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  • Timeline Cover Photos: Are You Breaking the Rules?

    When Facebook launched Timeline for Pages, most people were already familiar with the new layout of the Cover Photo and Profile Picture. Personal Profiles have had Timeline for months now. The new Cover Photo gives Business Pages the opportunity to display a large image at the top of their Page.

    The Profile Picture is smaller and square — Facebook actually recommends that Pages use this space for their company logo:

    Regarding the Profile Picture: “This represents your Page on other parts of Facebook, like in news feed. Use your logo or another image that’s associated with you.”

    Oh, The Possibilities!

    When Timeline for Pages launched I was excited, as a Page Admin, to think about all of the possibilities for a new Cover Photo — we now have 851 x 315 pixels to use! The possibilities seemed endless: promoting sales, featuring a fan-of-the-month, designing a collage, displaying new products, calling out custom tabs or special offers, linking to website, etc.

    New Rules

    However, Facebook immediately notified Page Admins that there are strict guidelines for what Pages can and cannot convey in the custom Cover Photos:

    Cover images must be at least 399 pixels wide and may not contain:

    • Price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it at our website”
    • Contact information, such as web address, email, mailing address or other information intended for your Page’s About section
    • References to user interface elements, such as Like or Share, or any other Facebook site features
    • Calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends”

    Facebook


    It seems that Facebook wants Business Pages to feel less like ads and more like people — not as much of a promotion but an expression of a brand’s personality. Facebook’s Help Center specifically states the following:

    “We’ve found that people have a better experience viewing your Page when they see a cover that’s as unique as your business, brand or organization.”
    Facebook Help Center

    “Covers must not be false, deceptive or misleading, and must not infringe on third parties’ intellectual property. You may not encourage or incentivize people to upload your cover image to their personal timelines.”
    Facebook Help Center

    Since Timeline became available, we have seen many early-adopter Pages that are NOT following the rules. Others seem to be aware of the restrictions but are pushing the boundaries trying to get around the specific guidelines. But there are also many Pages that seem happy to follow the rules. We gathered up some of the most interesting examples that fall into these categories…

    (NOTE: Some of the following examples have since been changed to conform with Facebook’s guidelines.)

    Breaking Badly

    Take a look at the following examples of Pages that are clearly breaking the rules:

    Corona

    This Page breaks the “no call to action” rule and also refers to their custom tab.

    Volvo

    Volvo was breaking the rules very obviously at first, but they must have realized the mistake and you can see how their cover photo has since evolved:

    #1: Arrow to custom tab icon with call to action “click”

    #2: No more arrow, but still a call to action “click”

    #3: No arrow and no call to action.

    Have1.com

    Their company and Page name is a URL, so are they breaking the no-URL rule?

    Social Heavy

    Oops! Gotta get rid of that URL. And to me it appears this Cover Photo is primarily text-based, another no-no.

    Walking the Line

    These Pages seem to know the rules and are working hard to stay just within the lines … or are they? Some of these reflect misinterpretations of the rules:

    The Apprentice Show, NBC

    They are not explicitly saying “click on the Like button” but the arrow is a graphical call to action.

    Etsy

    Sharing their website link in a clever way: with a photo of their URL in a banner. Is it cheating?

    Yardsale

    This new mobile app (available in the San Francisco Bay Area) is like a virtual yardsale — and a cooler version of Craigslist — but is their Cover Photo breaking the rules? They have taken a photo of their promo booth that features “sale” info and their website URL — but this is not a graphic they created, it’s just a photo! What do you think?

    Armani

    The clothing brand’s Cover photo asks Fans to “Watch it on our Timeline”…Is that a call to action? Plus a reference to a Facebook feature, no?

    Top of the Class

    These Pages have found creative and interesting ways to both promote their brand AND stay safe without breaking any of Facebook’s restrictions on Cover Photos:

    Verizon

    This broadband and telecommunications company has cleverly found a way to both promote products and engage their Fans: they have asked Fans to share photos taken with their camera phones, and are using those images as Cover Photos. Each photo has a caption that tells us the name of the customer AND their device.

    Hearsay Social

    This social media marketing company shows a graphic with Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Facebook icon to show that they offer particular services. They effectively reflect their brand and communicate a message.

    Mariah Carey

    The singer has found a sneaky way to promote her profile on Twitter and other social networks without including the rule-breaking URL in her photo. The only text is “/MariahCarey” accompanied by social media icons — which would help you find Mariah quickly on Twitter or YouTube.

    MTV

    MTV is promoting an upcoming television special by displaying the show name, air date and time.

    Share Your Examples

    We would love to see your creative examples. Post a link to your amazing PAGE Cover Photo — or be a snitch and share a link to a Cover Photo that you think is breaking the rules.

    NOTE:
    The rules that are discussed in this post are for Business Pages, not Personal Profiles. However, there are restrictions that can apply to your Personal Profile Cover Photos as well (read more about subject in this great post by Mari Smith).

    Comments

    1. Anonymous says:
      • Nice!

      •  Those are clearly calls to action on that cover. ;)

        •  That’s a tricky one, since the “read the bible” “log in” and “share your success” icons are not referring to something you do on the Timeline, but rather, they refer to the product (a bible reading application) – correct? It’s a fine line!

          •  Facebook doesn’t specify what the calls to action cannot refer to in the rules, they simply so no calls to action. If a cover said, “Visit our store during our big sale” that would clearly be the kind of call to action Facebook does not want. However, I read those calls to action as referring to something they want you to do on the Timeline. Seems to be asking people to log into Facebook and share their experiences on their Timeline.

    2. This is a great list, and timely, too. Thanks Analisa!

      Actually, the rules do apply to profile pages. I know one person who received a warning for being “too commercial” and another who got a 14 day ban for showing URL’s to his other social media profiles.

    3. Here is my cover photo 
      https://www.facebook.com/walksinaklnz

    4. Joyce Joneschiet says:

      Great post! thanks for clarifying the rules for us. I think my cover photo won’t be in trouble. It’s a photo showing a before and after remodel of my work. 
      https://www.facebook.com/AginginPlaceOptionsLLC

      Thanks!
      Joyce

    5. Excellent information here.  How do you think FB will manage this?  I think its silly that you can’t include your website url or a call-to-action.  Creating a Facebook page is a means of marketing your business.  How do you have an effective marketing campaign without a call-to-action?  These new banners pretty much act as billboards you see on the highway.  Simple, clever, and to the point, minus the call-to-action.

    6. I would have thought that any reference to Facebook, as in logo, F-tile etc. would be forbidden. Also other brand name logos (not related to you) would be forbidden. Are Maria Carey and Heavy Social breaking this rule? ..or not?

    7. Looks like some have waited to long and now they are in a hurry to get it done… Well here is mine,,,do you like it?? :)
      https://www.facebook.com/Learn2Beautifi

    8. Is Hearsay Social breaking the Facebook Brand Permissions by having the Facebook logo there?

    9. Great job illustrating the “Dont’s”.  Your examples inspired some new ideas, too!  Thanks!

    10. I think this works  http://www.facebook.com/CustomMadecom?ref=tn_tnmn

      Rule breaker  http://www.facebook.com/gemvara?ref=pb

    11. Great article and it’s really good to see examples of all sorts of Cover Photos.  I just did one for my business which I hope is on track and within the rules :) https://www.facebook.com/LimeDigitalMarketing

    12. Great commentary and pics of the new timelines and food for thought, thanks! 

    13. Facebook should take a chill pill.

    14. Thanks for the post. Interesting to see how many companies are not paying attention to the rules or are disregarding them. Here’s a link to our page. Please “Like” if you like what you see! https://www.facebook.com/YesNonsense?__adt=13

    15. awesome post… loved it. thanks for sharing this. 

    16. Representing a large norwegian etailer I have had confirmation from Facebook that using a URL in the cover is allowed when the company name is registered as an URL. In our case, Komplett.no is our registered name, hence we are allowed to use that in our cover. (Not that we’re doing it yet, but we may … ) :-)

    17. Great post Analisa. It shows some great examples and some bad examples about how to create a Cover photo. It’s always a “shame” to see that big brands still don’t know how to respect the Facebook rules :-)

    18. Thanks for the useful info.
      Is this combination breaking any rules?
      http://www.facebook.com/markdunkphoto

    19. really interesting runthrough of pages here. I think the new timeline is great for small businesses. Its really helped me make my brand more cohesive, as the photo on the timeline http://www.facebook.com/knowboundariescoaching is the same as my website and allows me to personalise it with the head shot I use across most of my social media    

    20. Susan VonAchen says:

      Don’t think we’re breaking any rules.  If you have a minute, please let me know. https://www.facebook.com/AmericanManagementServices?ref=tn_tnmn  :-) TYTY

      •  Hi Don, thanks for sharing!

        Some of these examples are definitely breaking the rules – some with a lot of text (and in the case of First Baptist Church, text that is barely legible!), others with arrows (or a pointing finger, rather) and calls to action.

    21. Nice examples! Yes, Timeline for personal profiles has been around for months but the cast majority of folks, perhaps 70% have not converted over to it! Is Facebook going to enforce the rules? What if Coca-Cola doesn’t want to play fair? Would they be penalized?  It’s going to be fun to watch how this plays out!!

    22. Thanks for the examples! I thought this was a clever way to promote an upcoming production but was wondering if they were still within guidelines or pushing it: https://www.facebook.com/TheArvadaCenter?ref=ts

      •  Good question – I think this is a clever way to skirt around the rules about pricing information. This picture of tickets to an upcoming show DOES display the price, but the tickets are a “product”, and Facebook specifically states that a good use of a Cover Photo would be a picture of someone using your product!

    23. Has anyone heard of a Page getting a warning for violating the rules? Frankly, unless the violation is clearly obvious, as in your example image, I don’t see Facebook putting a lot of effort into policing this. Clearly they don’t want people turning Facebook into another MySpace fiasco with ugly graphics or giant advertisements that say something like, “Buy 3 tires and get the 4th one FREE!!! Call 1-800-IM ANIDIOT Now!!!” but I seriously doubt a photo of a storefront that happens to have a sign in the window with a phone number on it or a subtle call to action is going to be a problem.

      •  I don’t think that Facebook can possibly enforce these rules. You are right about that! But, they make them loud and clear for a reason – to scare people into doing the “right thing.” I personally think that some of these rules are for our own good – we shouldn’t be using Pages to SELLSELLSELL anyways, as you point out. The tiny infractions, like a URL, will most likely slip by without any warning.

      •  I personally think that they have made the rules strict to keep the hassles to a minimum. Say you have a competitor that notices you have broken some rule and they report you to Facebook in hopes that your page will get shut down kinda thing. Sad but we do have those types in society that truly enjoy making trouble for others. Well, that and they want to make revenues from paid marketing…

      • I suspect that your doubts about whether or not Facebook actively polices this have merit. However, perhaps it all comes down to how much you’re willing to “bet” on your hunch being correct.
        I would just as soon comply with the rules — and there are plenty of ways Timeline allows other ways to promote your goods and services — than risk getting nailed, having my Page taken down or otherwise penalized.
        Per Analisa’s post, there are plenty of opportunities available without breaking the rules and I know we’d rather just keep it “legal” to avoid any hassles.
        Of course, as I said, your risk adversity may be lower. Proceed at your own risk….

        • I never said I don’t plan to comply with the rules but then again you seem to be saying that the Mariah Cary cover is cleverly skirting the rule when in my opinion, it’s clearly breaking it. Kind of hard to follows rules when they’re open to interpretation.

          • I didn’t mean to imply you intended to break the rules, Hugh. Although I wasn’t chiming in specifically on Mariah Cary’s Page, I do see that including the “/mariahcary” in the Cover Photo *could* be interpreted as a violation.
            I don’t think such ambiguous violations are too risky. Basically, the guidelines are easy to read, and folks can read them and then make their own decisions about whether or not they’re complying. And they can post something here and get feedback.

    24. Interesting to see which big brands are doing it right, and wrong. It’s definitely a challenge to market creatively within the rules, but it’s encouraging to see how others are doing it well! 

    25. Anonymous says:

      Check out this creative cover design: https://www.facebook.com/SmartEdServices

      •  Nice! This is a good example of a Cover image that is not too text-heavy but still conveys a clear message.

    26. I love this by 17yr old young designer Laurence Andrews, clean, simple yet striking. 
      https://www.facebook.com/colourglassdesign - I think he’ll go far.

      •  Thanks for sharing that nice design – I like the connection between the Profile Picture and the Cover. Only one thing to say about that – it’s a good idea to have your Profile Picture include a company or brand logo since this is your “avatar” across Facebook (in Search and on the Timeline).

    27. I’d love to hear any feedback on the Facebook Timeline Covers I am designing for business pages! http://insightfuldevelopment.com/get-your-facebook-cover-header-designed-a-sneak-preview-of-the-new-facebook-layout.html

      It’s been tough to go around the new rules but I got the sense that Facebook wants all the traffic to go to the Page’s “about” section so that’s where I’ve been driving traffic. Then I’ve advised my clients to really beef up their About section (add a call to action there!, beef up your summary or description, add links to social networks, blog and website, etc.)

      Great blog post! Thanks for sharing.  :)

      • Hi Amber, thanks for sharing your portfolio of examples. I think your instinct to drive users to the About tab for more info (links, services, products, hours, etc) is a good one. It’s best to keep that sort of content out of the cover photo if possible. The challenge should be more about finding an image that best captures a brand’s personality and is fun, interesting and engaging at the same time! Check out some of the examples in these comments, there are some great ones.

        My main feedback would be to follow this piece of Facebook’s advice as much as possible: “your photo should not be primarily text-based.”

        I say this NOT because I think that Facebook is always right, but because we have to think about the user experience when someone comes to your Page. Looking at a Cover image with a lot of text calling out to you is distracting. The ideal is to have a user get a good first impression from the Cover Photo and then move down the Page to the Timeline where they can read posts and engage directly on the Page.

    28. We’ve highlighted Vital Alley. Our alley cam shots are a big hit on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VitalDesign

    29. i love this article.  thanks for sharing.  i’m sure there are many people out there that are unaware of these rules!

    30. great article.  thanks for sharing.  i am sure there are many pople that are unaware of the new facebook rules.

    31. Great blog post, thanks for sharing!  Facebook’s Timeline really levels the playing field for all businesses.  I like how Facebook doesn’t allow for text/images that push the company via coupons, likes, and shares.  Facebook is about associating with the brands you connect with and then engaging.  Thanks for the assortment of cover/profiles you shared.  

    32. We included our “call to action” in our about us section instead. In our cover photo, we highlighted our services with limited text and positioned it as a thank you. We think it gets our main message across and follows all Facebook rules. You can see it here http://Facebook.com/DudleyandNunez

    33.  Beautiful photo Jane! It’s good to hear that you have found the Cover Photo to be a place to expand your branding. The minimalist approach here is effective, it really makes me want to click on the link to your website in the About section to find out more!

    34.  Well, if your goal was to get me to click on your Cover Photo,  you most definitely succeeded! This is very clever, and it’s a challenging question – are you breaking any rules?

      – Like message on the button is referring to the Facebook Like button, so this could technically violate the rules.

      – Cover image has a lot of text, which potentially breaks the no “text-heavy” rule

      – Is “Don’t press this button” a call to act or a call to NOT act?

      If you want my opinion, I think it would be more effective for you to display photos in your Cover image since you are running a photography business. And your Profile Picture is a QR code, which might make sense offline, but here we are online and I cannot click on that icon to get to your website since it’s not a link. I truly think that using a logo for your Profile Picture is a best practice.

      But, I have to admit that I enjoy the overall idea and playful attempt at reverse psychology.

    35.  Or they think that they can get away with anything! As other people have pointed out – how could they possibly enforce the rules with SO many users?

    36. It’s amazing the large, corporate companies that are breaking the rules!  Thanks for sharing!

    37. Some great ideas here!
      Here’s mine: https://www.facebook.com/MonkeysLoveDonuts

    38.  Good to know, thanks for sharing.

    39.  Looks safe to me! Cover Photos for brands like web development, design and social media companies are going to be very different when compared to other types of business, because our services cannot as easily be expressed in images. So text becomes necessary. However, it’s important to avoid too much text – which I think you do well!

    40.  If this were a scavenger hunt for 1 rule breaker and 1 rule follower, you would win! These are great examples.

      Custom Made uses an image with no text – just something that clearly defines their brand.

      Gemvara, on the other hand, breaks the rules by telling people specifically to visit their website, and including the URL.

    41. Well I simply used the screen showing how good my community is. It’s a tribute to them and they were thankful. It’s a screen from SoTrender, polish social media analytics company. 
      https://www.facebook.com/blogoslawiony

    42.  Good question! I don’t think they are breaking the cover photo rules, but technically they might be infringing on Facebook’s brand guidelines.

      Here are the relevant references I have seen to Facebook’s icon, in two different places:

      1. Brand Resource Center
      https://www.facebook.com/brandpermissions/logos.php

      “6. You may not combine our Brand Assets, or elements of our Brand Assets, with your own name or mark or generic terms.7. Do not use trademarks, logos, or other content that is confusingly similar to the Brand Assets.”

      (there is a lot more on this page about the logo, if you want to learn more)

      2. Facebook’s Platform Policies
      https://developers.facebook.com/policy/

      Under section 1. Features and Functionality, #8:

      “You must not use or make derivative use of Facebook icons, or use terms
      for Facebook features and functionality, if such use could confuse users
      into thinking that the reference is to Facebook features or
      functionality.”

    43.  Good points Kris – this continues a conversation thread from above.

      “Covers must not be false, deceptive or misleading, and must not infringe on third parties’ intellectual property.”

      Do you think this is infringing on copyright even though Facebook allows people to promote their Pages with the “F” logo?

    44. Thank you for this clever use of sizes for Facebook Timeline we shared it on our Facebook page. 

    45.  Nice work Cheryl. However, some people are pointing out that using the Facebook logo could be breaking the rules…

    46.  I can answer this question:
      “How do you have an effective marketing campaign without a call-to-action?”

      With Facebook paid advertising! I think they are trying to push businesses towards buying ads rather than using the free elements of Brand Page design. What do you think?

    47.  Wonderful use of the Cover to promote your services! I really like this one :)

    48.  Simple and lovely. Very nice.

    49.  Hi Holly, thanks for pointing this out. I modified my post to clarify that I was referring to the rules specifically for Brand Pages, not Profiles. I also linked to a post by Mari Smith about the actual rules for Profiles – have you seen them listed anywhere on FB?

    50. I’d be very curious to know how strict FB plans to be about enforcing the rule violations, especially for pages similar to those in your “Walking The Line” category. It seems that the rules are overly complicated and strict – if your URL is the main component of your company logo, how can FB expect you to craft a Cover Photo that doesn’t include your logo? Looking through your examples above, it is refreshing to see that even the major brands are having a hard time coming to terms with the restrictions. I guess the main takeaway is to play it safe and not do anything that blatantly violates the rules, but it’s very low probability of being enforced if you are only “Walking the Line”.  Very helpful post!

      •  Someone else did point out in a comment that Facebook has said “ok” to brands with a URL as their official brand name. So that’s good to know.

    51. Enjoyed the article and samples. We are lucky to have wonderful pictures showing our product in action!
      http://www.facebook.com/FoodForThePoor

    52.  Clever idea!

    53.  Smart to display your portfolio pieces in your Cover!

    54.  You make a good point here Maureen – it’s ok to use a call to action in the About section, which is visible right below the cover photo! No need for a URL in your Cover image (it would not be clickable anyways).

    55. We have attracted 4000+ fans in about a year with our Free Laptop Giveaway at our page http://www.facebook.com/LIComputerRepairs!  We are a Long Island Computer Repair Company with a new logo and we are trying to brand our company as a reputable & trusted company. Please send us your feedback!  Don’t forget to view pictures of past winners and join free if you want! Thanks & Good Luck!

      •  Hi Rick, thanks for sharing. I would say that your Cover Photo pushes the limits of the rules a little bit, since it does talk about “free inspections” and “special deals.” Also, it’s a text-based image rather than a image that conveys your brand – does your company just give away computers, or do you also offer services like repairs and inspections? More important that breaking or following the rules is that you make sure your Page design overall will convey the right message to new Fans, who might be in need of your valuable services!

      • Your page link is no longer “live”.  I hope that it was your doing and not facebook.

    56. So does anyone know of (or have direct experience with) Facebook enforcing the rules and making an admin change their timeline photo on their fan page? If so, it would be interesting to hear/read the details. Right now I haven’t heard of the hammer coming down on anyone. How could they logistically enforce it, with the rules being overly complicated but vague at the same time, and with so many fan pages?

      •  Great question – I would love to hear from someone who has actually been contacted by FB regarding a Cover Photo rules violation. I will let you know if I hear anything.

    57. Interesting examples given in your post as well as comments section. It seems most are on the right path. I believe mine is legal but then again there are always multiple ways to read into anything. https://www.facebook.com/SocialMediaSue

      •  I think your design great – it is visually compelling and it clearly conveys your brand.

        The only question, which has been raised in other comments here, is whether or not the use of the Facebook logo in the Cover Photo is “legal.”

    58. Can’t see it anymore. Did FB take it down already :)

    59. Julie Molliver says:

      Awesome post.  I tried to use a photo that was compelling, and for now I’m pretty happy with it.  Hopefully the beauty of the photo will draw people in and they’ll want to read more.
      https://www.facebook.com/villagegreennurseries 

      •  Julie, I think your choice is perfect. What could possibly make me more excited about heading down to the nursery than a photo of some gorgeous plants?

        ATTENTION ALL, for this Cover Photo TIP: Make sure to add a caption/comment to your Cover Photo!! This can be text and/or a link to your website or a custom tab. When someone clicks on your Cover Photo, you don’t want to miss the opportunity to share some info.

        In your case, Julie, I would DEFINITELY include the names of the plants in your photo, and maybe pricing info if there are any special deals going on at the nursery.

        Let me know what you (and others) think, but I don’t see any rules about not putting links, price info and promotional text in the caption of your Cover photo.

    60. I not only enjoyed your post, I have enjoyed reading the comments just as much.  Great examples of ‘the little big brands’ showing off their stuff.  Thank you for allowing us to proudly display our own timeline links.
      Mine went live a few weeks ago:  http://facebook.com/MoreInMediaCompany

      •  Thanks Dorien, I am so pleasantly surprised by the great response to this post. The comments and examples have been excellent.

        I really like your Cover Photo, it’s clever and clearly expresses your brand. The only “critique” that I might anticipate is that it is text-heavy – but as many people have pointed out here, how could Facebook possible judge – let alone enforce – your adherence to their rules?!

    61. I really liked this post and the examples, and I wish I had more time to see more of the examples that commenters have posted, but I don’t. I did scroll through and read a lot of comments without visiting their pages.

      I think the rules are pretty clear, and if you’re in the ‘grey’, then you know you’re in the grey, and if your in the black, well then you know you are definitely breaking the rules.

      If you choose to go either route, you have to realize that you might get busted. I don’t see FB as being able to enforce the rules 100%, or probably not even enforce them 1%, it’s probably miniscule,  but realize, you break the rules, it might come back to bite you in the butt.

    62. People have shared a lot of nice images here!  Personally, from a “fan” standpoint, the pages that are following Facebook’s rules are a lot more inviting; as you (Analisa) pointed out previously in the comments,  they encourage scrolling down to interact.  Here is a link to my page: http://www.facebook.com/HastenHome . I tried to give a kind of snapshot overview of my main product (Vacation Bible School materials) from start to finish.

      •  I truly agree with you Sheila –  Facebook made those rules for a variety of reasons (some of which might be self-serving) but what Page Admins really need to think about is what will create a good user experience for NEW Fans. Existing Fans will not come to your Page often, if at all. So for that audience, status updates are the main tool. But potential Fans who come to your Page for the first time will be trying to decide if they want to click Like or not – and will lots of self-promoting images and text in the Cover Photo make them want to do that?

        Thanks for sharing your nice example too!

    63. ….and if I put a call to action in my profile image? Is that also breaking rules? ;)

      •  I know that Facebook encourages you to use a logo in your Profile Picture, but that is not technically a “rule” in my opinion. The problem with putting a call to action in your Profile Picture is that your Profile Picture is your avatar all over Facebook – in News Feeds, searches and on your Wall. A call to action out of place might be confusing to your Fans and potential Fans.

    64. Great article and shares – I am interested to see if Facebook are going to “police” their rules and warn page owners if their cover image breaks the rules and if so then how will they do this with so many business pages out there?

      https://www.facebook.com/thehow2girl

      •  They can’t possible deal with each and every Page that breaks the rules! You pose another good question – will they “warn” people breaking the rules? Or will there be some sort of punishment?

    65. Anonymous says:

      This is going to be fascinating to watch and see what happens if someone breaks the rules particularly small businesses and even marketing persons. There are so many examples of rule breaking on Facebook sometimes it’s even hard to know does anyone follow the rules at all ….
       

      •  Thanks for the examples Michael.

        One comment I have on this Page – https://www.facebook.com/MSQRD2 – is that the Cover Photo does not really tell me anything about the business – it’s just a bunch of social media icons. If this is a Photography business, how would I know that from the Cover Photo? The camera lens icon in the corner is not really enough. Let me know if you think I am missing something :)

        However, the examples of Pages with nice big juicy photos of products – hello Grandma’s Biscottini! – are really compelling.

    66. Hello! Thank you for this great article. Although it clarifies the rules very well, I’m still confused whether the cover photo I did could get me in trouble or not, since it’s mostly text-based. Would you please take a look and let me know? Thank you in advance!

      https://www.facebook.com/quotecards

      • I think that yours is a unique situation since your business is completely centered around text-based “quote cards” so this Cover image, while it IS text-heavy, effectively communicates your brand’s personality! I would not be worried :)

    67. Have a look at an advertising agency’s meta approach to the cover photo that walks a fine line with the rules. While it lasts. https://www.facebook.com/brunnerworks

    68. Most of those are clear violations of the new TOS. However, Facebook (like Google) grants immunity to major brands because that’s who spends the most. Should the average small business owner do this, you can expect the axe to come down.

      Marketers will have to adapt to the new changes to be compliant. The new TOS for business pages are completely asinine.

    69. Heres the header I thought was ok for the RadioDJ fan page 

      http://www.facebook.com/radiodjautomation

    70. All great example of Facebook times – there could be a few that break the rules, however Facebook is also vague with some of the rules.  I included social media “links” in my timeline image to see if they say anything: http://scottwyden.com/photographers-facebook-page-timeline/

    71. I was proud of my nice cover with an arrow asking people to LIKE but thanks for the info about the regulations. I’ve just changed mine and taken my cue from the Mariah Carey cover you posted. And when people click on my cover photo it takes them to links to my website, Youtube etc!  http://www.facebook.com/dccardwell

    72. It definitely is a challenge trying to comply with these rules. I have included quite a bit of text in my 2 cover photos, but I still think I’m ok. Do you agree? http://www.facebook.com/gloriarandcopywriter and http://www.facebook.com/socialmediadoc 

    73. So what’s you opinion is this breaking the rules? 
      https://www.facebook.com/Tucson12

    74.  The URL in the photo is definitely breaking the rules.

      • Yea I figured that’s not a page I built, thankfully. I tried to explain it to them in a private message but they don’t seem to care. My question is if they can do it that means others are doing it and what exactly do you think will happen to these pages and how will facebook find them? I also took your suggestion on https://www.facebook.com/msqrd2 tell me what you think? It’s funny I built all those other pages and I was the one that needed the most help. lol

    75.  Hi Gloria. I think that you are right – these are text-heavy. However, I think that they both effectively convey your brand’s personality, and I would not worry about being reported to Facebook as a “rule-breaker.”

    76.  Very good job adding those links to your Cover Photo’s caption!!

      •  Thanks Analisa. It’s a simple little trick that I haven’t seen too many others do, but I felt that I could tempt people to click on the social media icons on my cover, and then they would be led to the links – simple and (hopefully) effective. Always trying to think of ways to subvert Facebook’s limitations!

    77. Does adding your social media icons break Facebook’s timeline cover restriction rules? I read through the comments but could not see a definite YES or NO (although, I admit that I could have missed a comment or two). Thanks. ~ Razmik

    78. Hi I have just finished our pages, for a small business like ours I think we have done a decent job
      http://facebook.com/ninoestradaphotography
      http://facebook.com/hubabag

    79. Wow.

    80. Ben Harvey says:

      Would it be breaking the rules to simply have an image that clearly conveys what the business is about, while including only a city or town name on the cover instead of an address? This would tell people which area the business is in butnothing more!

    81.  It is actually unclear…since Facebook does allow you to use their icon on their site if you link back to your Page or Profile.

      My question is: why do you need to promote your Facebook Page on your Page?

    82. One_Finger_short_of_a_Hand says:

      Surely a QR code is a call to action?

      • Analisa says:

         I don’t consider a QR code to be a call to action. However, it is essentially a URL, which are not allowed either.

        My real question here would be, why do you need a QR code on the web? QR codes are for print, since they take you to a website from a mobile device. Using a QR code online is useless, since you can’t click on them like you could with a hyperlink.

        • One_Finger_short_of_a_Hand says:

          I agree that QR is for something other than the web, but in here in the UK you see them mostly there and in digital form, such as emails. Perhaps the hardest concept to get over to designers is that a QR needs some form of descriptor, other wise they are meaningless and less trusted. There are a few uses for on line though, such as uploading an app (or link to) to a phone that you have found online (if you are prehistoric like me)

    83. Analisa says:

       Nino, my first bit of advise is to eliminate the QR codes, since they don’t really make sense on the Web, let alone in your Cover Photo. What you are missing, that is REALLY important, is a URL in the caption of your Cover Photos. When I click on that image, I should be seeing a link to whatever that QR code is linking to!

      Otherwise I think the Cover Photos you have created are really nice! I particularly like the integration with the Profile Photo in the photography example, and the nice Custom Tab images on Hubabag.

      Thanks for sharing :)

    84. Good point about the use of QR codes for apps, I can see how that would be an exception. Also, you are right that they really need a descriptor so that people know what they are going to be linked to!

    85. Hope my page is ok. What does everyone think? http://www.facebook.com/mountscg

    86. I have some page timelines up but the cover profile does not always display for people. Going to secure browsing seems to work, but then anonymous users of the FB site can’t see the cover photo if they entered the site using http instead of https. Anyone else have this issue? thanks 

    87. Oh, I really love the way Mariah Carey break the rule.  As I see on many FB pages, there are no punishment for the breaking, is that true?

    88. Well since timeline has been released facebook’s so called timeline cover photo rules are FAIL I see many people with there website URL’s, Call to Action’s and text heavy cover photo’s they have been this way since the change. So while us rule followers sick back and envy others what say ye? I went as far as contacting Facebook Marketing and asked the question several ways about what are you planning on doing about it and like a good politician they skated around a direct answer. If I didn’t have about 50 clients under my wing that I admin I would be there right along with other’s, it doesn’t seem fair that there were rules put in place and they can be broken.

    89. Great article! Very useful. With my cover image you don’t see the link to my website unless you click on the image, is it breaking any rules? http://www.facebook.com/ClipicLtd

    90. Thank you for this information.

      I am so inept at the stuff…I just read your article and changed my photo but it’s difficult to pick one picture to convey what I do. Also, resizing my photo’s is equally as difficult. How do you pick one photo to shout out your business and will not break Facebook’s rules??

      http://www.facebook.com/BlackPearlCreations

    91. retrobou says:

       Well, I for one, am not taking a chance.  Look what happened to these 2 companies for breaking the rules…whammo, page deleted.
      http://www.marketinggum.com/what-you-cannot-do-on-facebook-page-admins-read-these-rules/

    92. Fonda A. Martin says:

      Is this cover image breaking the rules then? I’m especially curious about that band .. are you aloud to include a picture of a product that has your website written on it??
      https://www.facebook.com/180moviecom 

    93.  If your company name is a URL, that is fine, as far as I know. But you have several unmistakable calls to action in your Cover Photo. The “Click below” and arrows are breaking the rules.

      • Fonda A. Martin says:

        Well, it’s not my site — I just wanted to make double check that I understood this before I alerted them to this article. I would HATE to see them shut down!! What’s up with all these cover rules by Facebook anyways?? Oh well, it’s their site.. lol
        Thanks, Analisa!

    94.  If your company is selling products, then showcasing the most popular and most visually appealing products would be a smart way to use your Cover Photo.

    95. FineFurniture says:
    96. They haven’t changed there cover yet, many others are breaking the rules facebook hasn’t done a thing except change the size of the profile pic, lol

    97. I just created this cover photo for my husband’s business – https://www.facebook.com/diywebsitecoach

    98. Cathy Davis says:

      Great information!  Thanks!
      I have a quick question… these rules apply ONLY to the cover photo itself, correct?  and not to the featured image?  I have had my url in my featured image but reading how pages are being shut down is making me second guess.

      (mine is http://www.facebook.com/sidetrackedmom if you want to take a peek)

    99. Why worry? There is plenty of people breaking the so called rules that are no being enforced.

    100. Very nice informative article. I think every Facebook user should be aware of these rules. 
      http://www.NationwideManpower.com 

    101.  how do you go about doing that :-/ can anyone help me out? …

      • Analisa says:

        Add a link in the caption/description of your Cover Photo

        • I’m wondering if adding links in captions is within the rules? I cannot find anything that says it’s not… but I can’t find anything that says it is either. I’m getting a bit paranoid about fb’s rules! I’ve asked them the question, hopefully they’ll answer.

    102. Mariah Carey’s does break the rules because you can’t post about competing social networks.

    103. Olivia Coote says:
    104. Analisa says:

      Looks great! Happy Mother’s Day

    105. These is an EXCELLENT & though provoking post. I really appreciate the section where that simulate our thinking about how to push the boundaries with out breaking the rules. I see many  pages that are (unknowingly) breaking the rules & as graciously as possible tell them now I just give then this URL.

      Lisa Ann Landry – Social Media Marketing Trainer
      Licensed Coach – The SNCC Way
      http://www.socialnetworkingcoachingclub.com/
      Need a light? I’m an exuberant force of light… Come light up your life!

    106. I’ve found my facebook cover on http://Timelineimages.com . The images there are already cropped and most important, the first 3 are free. You don’t need to break the rules or worry about copyright infringement, on TimelineImages you get the licence to use the image for social media.

    107. I wonder if I’m breaking the holiest rule of them all?
      http://www.facebook.com/pages/I-make-fb-pages/324112137667317

      • Analisa says:

        This is an interesting one…no call to action, no sales info…just what you do! I think it’s fine.

    108. Breaking the rules? https://www.facebook.com/salesforce Looks like it to me! 

    109. I’ve been using http://www.fbcoverskins.com since timeline started they have lots of unique covers plus on their facebook page they take request and will even do personal covers for free

    110. I was wondering if you include your fb username? https://www.facebook.com/midnightstudios.co.za

    111. I maintain a Facebook page for a local non-profit. Do these rules also apply to non-profits? Or do they have a different set of rules?

      • I haven’t seen any official Facebook documentation that cites special cases for non-profits. Basically, Facebook doesn’t want Timeline banners to be large advertisements or contain URLs that take the user away from Facebook.

    112. please make the translation in Indonesian

    113. Rosanna Miller says:

      How so? Which rule have they broken?

    114. Analisa says:

      I will be traveling overseas until March 9, 2011 and unavailable. Please contact Jason Amor at HyperArts with any social media or other inquiries: jason@hyperarts.com.
      Thank you,
      Analisa Svehaug

      Social Media Manager
      HyperArts
      @socialarts

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