Facebook changes its cover photo rules – again!

In March 2013, Facebook relaxed its cover photo rules, which lead to business owners and marketers across the land breathing a collective sigh of relief.

Prior to March, the rule was that you could not include any ‘calls to action’ in your cover photo. In other words, you couldn’t tell anyone to do anything. This included adding price information, click to ‘like’ arrows, contact details, special offers, web address, phone numbers or indeed anything that might be deemed useful to a business’ marketing efforts.

Losing this rule was great news, but now the rules have been relaxed even further. This month, Facebook have taken away the “20% text rule”, which dictated how much text you could have in your cover photo. How this was measured was the subject of much controversy, with Facebook even allegedly admitting that some cover photos where checked by an algorithm and some others by real people. There was a general lack of understanding of what 20% meant, and a complete lack of consistency in how Facebook policed this rule.

But now that has gone too! And so the only rules, according to the official Facebook guidelines are:

All cover photos are public, which means anyone visiting your Page will be able to see the cover photo. Cover photos can’t be deceptive, misleading, infringe on anyone else’s copyright or be in violation of the Pages Terms. You may not encourage people to upload your cover photo to their personal timelines.

Whilst this appears to give you carte blanche to put whatever you like in your cover photo it is still wise to proceed with an element of caution. Your cover photo is and always will be a public representation of your brand and you should treat it as you would any of your marketing.

A few key things to remember are:

  1. How does the cover photo look? Is it jam-packed with so much text and fancy imagery that no-one will ever be able to see what you’re trying to tell them? The cover photo is 851 pixels wide by 315 pixels high and that isn’t too much space. Try promoting one event or product at a time with a nice image and a few key words.
  2. Although the ‘call to action’ rule has long since been removed, that doesn’t mean you should ram your services down your fans’ throats. They are on your Facebook page because they like your brand and the way you talk to them, so respect that and don’t abuse it. Be more subtle in your sales message and make them want your product because they like and trust you. Don’t be a dodgy dealer.
  3. Use a great image. The golden rule here is KISS (keep it simple, stupid or short and simple). Don’t try and create a fancy collage of all your wares when one larger image of a single item would tell a more compelling story. Our eyes can only take in so much, so the simpler the better.

Don’t forget: whenever you change your cover photo, it appears in you fans’ newsfeeds so make sure you change it regularly!

Keep it simple

 

Libby Langley

Libby loves social media marketing and training. She founded Zest Communications in 2011 to help businesses communicate more effectively with their customers through social media and now offers the UK’s first social media marketing BTEC qualification for business.

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