If you’re savvy about marketing on social, your business probably has a Facebook account. You’ve picked the perfect profile pic, filled in all the missing information, and even written a pretty stellar bio about what your company does. So you’re done, right?
Wrong. So wrong.
One of the most crucial elements of a business’s Facebook page is the cover photo. It’s like the window display of your storefront – if it’s boring or ugly, it won’t generate interest.
So what should you put in your social media storefront window? Here are eight awesome ideas for creating the Facebook cover photo of your dreams, inspired by brands who already have an outstanding visual presence. Ready to get started? Here we go!
1. Align to the Right
Where is your profile picture? On the left side of your profile. So where should you put words, important images, or graphics when you’re designing a cover photo? On the right. It’s a pretty straightforward concept, but you’d be surprised at how many people and businesses mess it up.
On the WB’s page for the fictional Harry Potter, the picture is placed so that the focal point is clearly visible. Nothing of real interest is obscured by the profile image, and the page is compositionally balanced. Bonus tip: whenever you use an image of a face, the person should be “looking” in the direction of your content – in this case, the cover photo.
2. See the Big Picture
Your profile image will conceal a small section of your cover photo, but you can make that work for you – just look for the big picture! Some of my favorite cover photos are those that incorporate the profile picture as part of the larger image. These innovative pics really stand out.
You see what I mean? Carlsberg uses their profile picture to enhance their cover photo (and highlight their product, the beer itself).
This Captain Morgan cover photo/profile picture mash-up is so seamless that, at first glance, you might actually think that the bottle is on the page! Note that the profile picture works well independently of the cover photo. When you see that icon pop up in your newsfeed, there’s no mistaking its source.
3. Be Your Own Billboard
Facebook is about making connections and showing off your fun side, but it’s also a place to establish your brand. Think of your cover photo as free billboard space on one of the most popular social networks in the world – use it!
Sticking to the “Start Here” theme used in their television commercials, CarMax created this appealing, high-quality ad for their Facebook cover photo. Visually pleasing, this bright and cheery image also helps to reinforce CarMax’s brand.
In this cover photo, Cvent got a little more explicit in advertising their services. Who needs an “About” section when you can put everything that needs to be said onto your cover photo? Note that the image’s background is very simple, keeping the text-heavy image from appearing too crowded.
4. Use a Call-to-Action
From my college communication classes, to marketing seminars, to meetings at work – if I’ve learned the great importance of any one thing, it’s your call-to-action, or CTA. Social media is a powerful tool when it comes to lead generation, and including a CTA in your cover photo encourages visitors to act. Whether you want to gain likes, visits to your site, or entries in a contest you’re hosting, a cover photo CTA will help.
Marketo is currently using their Facebook page to promote The Marketing Nation Summit, using a cover photo CTA. As in the example from Cvent, an understated background image makes the CTA pop.
Wishpond uses their cover photo to overtly invite readers to take action, with a literal arrow pointing to the spot where viewers can enter their contest. This is a great example of how a cover photo can drive people to act.
5. Introduce Yourself
Are you proud of your team? Do you want to show off your staff? Do it with a cover photo!
In this older cover photo, The New York Times takes you into their office and shows you their whole staff. It’s a great look into the big, beautiful office of the people who write the news that you read.
Not quite as big as The New York Times? Not a problem! This small marketing agency uses their cover photo to show potential clients that they won’t be working with a big, “faceless” corporation.
6. Appeal to Emotions
While turning your cover photo into a CTA or a billboard can be great, an emotionally resonant cover photo can be equally effective.
Facebook’s own cover photo is a perfect example of how images can tap into emotions. It also is completely on -brand. What is Facebook about? Connecting. What does this photo convey? Connection. This image gets down to the heart of social networking, and makes visitors feel positive about their brand.
This Toyota cover photo, which is about two years old, also tells a specific, emotionally resonant story with only a single image. Visitors will automatically associate Toyota with freedom, and with enjoying the ride of life – no words necessary. Plus, who doesn’t love a happy dog?
7. Stay True to Your Brand
There’s nothing worse than a brand that changes mascots, slogans, or jingles every other day. People like consistency and familiarity, and your Facebook cover photo is a great place to reinforce your familiar message.
Ben & Jerry’s, for example, has always been about the cows. Their Facebook cover photo doesn’t stray from that fact.
Nike reinforced their brand with this simple, straightforward cover photo. All that they need is their familiar Nike swoosh, and their iconic “Just Do It” slogan. They’ve said everything they need to say.
8. Start a Conversation
A hashtag is a powerful thing, my friends – in recent years, we’ve even seen hashtags play a role in political revolutions. When you throw a hashtag onto your cover photo, you have the power to get people talking.
Coca-Cola’s current cover photo contains a colorful logo, a picture of three young women wearing sports gear, and a mysterious hashtag. You tell me that you’re not curious.
Ford Mustang’s cover photo hashtag is less mysterious, but equally powerful. You can use the hashtag to search for “#Mustang” and see what other people are saying about this famous sports car.
This has only been a brief sampling of the amazing cover photos I’ve seen. What are some of the most creative, engaging, or gorgeous brand cover photos you’ve encountered on Facebook?