This is our blog; our space to share articles, news, and previews of our exciting projects
The importance of Facebook cover photos to your image
Oh, the Facebook cover photo; that beautiful 851px by 315px picture at the top of everyone’s page. It’s the perfect place for an ad…except not. Facebook has placed guidelines on that prime real estate (see the screenshots below). But, we still think it’s a great place to showcase what you are all about. Here’s why.
Why you should utilize it
Let me start off with a dissection of sorts comparing Barack Obama’s cover photo to Mitt Romney’s. Look at the screen shots below, it seems as if one could not pick photos that are further apart on the political spectrum. Obama’s spotlights his laid-back, fun, family side. It shows that that’s his priority – and perfect timing for father’s day. He relates to us – the voters. However, Romney takes a different approach. He is untouchable; we are looking up to him as he and his wife show a united force to be reckoned with. Plus, you can’t get more patriotic than a massive American flag. Here we have a president showing that he’s a normal family guy like us, and a presidential candidate walking into the light as if he is answering the call of God. Now, you tell me, do pictures say a thousand words?
If that didn’t prove to you how a cover photo can shape the way people view you, then I’m not sure what will. However, I believe it does more to shape ones image than the profile picture or buttons you add to your page. Why? Because it’s the single most clear and central item on the timeline now. It’s more than a space for you to add your logo once again. By the time people get to your page, they know who you are. What they need to know now is what you are about and they can see that at first glance, which will lead them to either click the back button or scroll down to see more.
How to do it differently
At the moment, most pages have pictures of something they have accomplished, or the people they interact with. Most politicians have a picture of themselves. The Facebook and WAKA Kickball pages show their span of influence with the use of maps. But there are more things to do with it.
For one, you can include a page within your Facebook to let users pick their own cover photos for their profiles. You’re already making ones for your page, why not put them in a place for your supporters? That being said, keep the photos simple and without many words. You can also make your logo larger and bolder with a cover photo, or make frequent cover photos that track your next engagement so that followers can click on your page and find out immediately where you will be next.
However, your profile picture shows up on followers’ news feeds day in and day out, while your cover photo is only be seen if people click on you. That’s one big strike against paying much attention to choosing your cover photo, but look at Gzmodo and Jezebel. You’ll remember their cover photos when their profile pictures show up on your timeline because it is essentially one snippet of a larger picture. Their profile picture is a part of their cover photo. In addition, if you change your profile picture, people will click on it in curiosity to see if you changed your whole image on your page.
Now, let’s bookend this post and go back to Facebook’s guidelines. The rules are there to protect Facebook’s revenue from their ads. However, like a bad babysitter, they aren’t enforcing their rules. So, we’re going to give you this gem of advice: take advantage of that while you can. Looking at the AIDS Lifecycle, not only do they break the no URL rule, they also add an arrow, ask for donations, and have a call to action. Even with all of that, their cover photo isn’t obtrusive – it has two pictures that demand attention and show the start and end destinations of the ride. They manage to blatantly break the rules and look good doing it.
Meanwhile, Hulu and the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative try to avoid those pesky rules by using words like, “join” & “explore our timeline” instead of “like” or “share.” The CCHI also only has a rectangle in its cover photo, while the rest of the arrow finishes in the “Rockies tickets” box below – very cheeky and easy to do, no word on whether it actually breaks the rules of not. But, as long as Facebook is being lenient on their rules, go ahead and break them.
In the end...
Have fun with your cover photo. While there’s pressure to get it right for your image, no one has mastered the art of making their cover photo stand out above all others. That leaves a lot of room for exploring, so go start after you finish updating your status.
FULL DISCLOSURE: AIDS Lifecycle and the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative are both clients of ours.