By SPJ | February 22nd, 2011
Facebook released new designs for its fan pages two weeks ago to offer improved engagement with fans, feature photos and provide better analytics for page administrators. We’ve used the upgrades one week later to have a little fun while initiating a new promotional branding idea for the SPJ page.
(Hat tip to Vadim Lavrusik for a helpful Mashable piece about what the new pages mean for owners and users.)
This new idea involves converting the photos displayed on our Facebook page into promotional space to showcase various SPJ programs. The first series includes SPJ’s major communications vehicles so we can help our members and those who engage with us on Facebook (“Likers”?) stay connected with what we’re doing. Each photo includes a brief description of that topic with additional links for more information.
The idea behind this is to highlight other programs provided by SPJ each month, including those for ethics, professional development and freedom of information-related issues. Here is a sneak peek at our FOI pictures:
Coming up with the ideas for this little experiment was fun. After receiving an enthusiastic approval to pursue it from Communications Director and Quill Editor Scott Leadingham, I spent the following weekend developing different concept ideas for how to use the space. The two prototypes used for further expansion include the “Five-for-Five” series listed above and the “Windowpane” series that would conceptually use all five spaces to create one larger image. SPJ’s graphic designer, Tony Peterson, then worked to create the final versions for each series.
When it came time to test our first promotion with the “Windowpane” series, the results were disheartening. We quickly realized that even though page owners have control over what images are displayed on their wall, they do not have control over any consistent ordering of the photos. This is due to a randomization setting Facebook added to the fan page layout versus the average profile page.
Of course, that doesn’t mean we can’t show you what those design series would have looked like. Here is a glimpse at the final concept we had in mind for two different promotions:
Even though we weren’t able to use this technique, it was still vindicating to know the “Five-for-Five” series was invulnerable to the picture randomization setting.
Want to know more about the conversations, limitations and promises this new branding approach is shaping? See my personal blog on who else is experimenting with the new layout.
Andrew M. Scott (@PRMillennial) is the communications coordinator for SPJ Headquarters. He is a graduate of the University of Mississippi and an SPJ member since 2008.