Now that brands have to ability to customize their Facebook Cover Photo, TV News outlets are starting to leverage this prominent piece of real estate to push their news brands – and so far most of the attempts are, well, lame.
Kim Wilson of the Social News Desk, has a post on Mashable that survey’s the TV Newsroom Facebook Photo Cover Landscape. The article points out that TV Newsrooms showcase either the News Team (group photo), the Main Anchors (at the news desk photo), the location (scenic photo), or technology (a photo of the news helicopter). This image from CTV Toronto is par for the course for Facebook News Cover Photos.
Ms. Wilson’s critique of the branded photos was gentle. She writes “It’s a great way to highlight the great lengths (or heights) news organizations go to for news coverage. But beware; these images lack a certain personal touch that fans desire.”
Let me be more blunt the branded photos being displayed are awful . Having worked in the local TV News space the shameless recycling of conventional tropes (such as the smiling anchor, the ready for action chopper) would be disheartening were it not for those same tropes being a source for Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert who blast those conventions with mocking delight.
The images in the article are awful for a simple reason they are examples of “shameless hucksterism.” Rather than leverage the Facebook Photo Cover as an opportunity to engage with their audiences these photos really are bad wallpaper.
Here are 2 things a TV News Departments could do:
1) Celebrate your Audience- Rather than push your brand to an audience, pull in your audience – Create a cross-channel photo contest where user submitted photos occupy the cover photo on a News stations Facebook page for a designated amount of time.
2) Humanize Your Talent – It is vital for Local TV News anchors and reporters to be seen as part their community. Leverage community orientated imagery – Have anchors and reporters take pictures of their pets or some of their favorite spots in city- anything besides the highly contrived images that litter the TV News marketing landscape.
“All covers are public. This means that anyone who visits your Page will be able to see your cover. Covers can’t be deceptive, misleading, or infringe on anyone else’s copyright. You may not encourage people to upload your cover to their personal timelines.
- 5 Ways TV Newsrooms Use the Facebook Cover Photo (mashable.com)
- Create an Instagram-filled Facebook profile cover with InstaCover (thenextweb.com)
- 7 Awesome Facebook Timeline Cover Photo Examples (mikejeffs.co.uk)
- Do not fear the newsroom: Tips for journalism interns (journomel.com)