Whoever coined the term, "don’t judge a book by its cover", obviously never heard of a little thing we like to call the Internet. When it comes to your brand’s online assets like your stunning and professional website, and social media pages, the images that you choose to represent yourself can make or break whether or not a customer decides to engage. One of the most important (yet often overlooked) aspects of your visual marketing is none other than the good ol’ Facebook cover photo. More than a complimentary image to your profile picture, a good cover photo ties together your brand’s story and can be the most vocal part of your page.
We went on the hunt for how brands use this valuable social asset and summed up some of the best practices that you too can apply to your business. Oh, and we threw in five awesome free tools that you can use to create your own cover photo – on the house – don’t thank us.
The basics of a great cover photo:
First things first, when it comes to social media images, size most certainly matters! According to Facebook, your cover photo is displayed at: 820 pixels wide x 312 pixels tall on desktops and 640 pixels wide x 360 pixels tall on smartphones. Of course, it’s best to test how your image looks on both desktop and mobile devices to ensure that no elements are cut off based on screen size. You don’t want your masterpiece to be chopped – oh crop!
How to choose your cover photo:
Unlike the limited space allotted in your profile picture, the ample size of your cover photo is where you can go the extra mile to describe what your brand truly stands for. Ask yourself what that means for your business; is showing your product in action the best way to showcase its use? Maybe quick slogans or a quote that connects with your brand’s messaging is the route you should take.
Not sure where to start? Check out these five interesting ways to use your cover pic:
Promote your products:
Ahhh yes, a classic choice indeed. Brands everywhere use their cover photos to show off current and upcoming products that they have to offer. One of our recent Facebook cover photos showed off the versatility of our product; a stunning website for just about anyone.
Cool new feature alert! Recently, Facebook has allowed brands to add videos to their cover photos. See how Netflix took advantage of this cool new feature.
Change with the seasons:
If there’s one thing that we can always count on, it’s the changing of the seasons. Update your cover photo to celebrate upcoming holidays or other calendar related events. It’s no surprise that Starbucks does this beautifully. Known for their holiday cup designs, Starbucks also keeps their Facebook page up to date according to the time of the year. Each season, the brand does an excellent job at finding the perfect beverage to feature on their Facebook cover.
Urban Outfitters is another example of a brand that rides on seasonal changes to show off new fashion trends.
Call attention to your latest campaign:
If you’re running a promotion or special giveaway, you want to make sure your community is in the know. The best way to do that? Use your cover photo as a promotional tool.
UNICEF is often first on the scene for some of the world’s most important causes. To match the initiative that they’re focusing on at the moment, the charity changes their cover photo to help raise awareness.
Redbull is a brand that has become synonymous with the extreme sports scene. They often use their cover photo space to proudly promote their current sponsorship.
Pro tip: Don’t forget to utilize your cover’s description by adding a link or more details about your current campaign.
Highlight your users:
You’ve worked hard to build a loyal community so why not show them off? Use this spot to showcase your proudest clients/users. Community-focused brands like Deviant Art and Reddit do just that. They’ve been known to use their cover space to highlight users’ submissions and initiatives
Go loco with your logo
Brands that are closely associated with their logo have the luxury of using their cover photos to reinforce their branding. Louis Vitton and Target are great examples of how to use a logo in a playful and smart way.
Free tools to create your own cover photo:
For the Photoshop-challenged among us, there are a plethora of design tools that are made to assist in our design adventure. Below, you’ll find our favorite (free) five:
1. Canva: www.canva.com
Canva is a lifesaver for the social media managers everywhere. This tool has pre-set sizes for all of your social media assets (including cover photos) so your creations come out perfect every time. Plus, it’s got a ton of beautiful built-in designs for everything from backgrounds to icons to fonts.
2. Fotor: www.fotor.com/features/facebook.html
Similarly to Canva, Fotor is a design tool made with social media images in mind. Start with a pre-set size depending on your social needs (like creating an awesome Facebook cover) and use their design features to drag and drop your way to a gorgeous photo. As an added bonus, Fotor also has cover photo templates ranging from event invites to holiday greetings.
3. PicMonkey: www.picmonkey.com
Wish your cover photo looked more like your favorite Instagram image? Upload it to PicMonkey to easily add cool editing effects to it. While PicMonkey has some neat features, be aware that many of its offerings are only available with the paid plans.
4. Picscatter: www.picscatter.com
One image not enough to get your point across? Use Picscatter to easily create a collage. But before you get started, come ready with the exact size that you want your cover photo to be, as this tool does not have pre-set social sizes.
5. Timeline Cover Banner: www.timelinecoverbanner.com
Don’t be put off by this website’s old school design, this super simple service lets you upload any image and convert it into a perfect looking cover photo. Customize your pic with text or doodles just like you would on that old Paint program you know and love.
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