How to Improve Your Facebook Cover Photo

Your Facebook cover photo is the very first thing customers—and potential customers—see. Here's how to make yours work for you.
October 15, 2012

Your Facebook cover photo is the very first thing customers—and potential customers—see. A study released earlier this year by EyeTrackShop found that the images are the main attraction, with 100 percent of those surveyed looking at them. (Somewhere between 65 percent and 92 percent viewed the profile photos on the old brand pages.)

So what can you do to make your cover image work for you?

First, of course, there is the question of what photo to use. The EyeTrackShop study found that cover images with faces attracted more attention than those without. Wendy Tan-White, chief executive of Moonfruit, which builds e-commerce websites, suggests featuring an image that relates not only to your product or service but also to your customers. Got What It Cakes, a Charlotte, N.C.-based small business, features its owner, Mandie Miller, sitting at home with three striking cakes in its photo. Baby photos are visible on the wall behind her. Many of Miller’s customers are mothers.

Is your image properly sized and pixelated? The cover image should be 851 by 315 pixels, and the profile picture should be 180 by 180 pixels. Noelle Federico, the chief financial officer of stock photo company Dreamstime, tells the AllFacebook blog that a lot of brands mess this up—and that it leaves viewers with a bad first impression. (Click here for one way to make sure your photo is sized properly.)

Is your photo too busy? Yes, you want to show some personality, but the photo should make it clear what your brand is. “With a photo that large, you really want to make an impact,” Federico says. “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.”

How long have you had the same photo up? Consider changing it seasonally, adding a holiday theme or something related to a trend or event within your industry.

Don’t use your photo to try to sell new products. Your photo should give a sense of who you are. Federico says: “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.” (Click here for the secret to a perfect Facebook post.)

Social media, she says, is a way to create and build a relationship with customers.
“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.” (Click here for some brands she said did a good job with the cover image. And click here for some other ideas.) 

What are your tips for good Facebook cover images?

Photo: Getty Images