How Your Facebook Cover Photo Can Work for Your Business
The new Facebook Timeline features a large cover photo that is overlapped a bit with your page’s square profile image. This replaces the old design of a large rectangular left-side profile image and five highlighted photos in a strip across the top of the page. Most business owners are thrilled with this new real estate for an image. Here are some ideas that might help you make the most of your cover photo for your business.
Knowing the requirements for the Facebook Cover Photo
The new size is 850 x 315, which is huge compared to what used to be available. There are lots of posts that list all the great visuals, but here is what the page for the Facebook Marketing All-In-One For Dummies book looks like:
The image shows how this page looks to someone who is not logged into Facebook. Notice how Facebook takes some of this area to tell the visitor to Sign Up or Log In. Once someone signs up or Logs In that notice box goes away and the full image is viewable.
The possibilities for the cover photo are unlimited, but you have to stay within these Facebook guidelines:
“All cover images are public, which means anyone visiting your Page, will be able to see the image you choose. Covers must not be false, deceptive or misleading, and must not infringe on third parties’ intellectual property. You may not encourage or incentivize people to upload your cover image to their personal timelines.”
And Facebook continues with,
“Timeline for Pages Cover Photos may NOT contain the following:
Price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it at our website”.
*Contact information, such as web address, email, mailing address, etc., or other information intended for your Page’s About section.
*References to user interface elements, such as Like or Share, or any other Facebook site features or an arrow pointing from the cover photo to any of these features.
*Calls to action of any kind, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends” or “Like our Page.”
So, what’s a business to do?
Understanding when a person sees your cover photo
Generally, people see your cover photo if they follow a link to your page. That link can be on an ad, in an email, or in any promotion where you include a hyperlink to your page; those social icons on your website are usually linked to your page, too.
Every other time, they are only going to see your posts in their news feed that only have the small profile thumbnail image attached to it. But if you upload a new cover photo and publish it to your page, it will go out in the news feed to everyone who has Liked the Page.
Using a marketing strategy with your cover photo
Don’t think of your cover photo as a one-time design project. Think about a series of photos that help tell the story of your business. Here are some ideas to consider:
Product-type businesses: You can create a cover photo for the launch of each new product. You can’t put on the image the words, “Buy it now” or anything like that (see the requirements again), but you can certainly create an artistic photo that features your new product. Create a photo with a “Customer of the Week” with their smiling face holding your product and tag the person (with their permission of course) on the photo.
Service-type businesses: You can create a cover photo for each new service you’ve created through time. For example, you can have an image that showcases you as a writer (no, not that picture of you hunched over your laptop) and then another with you up in front of an audience as a speaker. Switch them out as you send out email blasts that highlight those services.
Food-type businesses: You might imagine this type of business would have cover photos for all sorts of yummy things. But if you are a new local business, a beautiful picture of your storefront would be great so people recognize it when they drive by (then turn around and stop in to buy something!). You could also put up a map that has a big star on your location or new location.
You can also design your cover photo to have a gentle visual nudge toward one of your apps with the use of lines, bubbles, people looking in a certain direction, etc. These are bordering on “calls to action” in a visual way. Use them with discretion.
Timing cover photo uploads
Replace your cover photo once a week, once a month, or whatever fits your customer demographic. If you know your customers log onto Facebook on Saturdays, to check up on friends, upload your new photo before noon. If you tend to get more engagement in the evenings, upload it then. How do you know when you are getting the highest engagement? CrowdBooster works for this task. There are other systems that can track your engagement, but this one has a free version you can test out.
Every time you change your cover photo an auto-generated announcement is posted to your wall.
After it posts to your wall you can write a comment about it, Like it, Share it, Highlight it or Pin it to the top of your page. You can also Hide it from the Page if you want, if you can think of a reason for doing so.
You can recycle through all your cover photos as much as you want, too. They will all end up in a dedicated album called “Cover Photos.”
Changing your cover photo
When on your page, just hover over the photo and a hidden link will appear that says, “Change Cover” with a dropdown arrow. When you click the arrow you have a choice to choose from photos you’ve already uploaded, upload a new photo, reposition the one already there, or delete the current one. You don’t have to delete the current photo to use a new photo. Just choose a new one from your albums or upload a new photo.
Enjoy this new feature for business pages and use it to generate more comments, questions, conversations and enjoyment. If you create an interesting strategy around this photo, people will be looking forward to the next one and the next one.