4 Steps for Facebook Image Optimization

“If Facebook ever shuts down, you’ll see people roaming the streets shoving pictures in other’s faces screaming, ‘Do you like this?!?! … Do you!?!?!’ “

– Anonymous

It should come as no surprise that images are crucial to social media success — especially on Facebook. In a recent study by SocialBakers, Facebook posts that included a photo received almost three times more engagement than one with just a link.

So how can you take advantage of this fact for your business? Read on for our four top tips to optimize images for your Facebook page.

1) Customize your cover photo.

The cover photo on your business page is prime marketing real estate. A custom graphic, branded for your business, can make a big statement. And, since many of the old rules and restrictions regarding what can go on a cover photo have been lifted, businesses have more creative freedom than ever. Your cover photo can now include:

  • Call to actions such as “get it now” or “tell your friends”
  • Price or purchase information such as “40% off” or “Download it here”
  • Contact information such as your website address, email or telephone number
  • References to Facebook features or actions such as “Like” and “Share” or any arrow pointing to the features
  • As much text as you’d like – no more 20% rule limiting the amount of text that can appear

In fact, the only mention of the cover photo in Facebook’s Page Guidelines simply says:

All covers are public. This means that anyone who visits your Page will be able to see your cover. Covers can’t be deceptive, misleading, or infringe on anyone else’s copyright. You may not encourage people to upload your cover to their personal timelines.

Don’t go too nuts with words, though. Remember that a picture speaks a thousand words, and visuals can be much more powerful than a block of tiny text.
Moments 2 Memories Facebook cover photo

2) Leverage your profile graphic.

The profile graphic may seem innocuous, but it is a highly visible representation of your brand — it will be seen far more often than your cover photo will — and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Keep in mind:

  • The profile graphic displays very small in the Facebook feed. A complex graphic can become unrecognizable and text can become unreadable at reduced sizes.
  • Think about whether a graphic (such as your logo or other visual representation of your brand) would make the most sense for your business, or if a picture of you would be better. If you consider yourself to be your brand, then show your face! Use a close-up, cropped photo so that you’re easy to recognize. Professional headshots work great, but if you want something more casual, be sure that the image is well lit and that you are the only person in the picture.
  • Be consistent. Changing your profile graphic too often could cause confusion, or prevent your followers from immediately recognizing that a post is from you.

3) Create your own Social Media “Shareables.”

We’ve all seen them, and you’ve probably even shared them: inspirational quotes, funny sayings, memes, tips — images overlaid with tidbits of content that are intended to be liked and shared. While it’s great to share the content of others if you feel it’s relevant to your audience, why not start sharing your own? You don’t need expensive graphic design software to do it yourself! Try these ideas:

  • Hire a professional graphic designer to create a custom template — a background on which you can add text to create something shareable, or …
  • Find free or inexpensive stock art to use as a background. Just be sure that you aren’t infringing on anyone’s copyright — the safest way to protect yourself is to spend a little bit of money to purchase pictures from a legitimate stock image site such as DepositPhotos, Dreamstime, Shutterstock, or iStock.
  • If you don’t have Adobe Illustrator, check out PicMonkey for a free or low-cost option that is super easy to use.
  • Have fun with fonts, but be sure that it’s still easy to read.

*Update: iStock has changed their pricing strategy and we can no longer recommend them for quick and inexpensive social sharing graphics. There are, however, plenty of free stock sites out there – just use with caution.
Social media shareable template

4) Follow the image size guidelines to ensure best results.

Every social media channel has their own best practice guidelines regarding image size, file size, and format, and it can be hard to keep up with the frequent changes. Check out the graphic below for up-to-date details on Facebook images sizes.

Facebook image sizes
For a more comprehensive look at additional social media channel guidelines including Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, You Tube, Pinterest, and more, see our full infographic here!
Want custom graphics for your business or personal Facebook page? We can help! Give us a buzz today.

Kristin Heffley

Kristin Heffley

Chief Executive Caffeinator at Caffeinated Design Studio
Kristin Heffley is founder and Chief Executive Caffeinator at Caffeinated Design Studio, a visual marketing agency based near Seattle, Washington. She loves coffee, her family, and helping clients create knock-their-socks-off brands, among other things. Her favorite caffeinated drink is a sugar-free vanilla Americano.
Kristin Heffley
Kristin Heffley
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