Images are powerful storytellers. Given the right context, they can shape decisions and compel people to act. They have the power, for instance, to show us that humankind is capable of great things. However, many others remind us of the times that we seem to have lost some of our humanity, and our capacity to perform horrific acts.
Today, images still revolutionize how we think and decide. Our smart devices provide us with a daily dose of hundreds of images, many of which carry brand stories we personally subscribe to. The sheer volume of images compel us to just glance over the common ones and forget them altogether. There lies the danger of being forgotten or passed over – the one thing that spells horror for a marketer or storyteller.
In Facebook, the banner or cover photo is a prime strip of online real estate that every business or fan page should take advantage of. Given the way that Facebook can provide exposure to brands through the use of profile photos in suggestion boxes, brand marketers often resort to putting logos to make sure the existing market can recognize their name from the crowd. The problem there is that all the audience sees is a sea of logos with nothing exciting on them. This is where the cover page comes in.
When you hover above a Facebook profile page or fan page link, Facebook automatically displays the cover and profile photo you can expect when you visit their page. In a split second, the social media site allows users to decide whether what they see is worth visiting. Making a good split-second first impression is the one thing you should master and think about when choosing how to display your cover/banner photo and logo on social networking sites.
When you look at the different ways individuals and brands display themselves on Facebook, you can see certain patterns in the way they choose which profile and banner photos to display. Many company pages display prominent logos as profile photos, while their flagship product is shown on the cover photo. Some choose to display logo profile photos over a background cover photo made up of a bold company color. Given these patterns, how can pages like yours stand out? Here are some brilliant Facebook banner ideas that might help you decide:
Banners That Use Grids
The cover photo offers a large space for featuring a wide array of options. For news, magazines, television, and other media or entertainment pages, this can be a great way to highlight outstanding content that can be seen on their sites. Where else can you display such a large amount of content for a targeted audience without looking as though you forced them there?
You can also opt to play with the alignment of grids to allot bigger spaces for more recent or important stories. For Yahoo News, the Facebook banner spot became a good space to feature the year’s biggest stories. For National Geographic, it’s a prime spot to feature their best wildlife photography. Lastly, for Funny or Die, the cover photo was used as a display case for their funniest characters and skits.
(source: Yahoo News Facebook Page)
(source: National Geographic Facebook Page)
(source: Funny or Die Facebook Page)
Banners That Feature Content
While others use grids, some banners can include text content or lists that also highlight what’s on the brand website. For instance, the banner below by Vintage Books shows the authors that the label carries, giving users a glimpse of what can be found in their usual product lineup. Creative lists can also be a cover photo feature for brands that show top report results, or recent awardees.
(source: Vintage Books Facebook Page)
Banners That Highlight Campaigns
While some brands use banners to highlight ongoing show titles and such, some use it to maximize ongoing campaigns. For nonprofit organizations like Human Rights Watch, UNICEF, Amnesty International, and Save the Children, the Facebook banner space is perfect for spreading the word on their advocacies. This move works best for organizations that use evocative images, profound quotes, and calls to action that can immediately grab the attention of their intended audience. This can also work well for sites with political or artistic messages. Make sure that you don't overdo the graphic images and that you're in touch with your audience’s sensitivities, however, as the wrong images can easily horrify the users you are targeting to capture.
(source: Human Rights Watch Facebook page)
(source: UNICEF Facebook page)
(source: Save the Children Facebook page)
(source: Amnesty International Facebook page)
Banners That Take Advantage of Logos
Another way to do it is to play around with your logo or brand name. Imaginative visual play can go a long way if you want to repeat the messages you want to convey to the audience. This works especially well for well-known logos, such as that of Penguin Books, for which the actual penguin can serve as an on-screen mascot. This can also work well for brands with real-life mascots, like restaurants and sports teams. The MIT Media Lab, Harvard University Press, and Coca-Cola, on the other hand, took advantage of the existing manifestations of their logos, such as those used on books or bottles, and used them as eye-catching covers.
(source: Penguin Books Facebook page)
(source: MIT Media Lab Facebook page)
(source: Harvard University Press Facebook page)
(source: Diet Coke Facebook page)
Banners That Feature Products or Services
Since you already have that much space to begin with, all free to display what you want without additional pay, why not use it to actually shine the spotlight on your products and services? Brands like Lazada and Udacity did just that on their fan pages, allowing users to immediately see featured products or services that they can take advantage of. Google, on the one hand, maximized the space by putting their family of products in one place, thus showing their audience the range of their products and services.
(source: Lazada Facebook page)
(source: Udacity Facebook page)
(source: Google Facebook page)
Banners That Feature Brand Themes
If your brand uses multiple Facebook accounts to feature various types of content, you can also use the cover and profile photo areas to make your branding more coherent. In the case of the Guardian below, the design uses the same graphic elements, but with differentiators to depict what the page is for, such as a group of people for the Jobs page and popcorn for the Film page. Meanwhile, the Guardian Culture and Cities pages show consistency in using logos but used the banner area to signify specific content. CoExist, CoCreate, and CoDesign, on the other hand, took advantage of their similar-looking logos to establish coherence, thus freeing the banner photo to display content specific to each brand.
(source: Guardian Jobs Facebook page)
(source: Guardian Film Facebook page)
(source: Guardian Culture Facebook page)
(source: Guardian Cities Facebook page)
(source: CoCreate Facebook page)
(source: CoDesign Facebook page)
(source: CoExist Facebook page)
Banners That Show Vision
While there are benefits to displaying recent episodes, editions, or promotions on the banner page, some brands prefer to make more lasting marks on them. LinkedIn and edX opted to use the area to display their slogan or vision, easily letting others get a feel of what to expect on their page and their site content as a whole.
(source: LinkedIn Facebook page)
(source: edX Facebook page)
Banners That Unify Graphic Elements
Ever since Facebook banners were introduced, brands have continually stumbled while trying to look for ways to outdo their competitors’ display photos. Unifying graphic elements in the banner and profile photo is one way to catch the attention of users who are still trying to know what your brand is about. If your brand’s logo is flexible enough to go on various backgrounds, you can use it to your advantage similar to how Catchlight did it on their page. By seamlessly editing their profile photo to appear as though it’s part of the cover page, your audience will surely appreciate that additional style and effort put into your page. The profile and banner photos can also be unified with the use of similar colors, as Adidas was able to successfully do on its page.
(source: Catchlight Facebook page)
(source: Adidas Facebook page)
Facebook banner photos – when artistically and mindfully blended with your profile photo, logo, and branding design – can help you make your mark on the social media platform. As we have seen in the examples above, there are a myriad of creative ways to do it, from picking elements and colors that go with your logo to using photos that evoke emotions.
One important thing to remember is that Facebook banner images are the first and largest space that your audience will see. Treat it as you would a billboard for a prime spot in the metro, except for this, you are sure that people will be looking right into your page and not elsewhere on the street. To maximize it, start first by building a vision for your brand – the impression that you want it to make to your visitors. While emotional and political images work best for nonprofit sites, you have to assess if the same effect is apt for your brand. While eCommerce sites can just easily feature their latest products, think of other out-of-the-box ways that you can do so without seeming like you’re hard-selling.
Ultimately, the Facebook cover page that you want should be faithful to your brand and not just a mere gimmick that you think will make people click to check your page out. There is nothing more disastrous than for brands to masquerade as fun or stylish while otherwise uptight in terms of vision and product offers. Brilliant Facebook banners may be one way to do it, but keep in mind that it’s just one of many ways to market your page.