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Relaying professionalism is crucial to the success of any small business. Through sheer aesthetics, a small business can appear trustworthy and confident to customers. Humans are visual creatures who often prefer to look and watch. They read the images that surround them and make premature assumptions. The old rule ‘never judge a book by its cover’ is overlooked when a customer glances at your business appearance. Visual appeal directly correlates to how competent a small business is perceived. 
 

In the realm of social media, small business needs to illustrate this same visual professionalism. Want people to engage with you on social media? It starts with one key ingredient, aesthetically pleasing your audience. What does this mean exactly? Let me explain.


It starts with page design. What is page design you ask? It’s how you choose to design your Facebook page as a representation of your company. Today I plan on talking about your cover photo and down the road will post about avatars and post design.

What is a cover photo? The cover photo is that HUGE image at the top of your Facebook page. Not only is it the first thing a user sees when viewing your page, but it’s also the largest visual element illustrated.

So what is your cover photo saying about you? I always ask small business owners one question when they are concerned about the quality of their cover photo. Simply put, would you hang up an 8’x 3’ poster of this image in your businesses lobby or waiting room?

Cover photos need to be sized and designed correctly to visually relay both professionalism and sincerity. Now, you could simply use a high quality image that represents who you are as a company. Perhaps your staff, your building or anything you would be particularly proud of. The best way to approach a cover photo is to put yourself in your customers shoes and look. Is this image something your proud of? Is it something that visually tells a story and gives potential customers incentive to do business with you?

Much like the point I am trying to make with the importance of aesthetics, let me visually show you what I mean. Here is a poor example of a small business cover photo from a veterinarian office:

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Now, let’s glance at this image together and ask the same question. Would we want to hang up a poster of this somewhere in our business? The answer. NO. It is pixelated, fairly out of focus and looks like it was snapped from a phone. The doctor and dogs face awkwardly cut out of the shot and the text appears too large and nearly illegibly. The terms of Facebook cover photos state that text cannot exceed 20% of the overall image on cover photos. This image has clearly violated that rule. This can be difficult to judge, though when in doubt, add less text.

Here is an example of what this veterinarian could have done instead:

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Here we see a well-done cover photo. The composition works well, the images are properly in focus and the text is abiding by the 20% rule. Most importantly, would a veterinarian hang this up in their office? Yes. This image relays a sense of professionalism to potential clients.

Now, I am not saying that every small business owner needs to go out and pay a graphic designer. If you have the resources yes, nothing tops a professional on design assistance, but sometimes budgets are tight. What I am saying is that small business owners need to take a bit of time on their cover photo. The Internet is full of fantastic resources to help guide you through the design process. A perfect example would be Pagemodo.

Here is a website that simplifies the entire process, and delivers high quality and properly designed cover photos:

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Here are a few examples of quick cover photos that look relatively good through Pagemodo. Each took me around 3 minutes to quickly complete with the stock image library they have on hand. Lets now, once again, ask the one question. If either of these cover photos were an 8’ x 3’ poster, would I hang them up in my veterinarian office or beauty Salons waiting room? Absolutely.

Pagemodo has both free and paid for services. But please note that the free version places the small ‘Pagemodo cover photo maker’ watermark in the corner.

Remember that your cover photo can say a lot about your company. Take your time with it, good luck and remember to get creative!

By: Dan Brice