hours; others will only check in during the evening when they are more relaxed. Some may only go on Facebook during the weekends. They may live in widely divergent time zones. The best way to figure to figure things out, it’s been said, is to experiment. I did that with one of my pages and ended up posting at 8pm every night.
But in mid-September, Buddy/Salesforce produced a report, “Strategies for Effective Facebook Posts,” which has challenged my thinking on the subject. I discovered it when Mashable published a story, “Sorry Marketers, You’re Doing Facebook Wrong.” The study is about big brands, but I see no reason for why it wouldn’t apply equally to us. Look at this graphic. The green circles represent fan interactions and the blue bars represent percentage of brands posting.
Wednesday is the worst, Saturdays are good… but look at Sunday! There’s a common sense explanation: if a lot of people don’t post on their fan pages during the weekend, the ones that do have more impact. Mondays are strong because people are coming in refreshed after the weekend, activity drops off as the week progresses and then picks up when it gets into TGIF mode. After seeing this I’m definitely going to stop slacking on weekends.
And here’s a graphic about the hours:
No question about it. For the studied group of 1800 big brands, the evenings are much better.
Mashable also ran a similar story back in June, “Sorry Marketers, You’re Doing Twitter Wrong,” based on a previous Buddy study.
As per this graph, Facebook has 17% less activity between 8 am and 7 pm and Twitter works the opposite way: it has 24% more activity during the day and 24% less during the night.
Getting back to the more recent Buddy report, it has a lot of very specific suggestions, including ones I have made before like keeping your posts succinct (80 characters!), but also:
- Post only one to two times a day (I had said 2-3 max)
- Use emoticans. The best ones are :D and :P
- Use links with a recognizable URL
- Put questions at the end of your post, not at the beginning
- Use Call to Actions: “Like,” “Caption This,” “Share,” “Yes or No,” and “True or False”
I find all this information very useful and look forward to putting it to use. Although I don’t know if I will feel comfortable using emoticons. :D
Sunday, October 07, 2012
When financial types talk about Facebook they generally drop some numbers: 38 (dollars per share in IPO offering) and 50 (drop in value afterwards) and one billion (you know). Many have mentioned 18 (it’s rock bottom price so far), and much fewer mention 21 or 22, But these numbers have no intrinsic meaning of their own--they depend on how they are interpreted and by whom.
It has been my observation that stock prices go up and down--and unless there is some kind of cheating--nobody knows in advance which way they will go. Therefore the Facebook IPO (admittedly poorly handled by NASDAQ) cannot be deemed to be a bad investment unless you know the future. You could make a lot of money with this ability to see into the future in the way these financial journalists seem to, and yet the way the Facebook IPO has been universally reported, as a debacle, has cause large amounts of people to panic, sell their shares, and take huge losses.
It is my conviction that anybody who bought Facebook at any price will do just fine if they simply relax and hold onto their shares. They should, in other words, emulate the most relaxed person on earth, Mark Zuckerberg. He knows what he’s sitting on, and has remarked that he even enjoys sitting in this oasis when people are underestimating both him and Facebook.
Once the financial media verified that the Facebook IPO was a catastrophe, they set about finding out what caused it. Was it was the impetuousness of investors, swept away by hype? Was it NASDAQ? Was it a backroom deal by a consortium of plutocrats? Was it was Facebook’s CFO David Ebersman’s fault? The buck, of course, stops at Mark Zuckerberg’s desk, as he was the one who created the pesky social network in the first place.
The narrative of the Facebook IPO calamity was further advanced when the company’s staffers were able to cash in their stock for millions of dollars. So? Who on Earth wouldn’t grab one million or ten million or fifty million if they could get the chance? This is not the Titanic hellbound for the glacier; this is a hiccup for a billion-rich company--a short -term loss that is soon to pass.
It goes without saying that the financial media would have danced to a different tune if Facebook stock had gone up. But how would that have changed anything? Couldn’t it go down precipitously later? Doesn’t that happen in the stock market?
It seems to me these stories are a sideshow from a story that is much harder to report. The real story, in my opinion, is about what Facebook is as a business and where we can reasonably expect it to go in the future. A good way to start learning that would be to find out exactly how they make their money today. To cover that story, reporters would have to spend a few hours reading the RSS feeds of a few Facebook bloggers or--horrors!--calling one of them up. They could call up a Target and ask them how they are utilizing Facebook to make tons of money. They could chat with the guy at the local candy store about how he’s increasing his profits with his Facebook fan page.
Instead, they stay within the bubble and call somebody in Wall Street. Check out this quote in the July 26th issue of the New York Times: “Brian Wieser, an analyst with Pivotal Research Group, said Facebook was such a new kind of company that it was difficult to know how to measure its progress. ‘It is not a utility, it is not a newspaper, it’s not manufacturing,’ he said. ‘It is unproven in terms of its durability.’ To paraphrase Bob Dylan: “Something is happening here and you don’t know what it is…do you, Mr. Wieser.” Or to quote Chris Matthews: “Tell me something I don’t know.”
There is never a dearth of quote-bearing experts to declare how they are waiting to find out how Facebook is going to monetize, cashefize, moolah-ize, or otherwise tenderize their business. Also they share the pearl of wisdom that Facebook is advertising-based and advertising-based web businesses don’t tend to work. Perhaps that is true, but Facebook is not a conventional advertising-based business: used effectively, it offers social media marketing for a fee. The price Facebook charges for accessing the setting they have created for social media marketing is the ads marketers buy to help build a fan base and the “promoted posts” they must buy to continue to reach all their fans (as well as their fans’ friends, should they choose to do that).
This the answer to the common refrain that, as Peter Kafka recapped it recently in All Things Digital, “people aren’t there to buy anything. They’re there because they want to hang out with their friends, and they don’t want to see ads, and they don’t respond to them.” Tell that to this guy. Tell that to the tens of thousands of mom and pop companies that make money off of Facebook ads. Anyway, nearly everybody responds to ads that lead them to other Facebook pages that interest them, and that is what they are supposed to be doing on Facebook. That is where the money can be made—through engaging and interacting with them on the page.
Social media marketing is not a billion dollar idea… it’s a trillion dollar idea. It’s not a futuristic model, it’s right now. There is, I find, one major obstacle Facebook has yet to overcome, and that is that people haven’t figured how to use it to sell things yet. A mid-September study of 600 small businessmen said that 90% were actively engaged in social media marketing and they found 25% of their customers through sites like Facebook and foursquare. But 58% said they struggle with promoting their Facebook pages, if they even had a page at all. A lot of the blame for people’s inability to use Facebook can be placed on Facebook itself. The real fiasco at Facebook isn’t the IPO; the catastrophe is that they are such utter failures at explaining how to use their business. The educational black hole of Facebook’s outreach has created a lucrative profession for social media gurus like Mari Smith, who do the job for them. Without people like Smith filling up the vacuum, I don’t know if many small businesses would be making money on Facebook.
Still, companies like Target do make a lot of money on Facebook by leveraging its social media aspects. Many sophisticated early adopters are running away with profits and leaving their competitors in the dust. In my business, the film industry, and have therefore observed the closest, I don’t think there are even 10% that use Facebook effectively.
Perhaps a time will come when companies will decide, like the baby in the Jimmy Fallon Capitol One commercial, that they don’t want more cash. If that is not the case, then the potential for the growth of Facebook is unlimited. It will take time, and I’m not going to minimize the serious threats they face from privacy advocates and others, but the only deadly threat is from Wall Street. They want their money now, and Facebook is responding to their panic and pressure by inserting conventional internet advertising products into Facebook, including a partnership with the in-store tracker Datalogix and a “retargeting” offering called Facebook Exchange. While no one can say this for sure, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence that Facebook recently began tweaking their algorithm to make using Facebook more expensive. If true, this is reckless, as it leaves an opening for other social media companies like LinkedIn to sell inexpensive ads that are directed to Facebook pages.
Zuckerberg and his COO Sheryl Sandberg seem to think they can hold onto a balance of old-and-new—they think they can bring in elements like Facebook Exchange into their system without annoying their users and setting off privacy advocates. I’m not so sure that’s where the biggest dangers lie.. These incremental changes might not seem like much but if they shift the system to favor the rich they could gradually destroy the fabric of why hundreds of millions of people take part in multiple Facebook communities, which is: to come together with like-minded strangers to talk online about a subjects of common interest. If you require fans to pay to speak to one another, most of them will probably stop, and Facebook fan pages will increasingly become a landscape of affluent marketers. Social media marketing flourishes when it is done in an ecosystem of fan pages that come together naturally. I have tremendous sympathy for Sandberg, as she is being put in a very difficult position. Nobody wants to wait for the money that she and Zuckerberg know will come when advertisers learn how to use social media. I fear that Wall Street and Facebook may kill the golden goose before it gets the chance to lay enough golden eggs to fill California. Wall Street is the only entity greedy and ignorant and shortsighted enough to nip a vast economic empire in the bud. It sure wouldn’t be the first time. What breaks my heart is that the media, Zuckerberg, and Sandberg are helping them.
There is so much more at stake than money in this battle between Facebook and Wall Street. I have a lot more to say about this, so stay tuned.
I will be giving talks about Facebook Marketing at the Woodstock Film Festival on Friday, October 12th, and at General Assembly in Manhattan on Thursday, November 1st. Details are here.
Saturday, October 06, 2012
As readers of this blog and my Facebook page are well aware, I have a very simple attitude to success on Facebook—creating images that people will share. And most importantly, images that are directed at a goal. Calls to Action are essential as are all the other advice we can get from the wise people in the social media world. But success comes out of images that make things happen for us.
Oh yeah, and I dictate that the images be square, because that means they can always be seen on every page in Facebook without parts of them being cropped out.
Today I’m doing a case history from a filmmaker Michael DiBiasio, who has put his Shareable Squares into action on Facebook for his Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to finance his upcoming film, “Multiverse.” Here’s his first one, made using a picture of his dog. When he posted this one, he put a “threat” in the text box, saying that she wouldn’t get any hugs if nobody donated: Afterwards, Michael posted a thank you with a different picture.
Let me let Michael take over: “I shamelessly edited some cute, funny pictures of my niece, nephew, dog...into faux-silly threats. Everyone seems to be enjoying them so far, and it's definitely helped increase visibility. We've seen some donations come in directly after posting! And it's a lot of fun to put these together in between the crazy busy-ness of producing.” Note: No teddy bears were harmed in the creation of this square. Also note that with this square Michael started including the URL for his Indiegogo campaign.
Do these qualify as “calls to action?” They certainly combine humor with cuteness, two of the most shareable qualities you can find.
Michael says the square below worked quite well for him:
I’m sure Mari Allen would appreciate the way Michael thanks people below. It’s always nice to thank people when they send you money.
Having had his fill of tormenting children and small animals, Michael moved on to mentions of his previous films. This first one refers to his first movie, which was made possible through the help of his core audience of friends and family from his hometown. This shot features extras from that audience.
Note that Michael uses an authentic Facebook “call to action” for the first time here and in the next one:
And finally, his most successful square to date. The Call to Action has engaged the fan base of his lead actress and creative producer Rebecca De Ornelas.
Michael followed each square with an immediate comment that included the link to IndieGogo. linked this square to his Indiegogo page. This provided immediate incentive and made donating/action easier.
lick the image below and send him some money right now. After all, Michael has entertained us and that’s what social media is all about. The jargon for this in the social media world is “added value.”
Thanks Michael for sharing this.
I hope that I will be doing blog posts on the activities of the members of my page as a regular feature of this blog. I already have a few things for next Saturday, but I could use more. Come on, people! Show me what you’re up to and I’ll give you a little more publicity on this page. And if you haven’t created any squares, please post your comments about Michael’s work on my Facebook page.
Friday, October 05, 2012
Your Facebook Fan Page Profile Picture will be shown on your page at 160x160 pixels, but must be uploaded at least 180x180. I recommend uploading it in a bigger multiple of 180 like 360, 540, or 720; Facebook will resize it for you. This will give you higher quality and increase the size of the image in your photo album, which will come in handy if somebody wants to copy your picture to use elsewhere. For the purposes of this exercise, I am going to use another picture from the CreaTTor Cosplay set.
In some ways your profile picture is even more important than the cover: it’s you. I have fooled around with all kinds of silly pictures on my personal Facebook page, but I knew when I made my professional one I would have to take it more seriously. I highly recommend that you get a photographer friend to help you, or if necessary, hire one. In my case my very patient wife Melissa was willing to keep taking pictures until I found one I liked. If you do it yourself I would put the most attention on getting the most flattering light. Natural light from a window is often the easiest way, perhaps filled in on the other side with a soft lamp. Turn off the flash, put the camera on a tripod and zoom in all the way.
I photoshopped my photo against a background from a free CreaTTor series, “Grungy Watercolor Textures” I did that because I had used one of the other textures from this set behind the woman filmmaker on my Cover, and I thought that using another one would be a nice complement. I’ve continuted to use these textures all over the place, including my tab graphics and my business cards.
I’m going to start out by assuming that not everybody knows how to use Photoshop or Photoshop clone programs. If a few people let me know in a comment here or on my Facebook page that they appreciate this kind of basic instruction, I’ll continue giving it.
Start out by creating a new image in pixlr editor, the online editor from my previous post. Give the file a name and make it 540x540 pixels.
In the Layer menu click “Open Image as Layer.” Select your photo.
In the Edit menu select “Free Transform.” Hold down the shift key and resize your photo within the frame.
Save it and put it up on your Facebook fan page. Done!
Thursday, October 04, 2012
Once you’ve set up your page, you’ll need to create a cover photo--an 851 x 315 picture that sits at the top of the page. Your cover is anything that can look good cropped into a long rectangle, but beyond that… what do you want your cover to be? For you, it might be a still from your movie, or one of your photographs, or your paintings or a product. If you don’t have anything original you’re going to have to create something and it has to be good as this is what will represent your business. You need to take your time on this, and if necessary get a graphic designer to help you. This is not a place to mess around with copyrights. I am very knowledgeable about Fair Use, which I will write about later, but let me say that it is hard to verify what it is, but it is not hard to verify what it isn’t—if you are looking to make money out of an image you have to pay for it. And I want to create an image that I can use later for everything. Let me tell you why I think a stock photo company is essential. I found my picture I use for my cover of the woman filmmaker on iStockphoto and decided she would be a good image for my brand. There are numerous pictures of her on iStockphoto and even a video, all of which might be useful at some point. More importantly, I was able to buy the lowest file size for $19 while knowing that more hi-def versions are available if I ever need them. One of the reasons I buy from iStockphoto over other stock photo companies is that they allow you to pay for them in dollars, rather than in credits. With all the others you have to buy a block of credits. This makes sense for somebody who buys a lot of photos but it is a ripoff for us because we buy credits we don’t use. If you want, you can still buy credits.However, there is one big negative to stock photography: anybody else can use it. Getting your own art is always better.
There can be typography on your cover page, but it can’t include any mention of Facebook terms such as “Like” or “Share.” There can’t be a Call to Action like “Get it Now” and it can’t have your website address. Read more details on the Facebook Page Terms page. It might suit you to change your cover from time to time. If so, you are in luck because there is a brand new app called pagecovery that lets you schedule cover changes at different intervals of the day, week or month. It’s free now but I’m sure it won’t always be.
There is an application for creating cover photos, but I tried it and found it very hard to use, so I decided to create a template for you myself. If you right click and download the picture below, you’ll have an 815 x 315 image with a cutaway where the profile picture will be. Rename it “Facebook Cover Template.”
I’m not going to assume that you are all Photoshop users, so on this video I’m using a free online video editor called pixlr editor. There are a lot of programs that copy Photoshop and what they all have in common is that they aren’t as good and are much more difficult to use. A few are online like pixlr and there is a well-known open source download called Gimp. In this demo I will be doing things that take four steps in pixlr and would only have taken one in the consumer version of Photoshop, Adobe Photoshop Elements, which is what I use. Version 11 is coming out very soon so now is a bad time to buy. I’ll let you know when it becomes available and at that point you should do yourself a favor and spend the $60 and buy it and make life easier for yourself. Once Elements 11 comes out I will do my demos in Photoshop Elements and if you want to do the same tasks in pixlr, Gimp, or another program, use the help files, although I can’t say for sure if you will be able to do it all.
The images I use in the demo video below come from creaTTor.com, which is an incredibly useful asset for free stock photos, textures and patterns (I used one of their free textures in my cover), illustrations, menus and buttons, Flash animations, and all kinds of stuff. You should explore it as they are great material for Shareable Squares and you won’t have to worry about copyright. The creaTTor.com stock photos come in sets that must be downloaded in their entirety. The images I’m using come from their Cosplay set from Pixster.
You’re going to want to run this video on YouTube so you can see it full screen.