Virtual tours and 360 degree photos are an essential part of business marketing. Every day they convince website users to become real customers - to book a table, to stay in a hotel, to drive to your showroom or visit your shop etc.
We're really excited about Virtual Tours and 360 degree photography but until today, there's never been an easy way to post 360 photos to your Facebook page.
Today, Facebook launched 360 Photos and for the first time, you can easily post and share 360 degree photos on Facebook.
To add a 360 photo to Facebook, simply photograph a panorama with your phone and add it to your post like any normal image. Facebook will do the clever behind-the-scenes stuff and convert it to an immersive 360 photo.
If you'd rather have a professional photograph your location, you can comission them to do the photography bit and supply you with the photo you need to publish yourself.
Traditionally, your Virtual Tour photos have been hidden away on your website and not front and center on social media where - let's face it - todays audience are more likely to be interacting and engaging with brands.
Peter Knight - The 360 Company
On a desktop browser, that means your audience can explore the photo in Facebook by using a mouse and keyboard. On a mobile device the experience is even better (IMHO) and you can look around the Facebook 360 Photo by panning with your phone left/right etc. It really is an great way to experience a location.
Facebooks new 360 Photo format isn't just great news for photographers and the virtual tour industry. They're a great opportunity for businesses and social media managers to add engaging photos to their timelines. Furthemore, by combining a 360 Photo with Facebook's native "share" and "like" buttons, 360 Photos on Facebook are a great opportunity for businesses to promote their photos to a much wider audience and promote their brand, business or venue.
We'll do it for you
If you don't fancy taking photos yourself or photography isn't one of your core talents, you can hire us to photograph and produce the photos for you. As professional photographers, we can guarantee the highest quality production values. The image quality will be much much higher than photos you might take from mobile devices.
At the end of the process, we'll provide you with a beautifully photographed and produced photo which you can upload to Facebook yourself.
There are no techy bits or fiddly file formats - you simply upload the photo to your Facebook page like any normal photo and you're done!
Re-use your existing 360 degree photos
Facebook's 360 photos are a new development but many of our existing clients already have virtual tours on their websites and are wondering how to get those onto Facebook.
The good news is, if you've commissioned us to produce a Virtual Tour in the past, simply email us and we'll get you the photo you need.
Facebook 360 Updates
I've started logging some of the more interesting updates to Facebook's 360 Photo feature.
November 2016 - Improvements to user experience
Facebook have added a nice feature to 360 Photos appearing on timelines which I think greatly improves the user experience. On a desktop, when you mouse over a 360 Photo, the image will move slightly. The slight movement of the photo as it follows the users mouse provides just enough of a visual clue to a user that a photo is interactive and 360 degrees rather than a standard or static photograph.
October 2016 - Initial View
Another nice update launched today by the Facebook 360 team. When you upload a 360 degree image, you can now set the 'initial view' for that photo. Normally a 360 photographs initial view will be the center of an image as determined by your photographer. But there are occasions where you may want to focus on another part of the 360 view.
To change the view, simply upload a 360 photo, then, before posting, move your photo around by dragging with your finger or select Edit on desktop and move the mouse until you've reached the desired view.
Caitlin Ramrakha - Product Marketing Manager, Facebook 360