Whenever Facebook makes a change to their pages or to the algorithm, I get emails and tweets and messages in the Collective about how crummy it is and how we all hate change. And I'll be honest, sometimes the Facebook gods make a change that makes all of us groan (like when the video CTA button went away) but my FAVOURITE change that cropped up this year was the revamp of the page layout and the simplification of the page cover photo.
If you remember, your Facebook page used to look something like this:
This format, and the iterations that came before, were a little annoying to work with because you had to deal with the profile pic, biz name, category, and call-to-action.
When they switched over to the latest format, they took every single obstacle away from the cover, giving you free reign to make an impression the moment someone hits your page. Bam!
One of the biggest mistakes I see businesses making, is not paying enough attention to their cover photo. They forget that it's taking place of the front of your store, the first impression, the curb appeal -- and if it's crap, folks aren't going to dive in.
The next question, of course, is "What should I use as my cover photos??" so today I've put together some ideas from pages that are doing it up right. There are a few themes here that you can snag and mimic for your own biz.
Dive in, get inspired, and make your own!
Celebrate the season.
Whether you're promoting gifts during the holidays season, obsessing over pumpkin spice stuff, or basking the first days of summer, you can use a seasonal cover to show off your biz.
The bonus awesome thing about this is that you're giving your audience the sly message that "hey, this page is up to date and totally hip with what's happening in the world right now".
The Starbucks holiday cups are pretty iconic, so of course they are going to show them off in a big way on their Facebook page. (I'm now obviously craving a 1/2 sweet caramel brulée latte. With whip.)
Etsy's holiday banner covers two angles because not only are they sharing some holiday goodness, they are also promoting their current hashtag which ties their seasonal marketing all together. Love it.
Show off the goods.
Do you have a new product coming out soon? Did your shop just get a shipment of something rad? Show it off!
I love this example from Bath & Body Works because they are showing off one of their new lines. You can combine this with the seasonal themes, of course. Have fun with hit and feel free to add branding or text.
Dollar Shave Club does a great job of showing off their products, along with a super catchy tagline. (You can DIY your own lightbox to take product photos!)
Get folks out to your event.
Hosting an event soon? Whether it's an online event or an in-person shindig, you can tweak your Facebook cover to shout it out, just like Makeology did here.
Be sure to update the description of your cover photo to include all the info someone would need if they want to attend -- a link to the event page on Facebook, or a link to buy tickets on your website. Make it EASY for someone to get all the details!
Here's another example from Kin Ship Goods. They've used both their cover photo AND their profile image to promote the fact that Small Business Saturday is coming up soon.
Promote your book.
We've all read Big Magic right?? Probably because Elizabeth Gilbert is fantastic at marketing her awesomeness all over the world. This big pile of sexy books is super enticing.
Doug the Pug also knows how to show off his book! (Gotta love that face!)
I also love this style from Ilana Wiles of Mommy Shorts fame. It's not as obvious that this is a book, if you weren't already a fan, but it definitely makes you want to order up! You'll find this branding (which is very NYC taxi!) all over her page when she's talking about the book. It's the perfect storm of style, memorability, and fun. You're not going to miss her posts in your timeline, that's for sure.
Get more downloads of your new app.
Did you know there's a custom call-to-action button just for apps?? You bet. So if you're trying to get more download for YOUR app, be sure to show it off in your cover, just like BuzzFeed's Tasty is doing here, with a handy little arrow pointing right to where people can hop on board. Doesn't get much better than that!
Give customers an inside look.
If you want your customers to feel right at home and comfortable the moment they walk in your store, let them SEE it and get to KNOW it before -- just like Moorea Seal is doing in this example!
When I owned a clothing store, I would do this all the time. I'd set up displays and share images of my entire shop online which would entice folks to come in -- and they knew exactly where to find things. It's like they already had a mental map to those earrings and jeans they were dying to try out. Get inside your customer's head and let them get familiar with your goods even before they step through the door.
I hope you're feeling excited and ready to design your new cover photo today! These are obviously not the ONLY ways you can use your Facebook head, but I think you get the picture -- this is the FIRST THING that people see when they end up on your page and you want it to wow them... you don't want them to yawn and click away ;)
Here are a few other things to keep in mind:
- You don't need to be a graphic designer to make something awesome. If Photoshop isn't your jam, use Canva.
- The dimensions of your image should be 828 x 315.
- Use a png for better results. You may notice other formats end up a little muddy once they are uploaded.
- Always update the description when you upload your new header. Add a link to whatever you're promoting or more information so there isn't a blank spot next to it when someone clicks it. This is a great place to share other social media links or the link to your email list if you're not promoting something else specifically.
- Consider changing up your header at least monthly so you teach your audience that your page is up to date, fresh, and active!
- Don't be afraid to use stock images (like Unsplash or Pixabay), especially if you're a blogger, coach, or someone who isn't selling physical products. You can edit stock images to give them the right feel for your branding. (PicMonkey is perfect for simple editing online.)
One last thing to keep in mind is your call-to-action button. This ties in heavily with your header, so don't leave it empty. There are several options to choose from when you edit your button, so choose the one that makes the most sense for your business. In many cases, your header will be what's letting people know why they should be clicking the CTA button, so make it enticing and valuable. This is the perfect place to build your list, bring more viewers to your blog, or to share your latest product launch!
Go forth and create!