When we look at the type of content we share on social media, strong visuals can make a huge difference to overall performance. Humans process visuals 60,000 times faster than text (MIS Research Center, University of Minnesota). Presentations with visual aids were found to be 43% more persuasive than those without – that certainly translates into social media as well.
While some social networks rely more heavily on photos (like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest), most of the other platforms utilize photos in some way. Understanding how to maximize the space is crucial to getting the best results from each platform.
There are two types of images that appear on social media:
- Images that make up your profile (cover photo, avatar, etc.)
- Images that are shared in your social feed
In this post, we’re going to look at the images that make up your profile as well as the visuals that are shared in the news feed.
The Visual Landscape on Facebook
These visuals often appear above the fold, even on mobile devices, which means that they are an important piece in telling the visual story of your brand. This is real estate that you don’t want to ignore. It’s important to note that the real estate is different depending on whether your account is being viewed on desktop or mobile.
Your Cover Photo
Your cover photo is a great space to infuse people with your brand’s personality. Whether you are strictly business or you want to get a bit more creative, your cover photo can be used in a variety of ways. Cover photos are public, so it’s a great opportunity to entice new people to “like” your page and join your community.
As for the photo itself, your cover photo should be sized at 851×315 (all sizes are referenced in pixels). Later in the post, I’ll share with you a few tools that can help you to easily design your cover photo — even if you don’t have a single design-savvy bone in your body.
Your Profile Photo
Your profile photo should be square and it will display at 90×90. You can upload a photo of any size as Facebook allows you to crop your photo right in the upload tool.
Whereas your cover photo provides you a bit more real estate, thus allowing you to get a bit more creative, the profile photo is a bit more limited. This space is perfect for your company’s logo, a strong brand visual or your headshot. Your choice of photo boils down to how you’re using your Facebook page and what it represents for you.
Another profile photo tip: if you are going to use your headshot, use an up-to-date photo. A lot of people use a picture that is five years old (I’ve even seen photos used that were from ten years prior!) and this presents a challenge when people meet you face-to-face. Make sure that people will be able to recognize you.
Images Shared in Your Newsfeed
Once you’ve got your staple images in place, your cover and profile photos, it is now time to turn your attention to the newsfeed. The newsfeed is the main area on Facebook where content is shared.
The content shared in the news feed can vary in format — text-based posts, images, videos and even audios can be posted here and each will react differently and produce different results as it relates to visibility.
When it comes to the ideal size for your newsfeed images, Facebook will scale your photos automatically, and crop them where necessary, to fit the width of the timeline (470 pixels). If you plan to boost your post you must follow the Facebook 20% Rule, and read my post 6 Steps To Better Facebook Ads to dive deeper into that subject.
Here is an example of a photo that I shared and boosted on my Facebook page recently.
Images do very well on Facebook when it comes to visibility and reach, and one of the primary ways to ensure that your photo is seen is to make it visually appealing and interesting enough for others to want to share.
Legible text, strong imagery, and a creative flair will help you get seen and get shared.Humans process images 60,000 times faster than text. Get the most out of your #SocialMedia images. Click To Tweet
Creative Tools to Get the Most Out of Your Visuals
Even if you aren’t design-savvy, you can still make your Facebook photos appear creative, professional and polished. Here are a few of the tools that I use to bring more life to my visuals.
Canva is a great (and free!) tool that you can use to create social media graphics. They have many graphic options available but their Facebook cover photo is the one you’ll want to focus on.
The template is already pre-sized to fit perfectly into the available space on Facebook and it contains a profile photo overlay to show you how that visual will affect the cover photo. You can use some of Canva’s free visuals or upload your own. When you’re finished, you simply export the image and upload it to Facebook.
If you spend more time on mobile, check out the WordSwag app for the iPhone. This app allows you to add text overlays to your photos quickly and easily. If you’re not a wordsmith, the app also includes hundreds of captions, quotes, and sayings to bring your photos to life.
The last tool that I’ll recommend for designing social graphics is PicMonkey. There are free and premium versions that you can use to create or edit photos for use on social media. It’s loaded with features and includes pre-sized templates for most of the popular social media sites.
Take Action With Your Facebook
Take a look at your profile now. Are your Facebook images in need of a little facelift? Could they be sized a bit better to make the visual more appealing? If so, spend a bit of time this week updating your images.
Once you’re finished, comment below with a link to your Facebook page so that I can check out how you’ve used the space and so that others can get inspired, too!