The ideas which strike you sometimes…
…well I was staring at my Facebook landing page for a while last night and got to thinking, hey, that Cover Image/Profile Image real estate could just very well be the next unchartered frontier for long-term audience engagement.
Well, specifically, I was contemplating the interchangeability of the Profile Image and how it might – with a bit of graphic design hocus-pocus – serve as a “missing piece” in a Cover Image latticework.
Of course, there would be that little dangling bit there towards its bottom, but a clever designer could likely paper over quickly, the image’s color blended into the “white space” immediately below in seconds.
That Profile Image could be shifted in and out – as needed – bearing critical information to discerning audiences and enticing them to return to your page often (works for Fan Pages, too) by actually clicking through by entering your Facebook URL in a browser, returning to see the next day’s, the next week’s, etc. hint or special offer (see below).
What sorts of goodies could you offer?
Guess the missing personality:
You could surgically extract sections of popular vistas from your shoot, getting fans and audience members to guess which parts of your image are missing.
If cover images are group shots, you could extract personalities from the lineup, getting fans and crew members to venture a guess as to who’s not there, offering up prizes to the winners. Start with constituencies you’re familiar with (eg. cast/crew), wading out slowly into your target audience as they eventually get up to speed with your film’s characters, plot, and locations.
Run time-delineated discounts off your film’s merchandise or DVDs/VODs.
The actual coupon code can be embedded right within the Profile Image. Once a deadline is reached, the code would no longer be valid. But the idea here is that users would absolutely have to return to your page to get the discount. The idea works marvelously for films which are objectively considered truly excellent with popular press attachments, for example. For mediocre films, I suspect, this method will do little to help gain additional traction.
You can outsource your Profile Image design to your community (read: crowdsourcing), soliciting them to submit their ideas for your Cover Image’s “missing link,” uploading only the best candidates. This can be a variable element and prizes can be awarded for the best submissions.
Fans can then “up-like” and “up-vote” the submissions, commenting right within the Profile Image’s page. Conduct this voting as a contest and encourage interconnections between fans right on the page, potentially increasing your Page’s likes and your site’s overall traffic.
Crowdsourcing ideas, in general:
Before you go mainstream with any well-considered graphical marketing idea, EPK attachment, or general promotional concept or strategy, you may consider floating them as Cover or Profile Images, just to see what your fans think. It could save you a whole lot of (scarce) marketing budget, shoring up potential problems as you make your way forward.
Annoying or inappropriate bits might be shot down by your following early, avoiding potential negative fallouts from cover art or imagery that doesn’t gel with your film’s overall brand image, at least according to your audience.
You may even think this is “dictatorship by the crowd,” but you’re making movies for them. Plus, filmmaking is only half about making your actual film, if we haven’t realized this yet by 2012…
NOTE: what I suggest above isn’t necessarily true in reverse. The roles of Cover and Profile Image aren’t necessarily swappable. Facebook Terms of Service (ToS) exclusively prohibit marketing or corporate/commercial solicitation in your Cover Image. But as it’s been expressed before by others in the know, the enforcement dragnet required to ensure something like this is actually complied with would be an administrative nightmare.
Like I said, these were just some of the ideas which came to mind as I suddenly looked at my Facebook landing page…with that level of flexibility, there just had to be a marketing option in the mix.
Let me know if I missed anything…
Adam Daniel Mezei, PMD | Producer of Marketing and Distribution
Indie Audience Engagement Services for Independent Feature Films and Documentaries
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