Whether you’re handing out business cards, shaking hands, or engaging with potential Fans on Facebook, a first impression means everything. Clients, consumers, even new friends will decide within seconds if they have a good feeling about you and/or your brand, or a bad feeling, and your income depends on the former. So, let’s dive into the tips for creating a stellar first impression on the digital realm with Facebook’s Cover Photo options. 

Facebook Cover Photo

Earlier in 2013, Facebook relaxed its grasp on Cover Photos, allowing business owners to use more text, provide contact information, and even include a call to action. As long as you stay within the 20% Text Rule, you essentially have free reign to let your creative juices flow.

This is remarkable for small business owners who are looking to truly capitalize on their social media efforts. From limiting all text, calls to action, and sales promo on a Cover Photo, Facebook effectively opened the doors to unlimited possibilities. The broader guidelines allow for greater branding, stronger call to action, and creativity overload!

First Impressions

According to Forbes.com, you have approximately 7 seconds to leave your impression as a genuine brand or a phony. Seven seconds to convince someone to trust you with their interests, or to let them down and have them running for the hills.

The number one tip for a great first impression as stated by Forbes in ‘Seven Seconds to Make a First Impressions’ is to ‘adjust your attitude.’ This doesn’t just apply to face-to-face encounters; it applies to your Facebook Cover Photo as well. Take, for example, EraseDisease.com’s initial cover photo. You’ll notice the stiff, dark colors and unrealized branding. The cover photo is murky, missing any sense of creativity, and has no true purpose or direction.

Facebook Cover Photo Best Practices

With Facebook’s new Cover Photo update, small business owners are able to ‘adjust their attitude’ through creative, innovative invitations of engagement. Notice how this brand updated it’s cover photo to something a bit more branded, complete with inviting colors, website information, social media icons and a short explanation of the product. 

cover photo branding 

The entire ‘attitude’ of the page changes, thus changing the receptiveness of potential consumers within those 7 seconds of a first impression. Now, when Facebook users hover their cursor over this brand, potentially interested in its philosophy, it sees an attractive, bright image.

So, how do we get from drab and dark to inviting and appealing? Follow these steps:

  1. The Right Image -  The most effective image is something that speaks to your audience on an emotional level – something that intrigues them and summons them to learn more. The image should speak for itself, leveraging your brand message in imagery. Technically speaking, the image needs to be sized or cropped to 851x315 pixels.
  2. Call to Action – Utilize Facebook’s 20% Text Rule and take full advantage of its possibilities. A logo does not count as text, so if your logo includes text, or as seen above the logo contains the URL, us it in the cover photo to get that URL in front of your audience. If your logo does not include your URL, add it! Consider what you want your Facebook Fans to do. Do you want them to Like the page? Add that as a call to action. Do you want them to visit your website, purchase a product or take advantage of a promotion? Add it! With the 20% Text Rule, you need to add some text letting your audience know exactly what you want them to do.
  3. Promotional – One of my favorite basic essentials of the Facebook Cover Photo, and something that not many small business owners take advantage of, is the ability to swap out that photo as often as you want, with as many different calls to action and themes as you want. Of course, you always want to remain true and consistent to your brand message, but consider your current content marketing campaigns and integrate that into your cover photo. Is there a holiday coming up? Use that as a theme? Are you running a contest? Talk about it in the cover photo. This is your first impression, which means that whatever you are pushing and promoting at that time should absolutely be in your cover photo.

The possibilities for Facebook’s new cover photo guidelines are truly limitless, so take advantage of them! In marketing, when you are given opportunities like this is imperative that you pounce, and pounce often with superb creativity.