Just before Christmas Facebook introduced new guidelines for Facebook cover images on pages. On top of the exisiting rules Facebook now specifies that no more than 20% of the image can contain text. Here’s a refresher on the rules and some great examples and tips for using Facebook cover images.
**UPDATE** Rules have changed. You may now add addresses, calls to action and any text to your cover photo.
According to Facebook cover images may not:
- Include price or purchase information, so no mention of discounts or calls to action to visit your website.
- Contact information such as your web address, email or phone number. These should sit in the ‘about’ section of your Facebook page instead.
- Reference to interface elements, this means no call to action such as ‘Like this page’ ‘Share this page’.
- Calls to action, so you can’t tell people to enter your competition or tell your friends.
The new rule is hidden slightly further from view. You’ll find it in Page Terms, Section B, Cover Images.
Covers may not include:
- Images with more than 20% text, that’s only 1/5 of your image that you have to add text based information.
Creating a new cover image
If you find that your existing Facebook cover image doesn’t comply don’t panic, it’s easy to create new images and I’ve found that changing your cover on a regular basis can encourage more engagement on your page. It not only generates likes and comments when you upload the new picture but it will also alert your page likes that something has changed, that you have something new on offer, it’s a bit like changing the display in your shop window.
If you have a graphics editing programme such as Photoshop or GIMP, creating a new image is simple. Here’s a handy template produced by shortstack that you can work from.
If you don’t have access to graphics editing a simple photo of staff, customers or products can make a great image and window into your business. There are also various online tools that can assist you, I’m a big fan of Timeline Cover Banner, it’s quick and easy to use and you can upload your own images or choose from their gallery.
Some people stick with the same cover image for a large period of time, others change theirs regularly. I’ve found changing my image occasionally works well, I changed it over Christmas as a kind of Christmas card for my page followers and I’ve just uploaded a striking image for the new year. Every time I change it I get lots of likes and shares. But how can you get more traction?
1. Top Tip – Add a link – Although it’s against the rules to display a link as part of the image you can include a link in the description box, this gives you the opportunity to showcase your latest blog post or offer. Here’s an example from Outofhoursva who uses her cover image to share simple tips on her blog.
2. Showcase your staff – Whether you are a small local shop, an online organisation or a big business people like to see the human side of your business. Using your cover image to introduce your customers to your staff is a great way to personalise your customer experience. Next time someone walks in to this butcher shop they will know exactly who is serving them.
3. Showcase your customers – People love to know that you have happy customers, using your Facebook cover image to show off their smiling faces is a fantastic way to sell this idea. Make sure you get permission from the people you photograph to use them in this way. Look at these happy customers on the NCI page and the Volkswagen page.
4. Reward your followers – It’s always nice to be rewarded and many people like to be acknowledged publicly for what they do, even if it’s just participating on a Facebook page. I love what Marmite are doing here, awarding one of their Facebook followers every month ‘Fan of the month’ and displaying this award as part of their cover image.
5. Highlight new products – As I mentioned above, your cover photo is like a shop window, it’s a great way to show off your products. Change it now and then to show off your new offerings. Here’s an example from Dee’s displaying the new Real Meal pots as they were launched.
6. Enhance your personal brand – Your Facebook cover images can tell a story and I love the way Mari Smith has done this in the past. I felt like I was following her on her travels as she updated her cover to show where she’d been and what she’d been up to. Mari has a strong personal brand and featuring herself in the photos, usually wearing turquoise enhances this.
So now you should be inspired to do something creative and new with your Facebook cover, if you do as a result of this blog post I’d love to see the results so do share them with me either here or on Facebook.
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