Anyone who’s been in one of my Facebook 101 classes will know that we talk about the platforms’ terms and conditions including those surrounding cover images (those large banner images at the top of your Facebook page).
For a long time, Facebook had some pretty onerous rules around what we could do with our ‘covers’. Facebook said they couldn’t have calls to action, they couldn’t have more than 20% text and couldn’t contain contact details.
I think a lot of this was related to ensuring we didn’t turn our cover images into big, ugly, text-filled (and non-paying) advertising spaces. This of course didn’t stop some Facebook cover images from having big, ugly, text-filled cover images. There’s always a plethora of organisations on Facebook that aren’t aware of the rules or just don’t care.
But now, you can throw those rules out of the window.
- Your cover can contain more than 20% text.
- You can have contact details in your cover.
- You can have ‘calls to action’ in your cover.
Since this change (at the beginning of July), I’ve been looking at Facebook cover images to see how organisations have responded. This post will look at some examples. I aim to give you some food for thought, when you’re choosing your Facebook cover. What looks good? What looks icky? And what functional purposes might your cover image serve?
Woolworths – one of our major supermarket chains, has a cover image which reflects its slogan but is largely clean, symmetrical and easy-to-absorb. It might change its cover occasionally to support a new product or campaign, so it’s one Facebook cover to keep an eye on if you’re keen on gaining ‘seasonal ideas’.
Food SA, the food industry body in South Australia, has a cover image which supports an ongoing campaign in this state to ‘buy local’. Under the previous cover image regime, this amount of text would have been against the guidelines. But now cover images can contain more complex messages. It’s been used on other food-type Facebook pages.
Stereosonic, the two-day music festival, has a sensational cover image supported by the images for its Facebook apps. It has a few key phrases that don’t clutter the overall image.
I came across the Joseph Joseph kitchenware page while roaming the platform, and was captivated by the cover its used. The image features a lot of products set out neatly in a compelling format that’s ecstasy for homeware hoarders. There’s no need for text there – the catalogue of images says it all.
Now, let’s get onto some Facebook pages which are cramming a little more text into their covers. Not always to good effect.
What do you think of the Dominos Australia cover image? It looks like a cut-out voucher, no? It’s reminiscent of all the messages we see shared in letterbox leaflets and on Domino shop windows. That’s not a bad thing. For Dominos fans, this is important information. It could have been immensely ugly, but somehow I think they’ve gotten away with it …
For this post, I absolutely needed an ugly cover image. I don’t like offending people (and potentially clients and friends!) so I looked for international pages and found Hike Those Holidays. Enough said, I think. The abolition of the 20% text rule is no excuse for this! Incidentally, it has a lot of partner Facebook pages with the same cover images.
So think about these things with your Facebook cover image:
- What first impression do you want to make? (Many people will only see your cover image when they first Like the page)
- Can you use images of what you offer? Eg, product shots arranged attractively?
- Is there an important slogan or service promise you’d like to include as text?
- Is there a current campaign you want others to understand – do you have one sentence explaining it?
- Do you operate in a seasonal industry? Consider changing covers for summer/spring/winter/autumn
- Is there a big piece of news you want to share? Could your cover image illustrate that?
Of course, it’s not a case of ANYTHING GOES with covers:
“ Covers can’t be deceptive, misleading, or infringe on anyone else’s copyright. You may not encourage people to upload your cover to their personal timelines.” Facebook page guidelines.
Read the cover-specific guidelines and size recommendations too.
I’d love to know if you have any favourite Facebook covers to share. Link to them in the Comments below.
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