How Can Brands Optimize Their Facebook Cover Photo?

The cover photo is the first thing someone sees when they land on a brand’s Facebook page. It serves as a virtual welcome mat for fans and potential customers. Noelle Federico, chief financial officer of Dreamstime — a leading provider of fully licensed stock photos — talked with AllFacebook about how companies can connect with their fans through a strong first impression. Dreamstime created TimelineImages.com, where users can purchase quality cover photos.

One of the biggest missteps a company can make with its cover image is to have it improperly sized or pixellated. The precise measurements for a timeline cover image are 851 by 315 pixels, and a profile picture should be 180 xby180 pixels. Federico said many brands don’t properly size cover photos, and they are either cut off or distorted. Additionally, brands should make sure that their profile pictures aren’t covering up something important in their cover photos. Users can get a bad first impression if the cover photo looks askew.

The cover photo should precisely and simply convey to a Facebook user what the brand is all about. For instance, for a candy company, users are going to want to see some kind of confection. For a shoe company, users will expect shoes, Federico explained:

I think that brands sometimes try to be too busy with their photos. It should be a representative photo, representative of what your business is. With a photo that large, you really want to make an impact. If a photo of a crowd is something that you feel is going to be a strong statement for whatever it is that you do, make sure that it’s of good quality. Make sure that you can actually see people in the crowd, and make sure it’s not too busy with other components … In these social media sites, especially with Facebook, this is the first thing I’m going to see. If I’m coming to your site and deciding whether or not I’m going to like you, the first thing I’m going to see is huge — it’s your cover photo.

Additionally, brands should take some time to find the right cover photo for both their company and their audience. Simply doing a Google image search for a cool picture to use could land a company in legal trouble. It’s also a good idea to change out the cover image every now and then, showing fans that a brand is paying attention to trends and what’s going on in the world. For instance, many pages will add a holiday theme to their cover image around Christmas or connect with users through football in the days leading up to the Super Bowl.

While brands should show people who and what they are, they shouldn’t use the cover image as a chance to try to feature new products. Federico said that brands should use their cover photo to connect with their audience instead of pitching them a product:

If I go to your page and all I see is a cover photo filled with things that you offer and no clear sort of direction of who you are as an entity, I’m turned off by that. I don’t think that I’m going to like your page. I think I’m just going to pass it by. I really feel like if a company is paying attention to social media right now, they’re really understanding that it’s a vessel to create a relationship with consumers. You can use it to strengthen your brand, and I think even sometimes there’s room to promote a new object or a new service, but I don’t think you make that a focal point of your page. I think when you do that, you turn people off.

Federico took note of some brands, big and small, that really make good use of the timeline cover image:

Readers: If you manage a Facebook page, what is your cover photo strategy?
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