Many small businesses are still perfecting their Facebook Page’s layout after Facebook’s Timeline changes, but there’s some definite proof that your Page can look great once you master the visual potential.
That said, you need to be very careful with Facebook’s Terms of Service: cover photos aren’t supposed to directly promote anything, whether that’s a great discount or a call to Like the Page.
That can make finding an engaging image a bit of a challenge, so we recently took a look at small businesses (all of them are Constant Contact customers, too!) that have mastered the art of the cover photo.
Here’s what we learned from them:
1. Take an action shot
Who: Add Helium
What: Add Helium, a scuba supply store, took an already amazing photograph and added a compelling slogan to it.
Just by glancing at the photo, you know what the store sells and how customers use the equipment.
2. Show off your products
Who: In A Pickle
What: In A Pickle has a lot of unique creations. That’s part of the restaurant’s selling point, so the cover photo often shows off some of the latest dishes.
Any business can use a cover photo as a place to showcase their products, but make sure that it’s not too sales-y.
3. Give visitors some encouragement
Who: 99 Bottles
What: The cover photo for 99 Bottles doesn’t have any hard purchase information, but does give information about the store itself that can help visitors get interested.
The store uses tabs effectively too, whether that’s to encourage fans to vote for 99 Bottles in an upcoming contest or to show off press releases.
4. Make sure people know the story behind your products
What: We’ve featured BellaSoleil.com before, since the Italian pottery store made $10,000 with Social Campaigns. Here, we can see that to show just how authentic the products are, founder Elaine Topper uses a picture of Italy for her cover photo, then highlights a few products in the profile picture.
Elaine also uses a picture of pottery to promote the ongoing giveaway she’s running through Social Campaigns.
5. Show why customers should want to visit
What: The cover photo of Belmore Court & Motel more or less immediately inspires an urge to visit the beautiful area of Enniskillen, Ireland, and the profile picture gives potential guests an idea of where they would be staying.
Owner Terry McCartney also makes extensive use of third-party apps; from Constant Contact’s Join My List app to a “Book Now!” app that allows Facebook fans to book their vacation right from their Page.
6. Show people visiting
What: While we’re covering businesses across the pond, let’s take a look at Craigie’s Farm in Edinburgh, Scotland. The farm’s cover photo allows fans to imagine themselves in the very same location as the tour group.
And Craigie’s shows that it’s OK to get a little artsy with the profile picture, too—the strawberry serves to show off what visitors can find at Craigie’s and adds a splash of color to the cover photo.
7. Show people where they’ll be visiting
What: You can always feature your storefront on your cover photo, too. Here, Galuppi’s uses a unique perspective that fans don’t get a chance to see every day.
At the same time, the picture allows fans to appreciate the restaurant and the scenery around it.
8. Make a collage of what you do
Who: Splintered Studios
What: Artist Stephen Quick uses his cover photo to showcase some of his artwork, and his profile picture to quite literally show himself in action.
9. Make a collage of what your product does
What: SpeechGear provides enterprise-level software that helps translate different languages in real-time. That’s a concept that can sometimes be difficult to picture for real world applications, so the cover photo helps showcase all the different uses for the product.
To further drive the point home, SpeechGear uses one tab to link to videos and demos of the software in action.
10. Make a collage of what you sell
Who: The Calico House
What: The Calico House is a pretty special store that sells different quilting materials.
Owner Janeese Olson uses the store’s cover photo to get that message across right away, and uses a profile picture that both adds a personal touch and gives fans an idea of what the store looks like. We can also see that Janeese uses her tabs to link to the Calico House’s Pinterest Page and her email marketing newsletters.
11. Show off what you create
What: For Sugaree’s, cover photos are… a piece of cake. Sorry, I had to.
The bakery features all sorts of desserts for fans to look at and you can see that this cover photo syncs up with a new contest Sugaree’s is running with Social Campaigns.
12. Show your impact on the community
What: The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce is likely to have a very specialized fan base: residents of Bloomington, Indiana, and the surrounding area.
The cover photo is a great opportunity for organizations to show off their pride and influence in the local community.
13. Make sure people know you’re popular
Who: The Four Firkins
What: Nothing’s better for a business than an endorsement from their customers. The Four Firkins clearly knows this and their cover photo is proof of the beer store’s popularity.
Any business that hosts regular events can make those events a cover photo—just make sure to get permission from people who are explicitly featured in the picture.
14. Show why your business is unique
Who: Wild Rumpus Books
What: If your business has something that keeps people coming back—especially something that other businesses don’t—then don’t forget to use your cover photo to feature that.
Wild Rumpus Books has free range chickens that roam the bookstore, and a close-up photo is just the thing to show the store’s quirky personality and the great experience that goes with it.
15. Sum up what you do
What: We featured Innovative Global Vision in 25 Ways B2Bs Can Use Facebook for Brand Awareness, because their cover photo was so effective. The cover photo can help visitors immediately see what the company does and whether it’s relevant to them just by looking at the photo itself. After all, a picture is worth 1,000 words.
16. Give fans something to explore
Who: The Tea Spot
What: If you want visitors to spend more time getting to know your company’s personality, then the cover photo is a great place to start. Rather than one image and one message, The Tea Spot uses the cover photo as an opportunity to take visitors through a visual journey that’s fun, interesting, and original.
As a result, you feel like you know the company’s values before you even start scrolling down the Timeline.
Don’t forget to change things up
Your cover photo should be like a revolving door of pictures. It’s not hard to change a picture and having an ongoing series of interesting cover photos can help keep fans coming back to your Page to check out what’s new.
As businesses keep doing more innovative things with cover photos, we’re bound to see some really interesting things. This is still a very new medium for companies to express themselves, so think about what you want fans to see and have fun while you’re doing it!
How does your business use Facebook cover photos? Share below!