Last week saw an update to the Facebook Page Guidelines to include more restrictions on cover photo images. You might be wondering ‘What Guidelines? … Facebook has Guidelines?’ Put simply, YES!
You might have posting guidelines on your Facebook page, asking people to be respectful etc, similarly, Facebook has several guidelines or terms of service on how you can and more importantly, can not use their social networking site.
In this blog post I’m going to cover some important information on how you can ensure that you are abiding by Facebook’s guidelines with regards to Cover Photo Images.
Cover photo images are the larger images measuring 851 pixels x 315 pixels on our Facebook Timelines, this is an example of my cover photo image:
You can take a look at the Facebook Page Guidelines for a detailed overview of what is expected, but here’s the specifics of what this blog post will discuss, Cover Photo Images section III) Page Features, B) Cover:
# 1 Covers May Not Include Images with More Than 20% Text
This is a relatively simple rule to follow if you always aim to keep your text to a minimum in cover images. To give you an idea of how 20% can be represented and how you can make sure that your text is 20%, take a look at this blog post about cover images by one of my friends at Bright Spark Media.
#2 Covers May Not Include Price or Purchase Information, such as ‘40% off’ or ‘Download it on socialmusic.com’
Let’s be clear, if it was me, I WOULD NOT include any of the following terms in any of my Facebook Cover Images:
All of these provide price specific or purchase information, wouldn’t you agree?
#3 Covers May Not Include Basic Contact Information such as Website Address, Email, Mailing Address or Information that should go in your Page’s ‘About’ section
Let’s take a look at the about section of a shopping centre’s Facebook page:
You can see that the information on the ‘About’ page includes:
Throughout the Christmas and New Year period there were so many retail and shopping centre Facebook pages using their cover image to advertise extended trading hours. I would highly recommend that you review these practices if you are considering to use them.
If you want to abide by the rules (to the letter), I would not be advertising Christmas, Easter or any other public holiday trading hours in your cover image.
#4 Covers May Not Include References to Facebook Features or Actions, such as “Like” or “Share”, or an arrow pointing from the cover photo to any of these features
Naturally you want people to ‘Like’ your Facebook page. Chances are if they have stopped by and their taking a look around they will press the like button if your content is compelling enough. Facebook doesn’t want you to tell your fans to ‘Like us now!’ or ‘Share this Page with Your Friends!’
It’s pretty easy to follow this one, all you have to do is make sure you don’t mention those words in the 20% of your text.
#5 Covers May Not Include Calls to action, such as “Get it Now!” or “Tell Your Friends”
This one is pretty straight forward but often we forget when we go to run a competition. Some pages will update their cover photos with calls to action like ‘Enter now!’ You might have also seen covers with ‘Download Your Free Voucher now!’ or something similar if they are giving something away. All of these types of copy are unfortunately calls to action and should be excluded from your cover.
Now it’s over to you: Do you think it’s easy enough to comply with Facebook’s guidelines or are they too ambiguous? How are you using design techniques to make the most of your Facebook covers while still complying with the 20% text rule?
Yesterday, 20th March 2013, Facebook updated their cover image rules to state the following:
There is speculation that these rules have been updated because Facebook found it impossible to enforce the old rules. What do you think? Did you comply? Will you update your cover image now? It will be interesting to see if Facebook enforces the new 20% rule.
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