360 photos

Facebook 360 Photos: The New Frontier of Hyper-Engaging Content

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Within the last year, we’ve seen a bunch of efforts made to increase the engage-ability of social media content. Perhaps most notably among these has been Facebook’s 360 video introduction, which has indisputably raised the bar for what is now considered “hyper-engaging” content. That is, until now. Earlier this month, Facebook took their newfound interest in fostering hyper-engaging content to a new, and arguably even more revolutionary, level. While not necessarily more technological demanding, Facebook 360 photos offer a wider and more practical range of possibilities for brands and individual users alike!

Why This Is Even Better Than 360 Video

When it comes to engaging content, we all have a pretty good idea of what can work and what most likely won’t. Clean and captivating still images (with minimal text overlay, of course!), hilarious or poignant GIFs, and the elusive, yet inspiring cinemagraph can all prove truly compelling pieces of content for our audiences. Today’s social climate, however, has a few tricks up its sleeve, and a couple of them are poised to really blow the roof right off engaging content as we know it. We’re talking, of course, about the advent of Facebook’s groundbreaking 360 videos and 360 photos.

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Facebook 360 Video v. Facebook 360 Photos

But how can we utilize these new capabilities in exciting and stimulating ways for our audiences? And what, if any, differences exist that would lead us to choose one over the other? Well, the possibilities are vast, to say the least, but there are some very important distinctions between the functionality of the 360 videos and their motionless counterparts that might actually prompt brands to opt for the latter. While 360 video may initially strike one as the pinnacle of hyper-engaging content types, there’s more to consider than just the final product, as experienced by your audience. At first glance (no pun intended), you might think that the immersive nature of 360 video would trump all else, but let us give you a few things to think about. First, the equipment and software necessary to capture and render 360 video footage is as expensive as the process is tedious. Second, just like a still image is more readily consumable than a video clip, so too is a 360 photo more quickly digestible than a 360 video, meaning your audience won’t have to devote as much time to appreciating the amazingly hyper-engaging content that you’ve created for them. And, finally, you can even encourage your audience members to participate in the conversation with their own 360 Facebook photos, because all it takes is a smartphone and a FB account to create and upload one. You likely won’t get a lot of activity around a call to action that urges your audience to create and share 360 video on Facebook.

In short, Facebook 360 photos are both more easily consumed and more easily created, yet, by taking the conventional frames of an image and drastically expanding them, they still convey a truly hyper-engaging experience for your audiences.

How Brands Have Implemented 360 Photos

Sometimes, when your product is any bigger than a handheld item, or your brand offers a service that isn’t easily photographable, your run-of-the-mill product photograph or UGC-style images are simply not going to cut it. Offering your audience a more continuous visual idea of what your brand is all about will help them wrap their own heads around it, and you’ll also find that it’s just really cool, too! From universities that have entire campuses to show off, to major new sources that have whole cities, states, or countries to explore, and even live events where tens, or hundreds, of thousands of people are gathered to celebrate (say, Sir Paul McCartney), a quickly captured 360 photo can allow folks who weren’t there themselves to feel nearly as if they were.

Show, Don’t Tell

Similarly, there’s the common belief, involving the spinning of a quality story, of showing, rather than telling, your audience what’s happening. Well, when the options are to take the millionth picture of your new smartphone, or to show your audience all of the beautiful and thrilling places to which your new smartphone can accompany you, the latter stands a far better chance of jarring them loose from their stagnation. Another beautiful photo of a centuries old university building might attract some attention, but not as much as a 360 tour of the interior of one of its most immaculate rooms! And a still image of McCartney playing Maybe I’m Amazed to a sold out crowd just cannot physically (never mind emotionally) capture the magnitude of that moment like a 360 panorama can. Everyone gets a little sentimental when they see a shot of the NYC skyline, even if it’s just vicariously, but being able to sweep across the entire city as if you were on the back of a great winged beast soaring over the skyscrapers… Well, that’s hard to top!

How Brands Can Innovate with 360 Photos

In the same way that standard photography is generally limited only by one’s own imagination, so too is this the case for 360 Facebook photos, except that they also manage to shed the limitations of conventional photography (i.e., the frames). So, what can your brand do with this even freer form of the longstanding leader in modern media? Well, we couldn’t even begin to start listing options for you, without making this post begin to look like a phonebook or an encyclopedia, anyway. We do, however, urge you to extrapolate your imaginations, and to transfer that which you conceive of as possible through a standard photographic medium into the unrestricted medium of Facebook’s 360 photos.

Turn your products, your facilities, and your very brand identities inside out by exposing the expanse of your best content in a fluid and utterly hyper-engaging way. There is virtually no wrong way to implement 360 Facebook photos, so long as they serve to enhance your audience’s ability to appreciate your content, and, thus, your brand.

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