Q. What’s the first thing people see when they visit your Facebook Page?
A. The Cover Image at the top of your Page’s Timeline.
Q. What is the image that most represents your business on Facebook?
A. Your Page’s Profile Picture.
Therefore making your Facebook Cover Image look professional is VERY important for your business. After all, first impressions count!

What is the Facebook Cover Image?

The Facebook Cover Image is the big image that appears at the top of all Facebook Page timelines (profiles, pages and groups). All Cover Images are public, which means that anyone who visits your Page will be able to see your Cover Image.
The Cover Image size is 851 x 315 pixels, but your image must be a minimum of 399 pixels wide for it to work – Facebook will enlarge the image to fit the space and if it is too tall you are given the option to reposition the photo for maximum effect.
The following Facebook Pages Terms apply to cover images:

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. Covers may not include images with more than 20% text.

Be sure to adhere to these rules, as if you don’t adhere to them then Facebook can shut down your Page with no warning. These rules are actually quite flexible. The old rules that prevented your from including any price, purchase information, contact information, calls to actions and references to Facebook features and functionality, such as Like or Share have now been abandoned, provided you stay within the 20% text guidelines.
This is great news for businesses and I would encourage you to include a call to action as appropriate to any events, launches or promotions you are conducting. It’s time to get creative!

What is the Facebook Profile Picture?

Your Page’s Facebook Profile Picture is the small image at the bottom of your Cover Image and it is the image that accompanies all of Page’s your posts and comments on Facebook. Seeing as though most people will see the content you share via their newsfeed and not your Page, it needs to represent your business well and be easily recognisable as your business.
The Profile Picture is 180 x 180 pixels, but as long as you upload a square image you will be fine.

Examples of Facebook Cover Images & Profile Pictures

Feature Your Fans

Facebook Cover Image - Skype
Skype’s Cover Image shows people using the product. They all look happy and smiley – perhaps if you use Skype you will too? Skype is using their logo as their Profile Picture, which is instantly recognisable as their brand. The bright blue colour also stands out really well against this background and when seen in your newsfeed.

Appeal To Your Audience

Facebook Cover Image - Glee 11Glee TV show on Channel 11 uses the Cover Image to showcase the stars of the show, therefore appealing to it’s audience. Plus in the Profile Picture they have the page name and channel logo all in one, making it highly recognisable in people’s newsfeeds.

Showcase Your Products/Services

Facebook Cover Image - Mi Amor Photography
Mi Amor Photography have chosen to showcase examples of their work on their Cover Image and they change this regularly after photo shoots (with the permission of those being photographed of course). You don’t have to be a photographer to do this. If you sell products, then you can do a similar collage of those products or just feature one and change it regularly. If you provide services, then you can include images of you in action. Better still, if you provide awesome experiences (which I hope your business does) then you can include images of your customers enjoying that experience.
Mi Amor Photography changes their Profile Picture regularly in-line with Cover Image changes. This seems to be common amongst many photographers, but can be a risky strategy otherwise as your Profile Image will be less recognisable amongst your fans when they see it in their newsfeed as they may not be aware that you have changed your Cover Image. This can work for photographers, as if your fans know that you change both of these regularly, when they see a change in your Profile Image it may alert them to visit your Page to see the new cover image and latest photos you have taken. Getting your fans to return to your Page is a great way to boost your ongoing visibility to those fans.

Feature The Face Of Your Brand

Facebook Cover Image - Bra Queen
Bra Queen is a brand built around Renee Mayne as the face of the business. As such Renee is featured in the Cover Image, along with the products relating to her expertise. Renee is then featured in the Profile Image for the Page, making the brand seem more personal. People are more likely to respond to and interact people rather than logos, therefore this is a great strategy for increasing engagement on Facebook.

Use A Call To Action

Facebook Cover Image - Amy PorterfieldAmy Porterfield is another person who has built a brand around herself and therefore features in her Cover Image and Profile Picture, but what I like that Amy always does is that she uses her Cover Image to advertise her latest products and giveaways with a specific call to action, in this case “Sign Up Here”, with the URL given. If you click on this image you then see in the image description “Grab Your Seat for the Brand New Webinar!”, with a clickable URL straight to the sign up.

Keep Your Cover Image Timely

Facebook Cover Image - Lorna Jane
This Cover Image from Lorna Jane uses quotes, which is consistent with what they do frequently on their Page and at the same time promotes Mothers Day, an event that is coming up that is relevant to the store. However, it does not comply with Facebook’s maximum of 20% text rule for cover images. If you are going to include text in your cover image, make sure that it takes up less than 20% of the image. Their Profile Picture is of a fit young woman who is clearly loving the Lorna Jane products. It also includes part of their logo.

Feature Celebrities Or Key Persons Of Influence

Facebook Cover Image - Pink Glamour Cover Girl
Finally, being a Pink fan, I love this one from the page of Glamour magazine. They use their latest magazine cover as their profile image and then feature their cover girl (on this occasion Pink) in their cover image. Businesses can replicate this, using celebrities and/or key persons of influence (with their permission of course) in circumstances such as if they have a high profile Ambassador, a celebrity attends an event they are conducting or if the interview a high profile person within their industry.

Cover Image Design

If you have the budget you may wish to get a designer to design your Cover Image for you. Alternatively, you can use software such as Photoshop or Powerpoint to design your Cover Image yourself or even easier, use templates from an online generator such as Timeline Cover Banner or PicMonkey that helps you create your image without you needing to use any design software or skills.

Tips for Your Cover Image

  1. Keep it simple: Just try to get one thing over to visitors, rather than explain all 100 products you sell.
  2. Make it catch the eyes of your ideal customer.
  3. Include a call to action within the Cover Image when appropriate, but ensure it complies with the 20% rule.
  4. Include a call to action in the description for the image with a link to your website where people can find out more about your business and the products/services you have to offer to provide additional information to anyone that may click on the image or see it in their newsfeed when you update the design.
  5. Change your Cover Image regularly to keep it fresh, provide another reason for people to visit your Page and to make use of the story that it generates in the newsfeed of your fans.

Do I have to have a Cover Image and Profile Picture?

If you don’t upload a Cover Image, then all visitors will see is a grey box where it is meant to be. If you don’t upload a Profile Picture, then you get a question mark in it’s place. This is NOT good for your page as it doesn’t reflect a professional look for your business and fails to take advantage of this valuable real estate at your disposal.
Have you seen any effective cover images? Got any tips? Share your image or your tips below in the comments.