Paint your social networks with pictures

Facebook is updating itself. Again.

Tomorrow, Mark Zuckerberg will address press at the company’s San Francisco headquarters to debut some changes to the company’s News Feed – one of the most important parts of the site.

Facebook makes plenty of other changes to the sharing ecosystem, but it rarely touches the News Feed and with good reason. It’s the main way users can stay updated with their friends’ activities, and it’s rightly never messed with.

Early reports indicate we’re going to see some improvements to the way we can filter content, along with an integration with Instagram. IF so, it would be the first time the social network has joined the site up with the photo sharing service it bought last year for $US1 billion.

Such a change would mean big things for the News Feed. Users would be able to view a much more photo-centric News Feed.

And that means the way you share content on Facebook needs to change.

If you were to check your Facebook page, I’d make a wager the most popular posts you make have something to do with a picture being attached. It’s something Facebook discovered quite early on – the ability to share photos made the site super popular. It’s most likely responsible for rocketing the site’s success to its current state.

Pictures are easy to digest, easy to share, and easy to sift through. The problem is finding a way to combine the type of content you want to share with your customers in an easily digestible format.

Because here’s the main point a lot of businesses forget when it comes to sharing on social media: people don’t actually want to read. They want to watch.

Go through some of the Facebook pages for major companies in Australia, especially online retailers. You won’t find slabs of text, you’ll see pictures. They’re big, bright and colourful. They might be funny, or have an important message.

I’d bet good money most businesses aren’t following that strategy. And yet, you ought to be. Because if the rumours are anything to go by, Facebook is going to make pictures a lot more prominent. If your pictures aren’t up to scratch, you’re going to be lost in the fray.

Even if Facebook doesn’t announce an update for sharing pictures, this is something you need to get on straight away.

Don’t believe me? Make some posts with pictures, and check your metrics. It’s a good bet it’ll be shared more often. More shares gets your company more attention.

So your challenge is figuring out how to combine the smart, informative content you already have on your Facebook page with snazzy, appropriate pictures; because in social networking, a picture is most definitely worth a thousand words.

You can follow Patrick Stafford on Twitter @pdstafford.

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