4 Tips to Create the Perfect Cover Photo on Any Social Network
Do you want to find out how to improve them?
Your cover photo is the first thing anyone sees when they visit your social media profiles.
Make that first impression a positive one.
In this article I’ll share tips to improve the quality and impact of your cover images today.
#1: Pay Attention to Dimensions
When Facebook introduced the cover photo, Twitter and Google+ followed suit. The large, banner-sized cover photos allow companies to express their online persona or reflect their established branding.
When it comes to cover photo perfection for brands and organizations, there’s more to good design and layout than just finding a beautiful image and saving it.
Repurposing art without customizing it may work in some rare cases, but you run the risk of ending up with cover photo elements that stretch beyond the image boundaries.
Notice how the Facebook buttons hide the “R” in “Ride” and the top of the train is cut off. It’s possible the company reused an image from another medium without resizing it to fit the cover photo space.
Using the recommended image size for your cover photo, no matter which platform you’re on, is key. Proper sizing ensures the image works best within the space—and with an overlapping profile photo. You want to be sure your image doesn’t look distorted or cut off.
When Google+ changed the header dimensions, the tagline in this Mercedes-Benz header was cut off the by the blurred feature bio area.
In response, Mercedes-Benz loaded a new cover image designed specifically for the newer dimensions.
If you’re designing a Facebook cover photo, the recommended size is 851 x 315 pixels. The minimum dimensions you can use are 339 x 150 pixels.
Ideally, a Google+ cover photo should be 1080 x 608 pixels, but it can be up to 2120 x 1192 pixels. The smallest image you can use is 480 x 270 pixels.
As for Twitter, they have a single recommended size: 1500 x 500 pixels.
LinkedIn’s hero image has a recommended size of 1400 x 425 pixels.
#2: Use Consistent Brand Colors
Your cover photo takes up a lot of real estate on your profile. Because of that, it needs to work seamlessly with the rest of your branding.
If the colors in your cover photo don’t match your website logo colors, your page can look disjointed. Visitors may think you don’t care about your social media presence.
Cheezburger is a great example of a cover photo done right. They did a great job of creating a fun, cohesive image that matches both their modern, comedic style and plays on the name of their website.
The blue background of the cover photo matches the blue in their logo and the background of their profile photo. This page looks like the company put thought into the design and takes their profile seriously.
Your cover photo and profile picture certainly don’t need to match, but the images should use a complementary color palette.
Even though the blue spiral logo in the example above is cut off and the dark background doesn’t match either the orange of the ClickHole logo or website, this cover image works because of careful color choice.
#3: Change Images Often
Changing your cover photo takes very little effort—usually just a few clicks. Because it’s that easy, it makes sense to change your photo to complement or highlight current promotions, the season or an upcoming local event.
Local animal shelter Great Plains SPCA made great use of space in the cover photo above. While highlighting a current fundraising campaign with a local collar company, they made sure the paragraph text wasn’t covered by the profile photo and showcased the collars by making them the border of the photo.
The City of Olathe, KS, changes their cover photo to reflect the seasons and related community locations. This Facebook cover photo shows off their largest community pool, which has waterfalls and a lazy river: a perfect representation of how to enjoy summer. Additionally, the blue of the water flows with the blue sky in their profile photo.
#4: Focus on Fans
When it comes to social media, it’s all about your community. Therefore, having fan-sourced images in your cover photos can be the perfect way to connect.
Taco Bell made a fan wall of their fans’ Instagrams of their latest Taco Bell trips, then used the wall in their cover photo. If you have a fanatical user base, like Taco Bell does, fans will love seeing their photos on your social media pages.
Gossip magazine Us Weekly‘s cover photo is a collage of celebrities (the fodder for their stories) reading and holding issues of their magazines. It’s a fun way to promote different issues of their weekly magazine.
Cover photos are some of the most underutilized aspects of a social media profile, yet they take up the majority of what a user sees first above the fold when they first go to a business page.
It’s important to budget for the time and cost of a unique cover photo. While sites like QuotesCover and Canva make it easier to create a great cover photo on your own, the services of a graphic artist can ensure your photo has the perfect dimensions, sizing and format.
Above all, remember your cover photo needs to fit your brand and company perfectly.
What do you think? Will these tips affect your cover photos? What changes will you make? What tips can you share? Leave your comments below.