Just when you thought Facebook couldn’t get any better when it comes to establishing an active online presence, the social networking giant also introduced a new look where, aside from a profile photo, a bigger space was created to give brands a chance to be more visible and creative—the cover photo.
Companies big and small have taken advantage of the cover photo to display powerful images aimed at attracting a bigger clientele. In fact, many of them extra-glamorized their cover photos with chunks of texts in an attempt to catch their audience’s attention. And they did—sort of.
The thing is, Facebook addressed this overkill by imposing restrictions on how cover photos should be like text-wise. But despite these rules, the power of cover photos did not diminish and can still be seen as one of the strongest features of Facebook thus far.
How to create an effective cover photo
You too could also be looking at the opportunity of making your business prosper using this particular social media bit. If you are, here are five effective ways you can make your cover photo look great, as well as some existing ideas you can get motivation from.
1. Start with a great idea.
This task is easier said than done. Sometimes, original ideas are hard to come by and seeing other brands (e.g. your competitors) execute one great idea after another only makes this job harder. But before you resort to ripping off a really nice concept, you have to know that there are other ways for you to have a remarkable Facebook page.
Your Facebook cover photo may not be the center of your business’s universe but it can also make or break its image. So if you’re finding it hard to come up with a satisfactory concept, take a break from brainstorming and research instead.
Check out the pages of the most popular brands in the industry you share and take note of the elements that make theirs eye-catching and effective. After studying these, incorporate the strongest points that suit your brand.
2. Customize your design according to your brand.
First impressions may not last forever but they sure last long enough for your customers to decide whether they like your brand. This is why it’s very important that you put a lot of thought to your Facebook’s cover photo. After all, it’s the first thing your customers see when they visit your Facebook page.
Keep in mind that the “best” photo in your hard drive may not be the “best” for your customers—that is, it might not be the photo which will compel them to hit the Like and Follow buttons. So before you settle for just any picture, consider staging a photo shoot where you can convey your brand’s message in a powerful shot. You can also hire an excellent graphic artist and let him or her design a visually powerful image.
Whichever way you’ll go for, make sure that your design incorporates the elements of your brand (e.g. colors, fonts, shapes) and that you will end up with something that communicates your label effectively.
Another thing you must remember is that cover photos do not merely function as your Facebook’s frontage. A really good photo combined with an appealing call to action can advance your business’s marketing mission. By simply linking your cover photo to, say an entry form to a contest or a page where customers can make a donation, you can increase your chances of promoting your products and making a sale.
3. Strike a balance.
You have probably heard of the adage that a photo speaks a thousand words; this is true. A picture does not need a single character to share a message—it just needs to be really focused and good.
So while you’re still in the conceptualization process, do your best (or ask your photographer/artist to do it) to balance all the elements you want in the photo. Discerning customers notice the littlest of details and they’re a significant part of the audience you want to please and retain. They might be turned off with detail you supposed were pretty but doesn’t really work with them.
A tried-and-tested rule is to try to minimize the use of text if your photo is already as forward as it can get. If you must include text, place it where it doesn’t get in the way of the picture’s best angles, or put it in the description box instead. You should also consider leaving a decent amount of white space, so that your photo doesn’t come off as an eyesore.
4. Mind the borderline.
You might have seen cover photos that were too close to the border of the frame that worked but it doesn’t mean it’s a one-size-fits-all plan. What’s effective for others might not work for you and so you should pay attention the border where yours will be.
For your Facebook page to maintain a composed appearance, try uploading an image that doesn’t take the entire space. You should also leave a margin between 50 and 60 pixels to ensure that your photo doesn’t spill over.
Also note the placement of your profile picture. Make sure that your cover photo maintains a space for it, for an overall balanced look and feel.
5. Think outside the box.
Since your cover and profile photos overlap somehow, you could do with a little more creativity by connecting them to compose a bigger picture. It’s similar to putting pieces of a puzzle together. You can even ask your community to participate in this activity by soliciting their ideas in the form of a competition and give your products away as prizes.
Cover photo inspirations
If you’re still lacking inspiration, take a look at these brands’ Facebook cover photos and get ready to have your ideas jumpstarted.
- New York Times. Known for delivering the most comprehensive news, New York Times posted a cover photo featuring a real life situation wherein journalist Somini Sengupta takes a boat ride to Bangladesh to cover the impact of Cyclone Sidr which hit the country in 2007.
- Dove. A company dedicated to rediscovering a deeper meaning to being beautiful, Dove inspires its customers with a minimalistic Facebook backdrop using a screenshot of their video ad Real Beauty Sketches which went viral recently.
- Coca-Cola. Pegged on the trademark of sharing happiness, Coca-Cola shares a series of photos where the famous soda is enjoyed by anyone, anywhere in the world.
- Nike. The popular sports brand brags off its latest pair of running shoes for men and women — the Nike Free 5.0 — by making its photo the banner of a their Facebook page.
- Toyota. The Japanese car manufacturing giant displays for the entire world to see their new and improved model while attracting their customers to bite on their promo—the latest edition of their cross utility vehicle RAV4 offered on sale.
- Ford. Customer service was made to look like a family affair as the huge manpower of Ford posed and formed their logo.
- Lexus. A brand associated to luxury, Lexus goes for a chic invitation to drive without minding a little noise.
- Facebook. Taking connection to a literal level, Facebook itself puts up a photo of two people reaching to each other through the social media giant.
Now that you know what it takes to come up with a notable Facebook cover photo, it’s time to sit down, brainstorm, and let your creative juices flow.