Facebook Comment Photos: Worth 1,000 Words

Adding images to Facebook comments is a small change that can reap big rewards.

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While perusing news online Thursday morning, I saw the headline "Meet the Baby Liligers Born in a Russian Zoo" on Time's website. My head immediately flashed to one of my all-time favorite movies, Napoleon Dynamite, and the scene in which he shares with his new friend Pedro the name of his favorite animal: the liger. I also flashed to the geeked-out picture of said "mythical" creature Napoleon is drawing in that scene. The Time story, which included a picture of a real-life lion-tiger hybrid, was something I wanted to share on Facebook. If only I could have followed up with a comment that included an image of Napoleon's drawing ...

Now (or soon) I can. Facebook has recently revealed that users will be able to include images in comments, a feature built during a recent Facebook Hackathon.

In a Facebook post about the new feature, Facebook engineer Bob Baldwin said, "When I'm talking with a friend, sometimes showing a photo helps me tell a story much better than words alone. If we're hanging out in person, I can show a photo from my phone, but on Facebook I'd have to post a link to a photo. Now, you'll be able to attach a photo directly when posting a comment. I hope this will make threads with friends more expressive and engaging."

[ Social business drives other business. See the people who are doing it right. 10 Social Business Leaders For 2013. ]

The more I think about this feature, the more compelling I think it is. No, it's not a major update to Facebook by any means, but this new capability will make the user experience richer. Even if you are not a visual thinker by nature, we're becoming a much more visual society, and photos are an important way of telling -- and commenting on -- stories on social platforms.

I also think this new feature will be a very important for businesses leveraging Facebook for branding and sales. Think about any clothing retailer -- let's just say Old Navy. The marketing team posts an update inviting people to leave comments including photos of themselves in their coolest (literally and figuratively) summer outfits featuring Old Navy items. When people respond (and they will respond), someone from Old Navy comments on the comments with info on how to buy the items being shown. Maybe they also award a gift card to the most creative outfit.

The possibilities for engagement and potential revenue seem pretty high -- and wide open to pretty much any type of business.

I don't want to overstate the importance of this feature, but often it's the little things on social platforms that businesses can and should be taking advantage of to reap big rewards for little to no cost.

Has the new comments feature rolled out to you yet? How do you see it being used in business settings? Please let us know in the comments section below.

Follow Deb Donston-Miller on Twitter at @debdonston.

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