MAY 25, 2016
The space above a public Facebook page is important. It is wise to use it strategically, rather than giving it little or no thought. Apart from the profile image, your page title and category, the cover image is one of the first things people see on your page. Unless there are faces in your page’s profile picture, the cover image usually IS the very first thing visitors see. Your page’s profile picture should always tell people who or what you are… usually this is a logo or, for churches, an image of the church building itself. The cover image space should most often show what you do as an entity/ministry or who your people are.
Below is a screenshot of the Moravian Board of Cooperative Ministries Facebook cover image I designed. Currently, we are utilizing the space to promote an upcoming summer event. So one of the first things our page’s visitors see is information about an upcoming event. By clicking the cover image, Facebook brings up a window with an editable image description on the right. In that space is a link to the event RSVP, condensed by the URL shortening service Bitly.
We’ve used this space on Facebook to promote a variety of events as well as a social campaign. We’ve also used it to show (literally) who we are by displaying a group image of our board members. Cover images should be about promoting engagement, accessibility, approachability, and authenticity. They should change regularly to keep the page fresh, by either reflecting upcoming events and campaigns, recent photos of relevant people/images, or seasonal imagery.
The actual cover image space is 828 pixels wide by 315 pixels tall on desktop and laptop computers. The 160 by 160 pixel profile image eats into some of the space, as does the page title and Facebook page buttons. (Again, this can be seen in the first screenshot above.) The dimensions are different on mobile devices, so that is something to keep in mind when you are choosing a cover image. On mobile devices, Facebook page cover images are proportionally not as wide and are slightly taller. It is best to design the cover image for the desktop first, but keeping in mind that any essential imagery or information needs to be towards the middle (length-wise) and top two-thirds or half (height-wise) to best fit both desktop and mobile. It can take some trial and error to get it ideal. You can not move the profile image, the page title/category, or Facebook’s buttons, so you always have to design your cover image around them.
For full details about Facebook page profile image and cover image dimensions, visit Facebook’s Help Center here.
Clicking the camera icon in the upper-righthand corner of the cover image will prompt a menu to appear that allows for editing. The first option, “Choose from Photos…” lets the user select a photo already uploaded by the page to use as the cover image. Clicking this option will bring up a window with the page’s different photo albums. Already have images of your congregation on your page? You can make one the cover image by clicking this first option.
The second option, “Upload a Photo…” gives the user the option of uploading their own photo (an image of your own creation or one you have permission to use.) The third option, “Reposition…” will bring up a cross-with-arrows cursor when you hover over the cover image. This allows the user to re-adjust the precise position of the cover image to their liking by clicking and dragging. The final option, “Remove…” will remove the cover image from the page, leaving a blank space with a default Facebook design. It is important to note that this option does not remove the image from Facebook altogether. To do that, you must go to your cover images album under the photos tab and delete the photo. If the cover image was selected from a previously uploaded image, it has to be deleted from both the cover image album and the original album it was in.
So how about designing a cover image? If you really get into it… Adobe Photoshop Elements is an affordable option. GIMP is a free design software alternative, which can be downloaded here. The simplest option, especially for non-designers, is to use Canva’s online Facebook cover image editor feature. Canva is online, so there is no software to download, and is free to use (there are some optional paid add-ons.) The best part about using their cover image editor is that they take care of the pixels for you, so you don’t have to fret about it being the right size! Just make sure your essential imagery and information is where it needs to be as mentioned earlier.
Happy designing and Facebooking! Best of luck to you!
Questions? Or need assistance with your church’s communications and social media efforts? Contact Andrew David Cox at acox(AT)mcsp.org or call (336) 722-8126 Ext. 404
Andrew David Cox is the Communications Project Manager for the Moravian Board of Cooperative Ministries (BCM)