Your social media headers are not just images that are there to make your profile look pretty; they have the potential to do so much more. What most people are oblivious to is the fact that cover images can be leveraged to fortify the essence of your brand and imprint your message on the minds of the visitors! While you manage that by keeping up a constant stream of engaging images, feed, and tweets, your cover image is the first, and sometimes the only image your visitors see before they leave your page. Make sure it sticks in the minds and says the right things. Here are a few ideas on choosing images that resonate with your business:
Hit the Tender Spot with a Striking Photograph
A single striking, mesmerizing photograph is all that tons of brands are leveraging to leave a lasting impression. It may be a stock image or an original photograph, but it has to incorporate the core message they are trying to communicate across to their audience, whether that message is one of desire, appreciation, awe, or marketing. The photograph has to embody it to perfection.
This trend is rather universal, spanning home goods, entertainment, travel, fashion, and more. Here are a few ideas for capitalizing on single images:
- A textured photograph can work wonders for your header, especially if the texture beautifully complements the contents of your page. This header of Tanya Shatseva‘s page utilizes an image of mixed paints that is not only pleasing and engaging to look at, but also supplements her artwork nicely.
- If your brand has a creative soul with an entire page dedicated to your craft, you can flaunt the tools of your trade with a header. You can give your audience an intimate sneak peak into your methods and processes by using a simple photograph of your day-to-day tools and utensils as your header image.
- If you have a genius team behind the scenes, your Cover image can shed some light on them. A simple and elegant group photograph lets your viewers sneak a glimpse into your business and humanize it. Putting faces to names is the best way to accomplish this.
- Retail businesses have a great opportunity at flaunting their products by displaying them in their header images. Simply choose your latest offering or a collection of key items and order them effectively and neatly against an uncluttered background to create an eye-catching design.
- If your work environment has a bearing on the work you produce, why not let your audience see it in your cover image. Sharing your private workspace with your fans allows them a sneak peek into your world, and makes you appear more real and approachable.
- Sometimes, it works to be direct. If you know exactly what you want to say, you can say it in your Cover image.
- Feature your customers or members in your covers and make them feel like a part of your community. Putting up fans on your social media headers creates the necessary buzz and excitement. For instance, by highlighting a successful event in your headers, your loyal customers can act as an endorsement of your business. Next time your brand hosts an event, click a shot and use it.
- If you are lucky enough to glean a picturesque or a thriving business location, why not snap a great shot of your storefront with the surrounding scenery or a panoramic view of your location and draw in customers with a stunning cover image.
- Take an Action Shot. Especially for adventure or travel related pages, stun your audience with breathtaking shots that entice them to be a part of some daring or picturesque scene. An action shot like the one shown below, will surely tempt your fans into planning their next biking trip with you.
- Your header image can also feature an element that makes your business unique and different. For instance, the Silbury Hill Alpacas leveraged their best asset and mastered a striking shot of the Alpacas, as if showing the customers what is waiting for them in the farms.
- A panoramic picture of your store or business is a great way to entice your customers in. A header image that allows your customers to get a glimpse of your store interiors, may incite them to pay you a visit sooner than they intended.
- Another great idea to make your fans feel included is to host events, photograph them, and choose a stunning photograph as your header image.
Use Your Cover Image as a Space to Advertise
Your social media headers are one of the most viable spots to advertise, since they are the most seen parts of the pages. Imagine your social media headers as your personal billboards. If you have a new course, an upcoming event, a promotion, an imminent give-away, a new location, a milestone, a new venture, or a product launch that you want your audience to know about, a great idea is to draft a header that reflects your latest offerings. Pizza Hut has subtly worked it in to its cover image to double the impact of their promotion.
Don’t be shy; if you have reached a new milestone or got something to celebrate, work it into a stunning header image so that your audience can be a part of your merriment. Special turning points or milestones for your brand create a contagious sense of excitement that is hard to contain.
#Hashtag it up
While originally developed for Twitter, the universal trend of Hashtags is permeating every social media channel and isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon. You can make the most of this fad, not only for internal work promotion, but also in tandem with online contests or campaigns, and let your audience have fun with it while simultaneously attracting attention towards your business.
One great advantage of this feature is that it permits brands to eavesdrop on their audience and know what is being whispered about the business. In addition, using hashtags in cover images other than Twitter ensures consistency and lets your audience recognize you immediately. A great idea is to make your hashtag the main feature of your cover image, or even feature your hashtag discreetly in the bottom right of your cover photo design.
Broadcast your Message
Your social media banners can be used to exhibit a message that you want to imprint on the minds of your audience, but don’t want to tweet out or post again and again. Change your headers with changing messages, and never leave an old promotion up where it can mislead the customers. For instance, Taco Bell capitalizes on their Twitter banner to promote their new application, and strategically fortify the message with a pertinent hashtag that accompanies the promotion. Talk about killing two birds with one stone.
If you want to goad your fans into action, your cover photo is the perfect place to start. Brick-and-mortar businesses are fast capitalizing on their social media headers to advertise new products, specials, or promote store events, which have the potential to drive traffic their way. Online businesses can also leverage their cover photos to inspire fans to peruse through their new products and cash in on special offers.
For instance, the cover photo of the travel company “Travelocity”, makes use of inspiring travel photos, in conjunction with a plethora of CTAs. Notice the URL of their campaign’s website “gnomenabbed.com” embedded flawlessly into the design and “Get a daily clue on our Let’s Roam app” text incorporated at the bottom right of the image, calling out to the fans and inciting action.
Get people clicking with Compelling Calls to Action
Strong CTAs can really get your fans clicking more than anything else. Not only are CTAs effective on your website, they can also work wonders in your social media headers. Keep them succinct and to the point, so that they don’t overwhelm the design. In addition, remember to use active voicing in your CTAs, and not passive. You can promote a website, a local business, and gated external content (such as Infographics, EBooks, etc.), or even get people focused on liking your page. Some cover images seamlessly blend their CTAs into the design elements, so that they don’t seem too “obvious” or “obnoxious”.
Offer a Full Introduction
A lot of people who land on your social media pages have never heard of you or what you offer. Instead of letting them roam around aimlessly and discover for themselves, you can consider properly introducing yourself in your social media header, which is the first thing people tend to notice about your business page. The cover image of Studio AIRPORT shown below incorporates a photo of the team, along with a small bio, brand signatures and marks, and their objectives, blended together in one nifty cover image that lends any visitor a full run-down of who they are. Talk about a visual handshake!
Don’t Tell; Show what you do
Seeing is believing. Sometimes, your visitors aren’t entirely familiar with your brand or what you do, so instead of telling them, use your banner to show them instead. For instance, Headspace deals with youth mental health, and tries to focus attention to their subject matter in their meticulously designed cover image. They portray two different adolescents who are suffering from difficulties and adversities, and encourage them to talk it out instead of holding it in.
Keep It Fresh
If you want to depict how quick-to-act, responsive, up-to-date, and relevant your brand is, you can’t keep the same cover photo for too long. By switching your cover photo frequently to reflect an upcoming event, the current season, a promotion or giveaway, announcement of a new product line or service, or anything up-to-the-minute, you let your audience know that your brand is dynamic and vibrant, and not stale and laid-back. There’s no one-formula-fits-all for how often you should change your cover photo. This decision depends on the audience you engage with and the nature of your business. However, as a rule of thumb, try not to keep the same cover photo for more than a month. However, don’t change it so often that some of your visitors might never get a chance to view it before it gets replaced.