Facebook Photos and Videos (Episode 59)

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By Marc Marty, Marc Marty | Podcaster, Speaker, and Educator. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Facebook Photos and Videos

Many of us in the law enforcement profession do not have the luxury of paying to promote our content on Facebook. If you stay on top of the latest news and info in social media, you’re probably aware that Facebook is a pay-to-play platform. In other words, whoever is paying the most to Facebook get’s more exposure in the timelines.

With that being said, you have to use every tactic and technique available to you when using Facebook to reach your community. One way to do that is through the use of photos and videos.

We strongly advocate using photos or videos in your posts. People are captivated by photos and video that interest them. If they are attached to a post, your content has a better chance of being read by your community.

The Right Way To Use Photos

We have found that when posting photos to Facebook from our mobile devices, they are automatically resized to fit a Facebook post. Rarely do we see photos that are not properly sized anymore. Remember the photo previews you would see, which were a 1/4 of the photo? Once you clicked on the photo and it expanded, only then were you able to see what the photo actually was about.

When we refer to using photos the right way, we’re talking about techniques such as focusing on the subject at hand while using only 1/3 of the focus grid, and slightly off center.

Now if you are running out of photos or don’t have a photo applicable to the topic you are posting about, consider using an infographic. Infographics are great ways to grab people’s attention.

Now if you are going to post a photo found on your computer or an infographic, there are a couple of different sizes you can find on various graphics about the topic. The one size we like to use is 1024 x 512 pixels. We have found this works great for Facebook and Twitter, which cuts down on creating another graphic for the Twitter platform as well.

Apps To Make Photos Great

There are several, several, photo apps available for download onto a mobile device, and plenty of websites out there offering more design tools for creating and editing photos. Of all of them out there, here are the ones we use almost on a daily basis:

Web-based Software

Canva - Easily create beautiful designs, documents, and social media graphics using Canvas drag-and-drop feature and professional layouts to design consistently stunning graphics.

PicMonkey - PicMonkey makes creative tools for photo editing and graphic design. You simply upload a photo and you can start improving its tone, remove blemishes, add text and use some cool layers.

RelayThat - This is the web-based software Mike mentioned in the podcast. You’ll love the fact you can drop your photos into the site, select which platform you are using, and the purpose of your creation and RelayThat will take care of the rest of the work for you.

Clipping Magic - Ever wonder how to remove the background from a photo? We used to use Adobe Fireworks, but since it is no longer made, we now use Clipping Magic. Surprisingly, we have found it to be easier and better than Fireworks.

Mobile-based Apps

Ripl - This phone based app allows you to use the photos on your phone, layer text over the photo, and even create a video slideshow with music for use on your social media platforms.

WordSwag - This is another mobile based app which allows you to overlay cool text over your photos and create awesome graphics.

Big Lens - This mobile based app allows you to blur portions of an image, such as license plates or children, in a photo. Highly recommended for law enforcement use.

Video on Facebook

Using video is a great way to reach your community, and if you load it directly into Facebook, they’ll reward you by giving you a little boost in your reach. Facebook wants to be king of video, and improved reach is their way of encouraging people to upload on their platform as opposed to on other platforms like Vimeo or YouTube.

Although it can be as simple as pressing the record button on your mobile device, to more advanced recording with boom microphones and LED lights, here are some tips to keep in mind for ALL videos produced by law enforcement:

  • Keep the camera steady. Use anything from a tripod to a suction cup window mount to keep your viewers from getting motion sickness.
  • Horrible audio will kill a beautiful video. Period. Make sure the background is quiet, and whoever is speaking on camera projects their voice clearly.
  • Because law enforcement operates in noisy environments (helicopters flying over an incident, command post generators, incoming unit sirens, etc.), you should have at minimum, one or two lavalier microphones.
  • Do not record with lighting, like a window, the sun, a patrol car with flashing lights, behind your subject. This will wash out the camera and it will be annoying to watch.

If you share a video from a different platform into Facebook, just realize it will only play within the Facebook platform when you access Facebook from a computer. If viewing Facebook from a smartphone, it will open up the corresponding app.

Video Software and Apps

Although we use Apple’s iMovie to create our larger videos requiring narration, we have found one product we really like to use both on our mobile devices and our computers.

Animoto is an amazing tool which allows you to simply drag and drop photos and videos, add text, and add music (from their library or yours) to create an amazing video.

Here is a video produced on the Azusa Police Department’s Facebook page thanking supporters who attended a recent Coffee With A Cop event. All of this was created within 20 minutes on Animoto.

We think the best part of Animoto is the access to their sound library. We never have to worry about copyright issues, which is a huge relief.

Something Special For You

In closing, here’s a special “nugget” we want to give our email subscribers. A nugget in the social media world refers to a special trick or hack.

Statistics show that Facebook is viewed more on a mobile device than a desktop computer. With that in mind, you should make the best effort to ensure your platform is tailored for mobile users, every chance you get.

The main header photo at the top of your Facebook page is commonly known as the cover photo. To ensure that the photo looks great and does not get stretched, cut off, or has too much pixelation, the ideal dimensions are 851px X 315px. However, there’s a slight problem with this Facebook-recommended size.

When you visit your page from a mobile device, you will quickly see that photos posted at 851px X 315px are cut-off. For some reason, Facebook does not make this photo responsive, and therefore, your photo will not look the same when viewed on a desktop vs. a mobile device.

To get around this, create a photo using the dimensions of 828px X 465px. You can now add text to the photo without worrying about it being cut-off and unreadable on a mobile device.

One flaw we found with this work around is that although the photo might be vertically centered on the desktop view, you’ll see more vertical space on the mobile app.

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