Make the Most of Your Social Media Cover Images [SBB Tip #1]

Small Business Branding Tip #1

As small business owners, we’re all about working smarter, not harder! At Guglik Design, we care about your business and we care about branding. That’s why we’re launching this series on brand tweaks you can take care of yourself that will increase your credibility, expand your brand, and hopefully make people want to work with you! Once you implement one, it will continue to pay off as you move on to the next.

Let’s start with social media cover images.

Examples of Krispy Kreme cover images on different social media platforms

If you’re a small business owner, most likely you’re on one, if not several, social media platforms. Most of the main ones give you an opportunity to personalize your page with a cover image. Also called a header image, background photo, or channel art, this is the large image that stretches across the top and is sometimes behind your profile photo. Here are some examples from Krispy Kreme—why not?!

Why you should care

We should always care when legitimate people or companies give us FREE opportunities to promote our small businesses. Let’s make sure we take advantage of them. That’s how your small business becomes bigger. It’s another chance to make a great first impression! And don’t forget—a picture is worth a thousand words.

What that image can do for you

Why use the default image when you could take this opportunity to make your potential clients feel inspired by your company, drool over your products, or catch the mood of what your company is all about? Depending on your business, the possibilities are endless as to what you can use for that image—feature your products, show your business in action, or just use a simple image that sends a message or sets a tone for your business. Shoot your own photos or look into free, open-source stock photography at pixabay.com or one of the other great sites out there.

PRO TIP: Select an image that reinforces the colors used in your branding. That cover image used in combination with your logo will create a strong and memorable impression!

It probably makes sense to use the same image across all your social media profiles, but you may have a good reason for varying them, like Krispy Kreme does above. Read on for specifics before implementing!

What not to do with the image

  • Don’t try to customize the image with a lot of text or logos. Because of the cropping, this is extremely hard to do successfully. (You can see in the example how Krispy Kreme’s text got cut off on the Facebook mobile app.)
  • Don’t use a low-quality photo. Your photo should be crisp and clear. Upload it on a computer instead of your phone and use the largest size available. It’s okay to use a photo that’s larger than the recommended specs.
  • Don’t use a personal or family photo. Unless your business is based on that aspect of your personal life, keep your business page focused on your business.

Image specifications

As of December 2018

Most of the sites use a very wide, short image crop. Based on your device, they also show and hide different parts of the image. On mobile, the image will probably be narrower and taller, but may be partially hidden by your profile image. This is why your image should not be too crop-specific and you should make sure that its main punch is in the vertical center.

Here are the details for the main social media sites. We’ve also included a cheat sheet you can download and refer to as you work on your cover images.

Cheat sheet showing social media cover image specifications

If you want to use the same image for all, we suggest starting with the Youtube specs!

File format: JPG or PNG should work for all

LinkedIn

Personal page

Company page

Twitter

Facebook

Youtube

How do you make an image these sizes?

If you have Adobe Photoshop or another image editor, you can easily crop to these sizes. If not, you can search for an online image editor or app that will do this for you. If free and easy is your style, look at the rectangle ratios on the cheat sheet and try to crop your image as close as possible to the shapes shown. Note that your source image should already be horizontal because if you crop this shape out of a vertical (portrait) shape, the file size will end up being too small.

We hope this post has been helpful! Happy cover image-ing!


This is the first of a series of pro design tips for strengthening your small business branding using small, inexpensive steps you can implement yourself. Stay tuned for more! And of course, get it touch with us at Guglik Design for help with all your small business branding needs!

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