The Facebook Page Cover Challenge

FOREWARD
In the short time that most of us have become aware of the need to make changes to our facebook (business) pages, some very interesting page covers have emerged. I would like to show some of them throughout this post and describe what I feel works or might work better in each case. Please let me know what you think, about the examples and about my comments.

https://www.facebook.com/help/?faq=276329115767498

Facebook Help: How should I choose a cover photo for my Page? @ facebook.com

INTRODUCTION

The word went out. Facebook was carrying its new timelines format from personal profiles over to the professional side. All (business) pages were going to not only have timelines but other MAJOR CHANGES would be taking place.

I can just imagine how this all took place. It is apparent even to this amateur detective that there were parties who were privy to this information long before the public became aware of this terrifying transformation to take place this past March.

On the downside, there would be no more default pages that allowed for potential customers to go directly to a landing page, sign up for an offer and begin the slide down the Inbound Marketing funnel. But on the plus side and best of all, in my opinion, would be massive billboard size ‘page covers’ ready for branding one’s business.

The CocaCola cover page

The CocaCola page cover from a Social Media Examiner blog post (credited below). This page was online way before the March 30th deadline. CocaCola knew. They knew what to do and they obviously have an in-house design department or marketing agency on retainer. Clearly,'Life is Still Better with Coke', without saying a word. The small icon has the traditional and world famous original glass bottle image with bubbles that bubble up with dreams of the better life with Coke.


WHO KNEW WHEN

Clearly, companies like Lujure and Constant Contact, not to mention many others less well known to me, had to know what was a foot long before the public announcement that everyone would be required to use the new format by the end of March. The webinars given by the likes of Amy Porterfield, Mari Smith, Nathan Latka and facebook itself indicates to me that many corporations and social media evangelists had considerably more time to prepare than a pedestrian facebook user like myself.

But I suspect that some companies were turned upside down having to scramble in typical Steve Job’s Apple time to accomplish the impossible because it was just a matter of working harder as he would insist to his staff. What clued me in was how early in March some of the major corporate brands were showing off their spectacular new designs.

The Ben & Jerry Ice Cream page cover

The Ben & Jerry facebook page cover @ Ben & Jerry is about as close to perfect as anything I think that facebook had in mind for this project. The only words are in the icon. The rest is the pastoral scene of contented cows that love to have their milk made into Ben & Jerry's ice cream. The style of the scene is folkart-ish, old fashioned. The subliminal message is that their ice cream is made the traditional, old-fashion delicious way. This image was found on a Social Media Examiner blog post.

A GRAPHIC DESIGNER’S DREAM

I was relieved. No more five-frame images that I could never get to stay in place. My company header looked like scrambled eggs rather than the banner it was meant to be. So when I learned that the new page covers would measure 851 pixels wide by 315 high with a postage stamp size area for the company’s logo or other icon, I was in Photoshop heaven.

Can Bloggers be Journalists?

'Can Blogger Be Journalists? Are Journalists Still Journalist When They Blog a Story?' These words appear to be carved in stone and relate to a case in a State Supreme Court where the Judge deemed that bloggers are NOT journalists. Other states realize that the medium is not the determining factor for credentials and qualifications to be a journalist. To emphasize the point, I have used my press pass in the icon square. How successful do you think this page cover is? What do you like or dislike about it? Do you know about this court case? What do you think? Can bloggers be journalists, too?

OK FOR FACEBOOK BUT NOT PINTEREST

Since I have about 20 facebook pages, divided up into a variety of categories, I immediately set about making my new page cover designs distinguishing them by the various categories. I had plenty of old artwork from a half dozen or so previous enterprises that I was proudly displayed as pages.

The page covers  are okay. Some are even not half bad. But once I pinned them to Pinterest, they plopped. There was no discernable diversity. They looked boring pinned next to each other. In addition to that failure, some very kind and helpful Internet colleagues started alerting me to the very clear and concise restrictions facebook was placing on what was and what was NOT allowed to be on these page covers.

What did not look bad as individual page covers looks terrible as neighboring pins on Pinterest.

What did not look bad as individual page covers looks terrible as neighboring pins on Pinterest. @ Pinterest.com/AlisonsArt These are all page covers that I designed for a variety of my page categories for my numerous facebook pages. I followed the facebook guidelines and each looks okay on its own page. But they sure look boring together. Something to think about.

BEWARE OF BILLBOARD-ITIS

There are to be no billboards, no ads, no discounts, no calls to action, no URLs, no, no, no. So what is allowed? What is the Y-E-S? This is where many people shuddered, shouted, even screamed. My guess is that many people, who had created high tech facebook pages with apps for all kinds of tabs, were in a pickle. The programming part was not going to be much of a problem for them. But something else was, and it was a big BUT.

Now there would be a need to come up with something that fit within guidelines that were not typical of social media. This is usually a discipline that is code driven rather than driven by visual creativity, at least before Pinterest.

Bear's Cake Kitchen facebook page cover

Bears cake Kitchen facebook page cover @ Bears cake Kitchen had an adorable, colorful cake picture in its icon square. What is that in the billboard area? Personally, I would have rather seen the colorful cake blown up really big to fit into the billboard. Then their logo could have gone in the icon. I am sure the cupcakes taste delicious but to me, the dark colors and lavender icing are not appetizing. Too bad. This could have been and still can be a great page cover.

WE ALL NEED HELP

Facebook’s changes would provide plenty of chances for programmers and designers to help each other out. Opportunities for exchanges, barters and other compensations would be all around us. So how was one to go about building a billboard size page cover without using this spacious real estate like a billboard? It would indeed require the creativity of a seasoned graphic designer, branding expert and marketing maven.

HyperArts fantastic page cover. I love how the icon fits right into the design.

HyperArts fantastic page cover. I love how the icon fits right into the design. From the facebook page @ HyperArts and found on a Social Media Examiner Blog post. I have one question about the white type on the field of orange. How would their brand hold up to the elimination of the type, the repositioning of it, or perhaps just less of it? I'd love to see HyperArts in the right hand bottom corner with Hyper at a right angle to Arts or HyperArts at a right angle to Web Design. What do you think?

BRANDING HAS ITS DAY

To capture the essence of a company without spelling it out is a real challenge in the design world and even more so for the word bound world of the Internet and trendy, texting generation. Companies with design departments or design firms on retainer that understand the subtleties of what the facebook challenge is about would manage. To me, this is a designer’s dream come true. It is a chance to do some real design work amidst a world of coding, programming and ‘drag and drop’ programs. They are all indispensable but designers have moved very far into the background lately.

The Business Corners facebook page cover

The Business Corners facebook page cover @ The Business Corners. This page cover is a hybrid combining the original 5 panel design at the top into the new larger billboard size. Notice how most of the space is black while the images take up a small amount of room at the top. Do you think this works well? How would this look without the images and have the entire field black except for the slogan 'Space to . . . Connect Create Collaborate. The logo does not have to appear again as it is in the icon. What if the icon were also black with the letters in white like it is in the large black space? This would leave to the imagination what 'space to connect, create, and collaborate' might look like.

BUT NOT FOR ALL

Granted there would be the clip art programs and do-it-yourself apps with temptingly affordable templates that many would and will still need to turn to. But there are also be those who understand the intrinsic value of facebook’s challenge. It requires a design with the whisper, not a shout of explitives, the subtle expression of a company expressing its brand, its mission and passion in a subliminal rather than literal way.

How many have and will continue to rise to this facebook page cover challenge? What are some of your favorite new facebook page covers? How do you feel about the changes facebook has made in this area?

AUTHOR:

Alison Gilbert is the Digital Age Storyteller. She is a regular contributing author to DBME, writes The Marketing Byte Blog and is The New York Graphic Design Examiner. Alison is the owner of MARKETING BYTES Solutions 4 Local Biz. Located on Long Island, New York, MARKETING BYTES serves clients virtually everywhere.

Their boutique style – very personal service – hybrid company specializes in helping local/small biz generate sales leads by transitioning from traditional advertising to online marketing. Contact MARKETING BYTES at info@marketingbytes.biz or call 516-665-9034 ET

VIDEO RESOURCES:

5 Tips To Easily and Quickly Set up Your Facebook Fanpage- Business Page FREE!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GaW8Unl550

New Facebook Fan Page Timeline Changes Your Business Needs To Know

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGPEVcLrCwc

How to create a Facebook cover for the new Timeline profile.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nwb9it9ATqw&hd=1

New *Facebook Fan Page Timeline* Design Coming March 30

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mdPshVbXfs&hd=1

Cover Photo Design & Facebook Timeline Branding

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qg0LoAbguww&hd=1

Facebook Fan Pages Timeline

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0HIxQ3NTcKk&hd=1

Facebook New Timeline Design For Pages – Walk Through

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZoz7B-4nXM&hd=1

Introducing the New Facebook Brand Pages With Timeline Design

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wgG9SO3ceY

Cool Facebook Timeline Cover Page designs at http://www.coverdoodle.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHuWlGTmYwA&hd=1

Facebook business page, Facebook timeline design, generate business

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13vbgfJOZbU&hd=1

Facebook Timeline For Brands Facebook Timeline Business Pages And Fan Page Timelines Rock!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNVPTX9RHhU&hd=1

Introducing the New Facebook Brand Pages With Timeline Design

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wgG9SO3ceY

Facebook Timeline for Brands – Demo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kF_yAOHV80I

How To Create Pro Facebook Timeline Cover

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-bhngn3h6A&hd=1

5 Tips for Fantastic Facebook Fan Page Cover Pics

http://prezi.com/dgfa3fwsiroy/5-tips-for-fantastic-facebook-fan-page-cover-pics/


BLOG RESOURCES:

The Treacherous Trip from Leopard to Lion: A Digital Fable

HOW IT ALL BEGAN
About a month ago, I awoke to find that I could no longer view videos on my computer. Was it a nightmare or was I really awake to this horror. I would receive indications on e-mails, on social media comments, on blog posts, it seemed like everywhere. The reason I knew they were videos hidden from sight was because I was constantly plagued by the sign of the black rectangle.

MAC OS X Leopard

A MAC OS X Leopard Logo © bloggism.net

NO VIDEO
Often there was a chilling warning, taunting me in written in bold letters across the rectangular black void, as if I had committed the terrible sin because my Flash player was out of date. The feeling of commencing a treacherous journey, one I had taken before, began to overshadow me. The difference from other times was that this time I was surrounded by nothing but black, rectangular mine fields. Friends would say to me, “Oh did you see that video I sent you?” and I would have to answer in the negative, confessing that I had not.

TECHNICALLY INFERIOR
It had become quite embarrassing, almost humiliating. I was functioning at a technical level lower than and inferior to just about everyone. How did it happen? And literally over night, too? I went from being a Steve Job’s products devotee to being an Apple flunky. The was my biggest humiliation. Most of the people who questioned me were ardent PC users, not even MAC loyalists. And I, the great proponent of Apple superiority, was having to admit that I could NOT even view videos. The black rectangle loomed larger and larger like a scarlet letter.

OUTDATED FLASH PLAYER
It got to the point where I could not take it any more. Every time I attempted to open a video, I got the message that the Flash Player I was using was out of date and that I needed to download a higher version. No biggie to them, the messengers inside my computer. But for me, it was mortifying. It was as if I was being told to run as fast everyone else but I had a broken leg. “I am going as fast as I can”, I found myself shouting back at the Flash message every time it appeared. It got to the point where I had to admit, even to myself, ‘I can’t do this anymore. I have gone as fast and as far as I can with my Leopard. It is outdated and I can not use the higher level of Flash. I surrender. The black triangle has won’.

MY LEOPARD HAD FAILED ME
The Leopard, that had been my faithful digital companion for over five years, finally had failed me. I had no choice but to go to the Lions. Somehow though, the pain I had already suffered made this transition, as treacherous as I knew it would be, less daunting since I had experienced similar trips in the past.

GONE FOREVER
The address books, the years of methodical bookmarking and endless organizational hours would all have to go down the drain. “Wait a minute”, one might say. “Can’t you ‘migrate’ these things from your Leopard to your new Lion?” Once again, the blushing humiliation set it. “No, you can not”, the MAC salesman confessed. My 10.4.11 Leopard was just too old to do any of the necessary tricks to make the leap to a 10.7.2 Lion. Nothing less than a complete start over would suffice.

A MAC LION OS X logo

A MAC LION OS X logo © guardian.co.uk

IN CONCLUSION
So here I am, three days after purchase, in the midst of my safari. Yes, perhaps one might consider me brave or perhaps a fool. But I am still porting from Leopard to Lion.

POST SCRIRT
By the way, if you  have been through this nightmare and have any suggestions, tips or similar stories, please let me know. Just contact me through the comments section at the end of this story.

SOURCES:

Apple – OS X Lion – The world’s most advanced OS.
Upgrade Mac OS X to Leopard
Flash Player Version

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Lessons I’ve Learned from Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs on the Cover of TIME © Cult of Mac

Steve Jobs on the Cover of TIME © Cult of Mac

INTRODUCTION
Steve Jobs was an icon of the personal computer industry. In my opinion, there is only one other living human being who could equal or rival his celebrity status. That person is Bill Gates.

Their lives had many similarities and some differences. They both were brilliant. They both started their businesses several years after leaving college. They did not consider a college education tantamount to their success. They both grew up on the West Coast. Jobs took a class in calligraphy at Reed College that he said inspired him later as the multiple fonts and word spacing (kerning) manifested themselves in the Macintosh.

Steve and Bill © Wikipedia

Steve Jobs and Bill Gates © Wikipedia

 

But there were also the differences between them. As extraordinary as they both were as showmen and business titans, Steve was all about perfection and aesthetics never compromising for profit. Bill Gates was very focused on profit and simplicity of code. He has since been able to relinquished his throne to go on to global-community service. He last wrote his last lines of code in 1989. Steve battled through a liver transplant and pancreatic cancer while holding aloft the mantle of the brand for his firm, relinquishing the stewardship of it only when his health failed him. It was no more than a matter of six weeks between his resignation and passing.

Because I am an author with the Digital Brand Marketing Education Blog, I would like to focus my lessons learned from Steve Jobs on these four topics, Digital, Branding, Marketing, and Education.

Apple Logos © Wikipedia

Apple Logos © Wikipedia

DIGITAL
Before the invention of the personal computer that Steve Jobs presented in his usual fanfare, pulling it by the handle out of a gym bag, mainframe computers took up entire rooms. The idea of a personal computer on every desk and in every home was viewed as preposterous if not impossible.

Apple I © Wikipedia

Apple I © Wikipedia

Steve acquired the original mouse technology from Xerox who could not commercialize on it but in an agreement let their engineers work with Apple in return for IPO offerings when it became commercial. The “GUI” (graphical user interface) allowed the development of graphics, images, and multiple fonts. It was the essential element that allowed the transition from a totally code and programmer based system to a user-friendly system. His team created the initial software and then other companies jumped on the bandwagon.

His leadership fostered a creative environment that let the team negotiate, innovate and create with a high standard.

The First Macintosh 1984 © Wikipedia

The First Macintosh 1984 © Wikipedia

Bill Gates was primarily a software man learning early on that he preferred more pedestrian, affordable PCs in contrast to the ‘elegant’ devices of Apple and then Macintosh. Bill’s goal was to mass-market software and for a while Microsoft was the proprietary software on all PCs. In contrast, Steve Jobs computers were and are geared to the connoisseurs in the industry.

BRANDING
Over time, the two companies did become more similar. With Windows, Microsoft adopted the more obvious mechanisms of the Mac, the mouse, and the programs in PC version and now Macs use the Intel processor. But Steve was the master of the brand. His mantra was perfection.

The Macintosh II © Wikipedia

The Macintosh II © Wikipedia

He would not let a product emerge from his laboratory into the public domain until he felt it had reached absolute perfection. The quality control with parts suppliers is one example. Perhaps this was a drain on his health compared to his, at least seemingly more laid back adversary, Mr. Gates. His interest was quantity over the level of quality that Jobs demanded without compromise. One wonders where Apple will be headed without Jobs. Microsoft seems unfettered by the resignation of Gates.

MARKETING
Jobs was a master at marketing. Just the mere rumor and then word of the emergence of a new or newer model of a product sent the Mac devotees to the stores where they would often camp out over night to be the first ‘kid on the block’ to have the latest version of whatever it was.

Apple Aficionados Wait in Line © Wikipedia

Apple Aficionados Wait in Line © Wikipedia

The presentations of his latest products were also impeccable examples of marketing and promotion. One year Ridley Scott, now a famed film and TV producer, was brought on board to create a memorable, even shocking Macintosh Super Bowl commercial. No one who has ever seen it will forget it.

When generations of the various Macs were born in irresistible, candy colored variations, potential consumers were tempted to not only purchase these mechanical wonders but agonized over which day-glow color to buy. That would be a major problem for me. I would want one in each color. Jobs combined perfection of design, streamlined elegance and hot colors.

1984, Superbowl XVIII Commercial  © Wikipedia

'1984' Superbowl XVIII Commercial © Wikipedia

EDUCATION
Have you ever wondered why school systems buy and use Macs? If one is a student, there are special reduced price versions of the programs available and discounts on the computers themselves. What does that say about the quality of a Mac over a PC? I feel there is no more evidence necessary that ‘the proof is in the pudding’. Educational systems throughout the country chose to have their students learn on Macs, not PCs. They may have had to settle for PCs when their families both them their own. But the educational system provided only the best and most reliable quality control.

The iMac G3 1998 © Wikipedia

The iMac G3 1998 © Wikipedia

Steve Jobs has left an indelible mark on the world of technology and design. Much has been written about him before and since his passing. This post is but a peek at one small part of the universe he occupied. For me, his example showed there are some valuable lessons to be learned in Digital Brand Marketing Education.

SOURCES

What I learned from Steve Jobs by Guy Kawasaki

This Week’s Issue Of Time Magazine Has Steve Jobs On The Cover And The Story Behind His Upcoming Bio

The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs: One Last Thing; R.I.P Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs on Wikipedia

Apple Computer on Wikipedia

Macintosh Computer on Wikipedia

Bill Gates on Wikipedia

The iMac 2007 © Wikipedia

The iMac 2007 © Wikipedia

Hype @ Apple

hypelogo

When I first read Steve Jobs Thoughts on Flash I knew something was up. It seemed so strange that after years of diplomatic relations between Apple and Adobe – Steve Jobs was bashing one of Adobe’s most popular products and listing reason after reason as to why users won’t see Flash on Iphones and Ipads. That’s not to say that Jobs didn’t make some valid points, but the entire essay struck me as a bit odd. Could Apple be working on software that could eventually replace Flash?

“That’s crazy talk”, I thought to myself. Apparently I wasn’t too far from the mark.

Enter: Apple Hype

Offering many of the familiar interface elements that Adobe Flash has been providing, Hype is a new HTML5 animation builder and authoring tool.
This recently released app available exclusively through the Mac App store at a fairly affordable price of $29.99 USD (much cheaper than Adobe Flash) and is focused on encompassing the HTML5 formats that can include CSS3, HTML5 tags, and even the latest in Javascript technologies.

The Good News

Fortunately for those who already have some background in Flash, learning Hype may not be all that difficult. Although their graphical user interface is laid out in a different manner, the basic components remain the same.
Most developers are huge fans of drag-and-drop working function and will not be disappointed with Hype in this manner either. Users can drag:

• Images
• Vector Art
• Videos

And just about any object onto the creation stage and begin to animate them by utilizing key frames. Hype also has a fairly nifty record feature. In this manner, developers can quickly create ‘dry runs’ on freshly created animations to find out if they will work through the entire progression of a script. Oneof the big ways Hype separates itself from Adobe Flash is that instead of using a proprietary file type, the animations created in Hype can be converted into a JavaScript and CSS based animation. Say goodbye to those annoying “you must download and install the latest version of the Adobe Flash Player to view this content” messages.

Hype does offer a fair share of default elements such as text boxes, buttons, and other elements that are readily available to add to your animations. To create even more complex forms of animations Hype users will also be able to utilize scenes to break up the content, allowing developers to create their own transitions. The programs Flash-like IDE does make creating animations much easier.
So easy in fact, that even the most basic user can likely download their own copy, research the introduction movie and check out their tool bars, and create their own basic animation in a matter of minutes.
The Not So Good News

Despite excessive amounts of claims, Hype does not actually generate HTML5. Instead, it generates CSS, HTML4 and JavaScript. Hype also shows a distinctive lack of canvas elements nor does it use any of the newest APIs. However, this shouldn’t take away from what it is proficient at.
Ironically, because Hype doesn’t utilize a history API, and due to the manner in which the documents are embedded into the page, Hype disables the browsers back button. This is unfortunately not even necessary, with the support of the History API, this most important element of web browsing would remain functional.

Embedding simple Hype animations may require a bit of tweaking or alteration but it can be done. It isn’t that hard to do, but it will mean fishing into the code, which seems in a great part to defeat the purpose of Hype itself.
Only time will tell how much this program will be of benefit, and to whom.

Sources:

Steve Jobs Thoughts on Flash

Apple Engineers Create Hype

Hype Animates the Web

Build Animations in HTML5 with Hype

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