It isn't often I want to start a blog post off by saying "forget what I told you before" but when it comes to the Facebook cover image that is the case. It turns out Facebook has relaxed its previously strict guidelines to what could and could not be included in cover images for Facebook business pages. Before I share how you can get back to business with your Facebook cover image, let's do a quick review of what the rules used to be.
• No contact information was allowed and this included email addresses, website URL's, phone numbers and even street addresses.
• No calls to action were allowed, so you could not ask people to visit your website, like your page, share your specials or anything like that.
• Any references to Facebook features were prohibited, so pointing to the like button, or indicating your different tabs were not allowed.
• No prices or purchase information was allowed, so for instance, you could not have a picture of your latest product with a 40% off sale sign on it.
You can now do any and all of these things, however, you have to do them within the limitations of the last remaining rule, and that is the 20% text rule.
What does 20% text rule mean? Well, basically it means that any text you have on your cover photo cannot take up more than 20% of the image. This can become tricky when you design your image, as you have to be as concise and strategic with your message as possible.
So exactly how do you get back to business with your Facebook cover image? For starters, think about what you want to promote about your business. Do you want to upload a general cover to get people to like your page? Or, do you have a great special that you want people to buy? Or, are you looking to get more people to visit your website? Your goal is the first thing you need to decide on when designing your cover image. If you opt for a few concepts, make one for each element you want to promote and rotate them. In fact, changing your Facebook cover fairly often to reflect new promotions, try out new calls to action or direct people to an opt-in landing page is a great strategy to illicit more response.
Of course you must also work out how to fit your ideas into the 20% text rule. Here is a template I like to use or you can create your own. Basically, you can create any square or rectangular shape that covers 1/5th of the image. This could be located all down the right hand side, as a square block in the center of the image, or split up with a "Like Us" indicator on the right bottom corner, a "Visit Our Site for a Free Survey" in the center, and a website address in the top left hand corner.
Also, don't forget your Facebook cover image now pops up when a user hovers over your page name in their newsfeed or friend's profile giving you one more reason to make sure it properly represents your brand and quickly communicates your message.