Transform your Facebook profile & learn how to optimise your cover image with our top tips and free template downloads

Over the years of managing not only my own Facebook pages, but many of my clients, I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks which I’ll be sharing in this blog post. Hopefully my advice will benefit other small businesses looking to transform their Facebook pages into professional outlets for their online marketing. I’ve also included some downloadable templates at the end, which I use personally to make sure my cover images are consistent and correct, and it makes them really quick and easy to design. So stick around and try applying some of our advice to your own cover images. 

The relevance and power of Facebook and other social media platforms is now very much at the forefront of many businesses marketing plans. However, the cover image is an often overlooked marketing tool and some businesses don’t realise that they need designing. Once you get out of the habit of selecting an image from your gallery to fill the banner and begin using the space as a real marketing tool, things can start getting creative. Regularly I get asked to help brands design cover images and I’ve noticed that clients often approach the project as a one off design. It seems that this big box at the top of their page is just a box that needs filling when setting up their profile page, the same as filling in all the descriptions, categories and contact information. If you’re thinking of your Facebook cover like this, hopefully the following blog will help you to understand the importance of a well designed cover image and begin to see how a cover image is prime real estate for your promotions as well as brand recognition. 

Why is a professional looking Facebook page important?  

While having a professional website for your business is top of the list for your online marketing, a professional Facebook page is not far behind. You should be as proud of your Facebook page as your website, because whether you're using Facebook to generate leads, close your next sale or create a community, knowing how to optimise your cover photo to direct potential customers to your website is important. Depending on your industry you might find a lot of your website traffic comes from Facebook, meaning potential customers could be seeing your Facebook page first. If your Facebook page isn’t professional, are potential customers going to assume the same of your website?

Let the stats do the talking…

Since launching our new website and really focusing on our social media presence the past month, 64% of our website traffic has come from Social Media, of which 80% is Facebook (Twitter and Linked in makes up the other 20%). 35% of the social media traffic to our website was new visitors last month, which really backs up what I said previously that potential customers might be seeing your Facebook page before they see your website. Our Social Media traffic to our website has increased 600% the past month compared to last year which is a direct reflection of how an active Facebook profile can do wonders for your website.

Why is a good Facebook cover image important? 

When Facebook users land on your page, you’ve got a very short amount of time to make an impression and it’s very easy to make the wrong one. Viewers can figure out who you are and what you do instantly when landing on your page and that’s where a good and relevant cover image can impact your business. Your cover image is the first thing people see when they visit your page and on a desktop it takes up over a third of your screen - That’s some serious billboard space to sell your business. If you’re aware of the age old ‘above the fold’ rule, this is the digital equivalent.  

Why does my cover image look different on my mobile?

Now that you have a new love for Facebook and this wonderful and free marketing space for your business, I’m going to talk about one of my biggest frustrations when designing for Facebook. You’ve possibly noticed when viewing some Facebook pages on your phone that their cover images are cropped oddly or the text is covered by the profile picture and wondered why they would have designed it like that. You’ll probably find it looks brilliant on desktop, and the designer hasn’t taken into consideration how it moves and resizes on mobile. The lovely folk at Facebook crop the images to fit your mobile rather than resizing it or giving us the ability to upload 2 images - Thanks Facebook! It’s important to consider what part of your image is going to be covered up by your profile picture and how it’s going to be cropped on the mobile view. Luckily we’ve created some guides in our free downloadable template below so that you can easily make your cover suitable for both desktop and mobile. 

Creating content

Just like the banner on your website, you can use your cover image to get creative with memorable and eye-catching images. It’s easy for us to say you need to get creative, it doesn’t come easily for everyone but start with our Do’s and Don'ts below to kick start the process. You can then use this space to capture your personality and reflect your branding. You might be able to combine elements that you’ve used in other marketing material to create a cover image which reinforces your brand, but if your struggling with somewhere to start, it might be a good idea to get a designer involved. When it comes to the perfect cover image, there’s more to good design and layout than just finding a beautiful image and saving it, our tips below and our downloadable template will help you to give it a go yourself. 

Try using Shutterstock for high quality images, packages start lower than other stock image sites and they do a good package for low resolution images which is all you need for Facebook (High resolution for print). There are many free or cheaper stock image sites out there, but just be aware of the quality of the images and also be wary of how overused the images could be. 

There are some good ideas for creating content across different industries in this blog by Social Media Examiner, 25 Facebook Cover Photo Examples

Top Tips

1. Abide by Facebook’s guidelines - All cover photos must be public and can't be deceptive, misleading or infringe on anyone else's copyright. Read Facebook’s guide for cover photos before you get started and save your image from being removed. 

2. Know your space and use it wisely - If you're going to create a Facebook cover from scratch, first you must get the dimensions right. The minimum dimensions for Facebook are 851 x 315 pixels, Facebook will expand any image that’s smaller than these dimensions so to avoid blurry and pixelated images use our template or set up your artwork to these dimensions. Make the most of the image size available and fill the whole banner. Your artwork should be set up to 72dpi for web and use the RGB colour space. Repurposing artwork is always tempting but without customising it to the correct dimensions could result in cover photo elements that stretch beyond the image boundaries or important information hiding behind buttons and profile pictures. If you’d like to reuse an image you’ve had designed for another medium, go back to your original designer or send it over for us to repurpose so we can make sure your image doesn’t look distorted or cut off.

3. Only fill 20% of your image with text - If you aren’t going to be using your cover images for events or paying to promote your events then this won’t be relevant to you. You might have heard that Facebook scraped this rule back in 2013, and it’s true, Facebook relaxed their rules regarding cover images which allowed us to use as much text in our cover images as we like - Hurray! However, I’ve been caught out on this a couple of times. If you try to boost your event using Facebook’s paid advertising then your event cover image is used within the advert and this has to abide by Facebook advertising rules, including the maximum 20% text in images. If you don't consider this when designing my cover images, then come to boost an event, the advert will be removed by Facebook. When this happened to me it then took 24 hours before I was allowed to advertise the event again, even after changing the cover image. Within our template below, we’ve included a grid layer, you are can fill 5 of these boxes with text and still remain below 20%.

4. Optimise your cover images for mobile - Avoid loosing content behind profile pictures and cropping for mobile. Also, it might be worth mentioning, don't get sucked in by the use a cover photo that fuses with your profile pic, like these. It was a really popular trend at one point and it went viral with some clever designs but unfortunately it doesn't work anymore because the position of the profile picture is different on desktop and mobile.  

5. Use your cover image to brand your page -  Above all, remember your cover photo needs to fit your brand and company perfectly. Your cover image takes up a lot of real estate on your profile and is a great way to reinforce your brand recognition. If the colours in your cover photo don’t match your logo colours or your website, your page can look disjointed and visitors may think you don’t care about your social media presence. Simple things like using a background colour which compliments your profile picture or logo can make your company page look professional. You can also tie in images from your website into your cover image, so don’t go too mad with your creativity and stay within the confines of your brand. Don’t have a brand? Make one! Your Facebook cover image is the perfect starting point to brand your business.

6. Change your cover image regularly - An outdated cover image can have a huge negative effect on your page because visitors might think that your page isn’t active. Changing your cover photo takes very little effort so it makes sense to change your photo to complement or highlight current promotions, the season or an upcoming local event but If you know your not going to keep on top of your cover image and change it when promotions finish then stick to something generic. Designing cover images that change with the seasons and the holidays is easy, just experiment with seasonal colours or add traditional seasonal images like leaves or snowflakes. This is an easy way to avoid your page getting stale and shows your followers that your page is current and updated frequently. I also tell my clients, that if you have a hard time keeping on top of updating your website regularly then keeping your social media profiles up to date is 100x more important. If I’m unsure if a website is legit or I want some reassurance before I buy from a new website them I’ll head over to their Facebook page to see how active they are. I’m then reassured that if there are any problems with my purchase that I can contact them through Facebook. An outdated cover image displaying an offer that is months out of date, or Christmas imagery in the Summer isn’t a good look!

Cover images are one of the most under-utilised aspects of a social media profile, yet they take up the majority of what a user sees first. Using our template below is a great start to create a cover image on your own. The services of a graphic designer can not only ensure your image has the perfect dimensions, sizing and format but their creative flair can to make your page memorable and unique. Get in touch if you need help with your Facebook profile. 

If you try creating a custom Facebook cover using our template, we’d love to see your creations! Post them on our Facebook page or tweet them to @headdeskdesign

Download our Free template for Adobe Indesign CS4+ 

Download our Free template for Adobe Photoshop CS4+ (Coming Soon)

or use the jpegs below to create your own template in your preferred editing software

Mobile Template

Mobile Example

Desktop Template

Desktop Example

 

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