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.
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”
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.)
Take a look at the following examples of Pages that are clearly breaking the rules:
This Page breaks the “no call to action” rule and also refers to their custom tab.
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.
Their company and Page name is a URL, so are they breaking the no-URL rule?
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.
Sharing their website link in a clever way: with a photo of their URL in a banner. Is it cheating?
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?
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:
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.
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.
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 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.
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).