First impressions are important—and your social media cover photo is the handshake of the social media world.
So, it’s important that it is memorable, optimized, and powerful. It should represent your brand, deliver your marketing messages, and engage your users.
It’s one of the most overlooked tools on the page, but don’t fret, we’re going to walk you through the steps you need to take to implement an amazing social media cover image and use it to your advantage.
Each social media network has different ways of using their covers, each featuring different advantages and optimization tools.
From Instagram and Facebook to LinkedIn and Twitter, we take a look at the perfect cover photo size for each network and how to choose the right social media cover image to make the most out of your online presence.
For more in-depth info on the best sizes for social media images, check out our newly updated Social Media Image Size Guide.
How to choose the perfect Facebook cover photo
First, you need to make sure you have the right Facebook cover photo size.
The desktop version of the Facebook cover photo will display your image at 851 pixels wide by 315 pixels high.
For mobile, Facebook uses a pixel ratio of 640 pixels wide by 360 pixels high.
Clear imagery is a must, so try to use a PNG or JPG file no smaller than 851 pixels wide by 315 pixels tall with a file size less than 100 KB. This will make for a quicker upload. The minimum Facebook cover photo size you can upload is 400 x 150 pixels, but we recommend a larger image to avoid a low-resolution mess on your page.
Facebook has recently upped its game by offering brands the opportunity to feature a cover video on the top of their page.
This opens up a tremendous opportunity for companies to share more about their brands, deliver a deeper marketing message, and display more engaging creatives.
Facebook cover videos should be 15-90 seconds in length and for optimal display, your Facebook cover video size should be 820 x 462 pixels.
Whatever creative you choose to use, we recommend it be engaging and valuable to your audience.
You can also use it as a promotion piece that keeps followers updated on the latest and greatest news from your brand.
Also see: How to Post the Best Content on Social Media.
How to choose the perfect Instagram cover photo
Instagram does not feature a cover photo like Facebook, but has its own features that are diverse and effective and can help you uniquely express your brand.
Let’s start with your Instagram profile photo.
This is the main imagery that is featured on your profile. It’s displayed at a very small size so you have to make it count!
The minimum Instagram profile picture size is 110 pixels wide by 110 pixels high, but 180 x 180 is optimal.
Whatever photo you choose, make sure the creative in the photo is clearly visible. Otherwise, users will have no idea what the photo is and it won’t serve its purpose as a promotion tool.
Whenever an Instagram account creates a Story, other users can view it by tapping the profile image while it’s encircled with a pink ring. This is a great place to continually engage with users, so post Stories often!
The best resolution for Instagram Stories is 1080 x 1920 pixels, so use vertical photos or videos taken by a smartphone with an HD camera if possible.
Another awesome feature that Instagram has recently added is the ability to save or highlight Stories at the top of your profile.
This acts as an interactive banner of sorts where users can see the stories that you have saved by tapping on them at the top of your page.
The ability to change and update these profile elements is great news for brands looking to continually push out new content or promotions on their profiles.
And don’t forget the importance of your Instagram bio either—here we cover how to create a truly effective professional one.
How to choose the perfect Twitter cover photo
A picture is worth a thousand words—and with Twitter limiting the words you send per tweet, compensating for that with the perfect photo is fundamental.
Your Twitter header photo can really maximize the visual allure of your account.
Your Twitter header size should be 1500 x 500 pixels and your file format should be JPG, GIF, or PNG—but remember, Twitter does not support animated GIFs. The minimum size your Twitter cover header can be is 1263 x 421 pixels.
When designing your Twitter header image, make sure to take into consideration your profile image placement, as it will cover a small portion of the design.
One great way to create an impactful cover photo is to connect the theme of your brand to the message in your header photo and keep it consistent.
You can also use the header photo to promote new products, services or newsworthy happenings within the company.
Another great way to use your Twitter header image is to provide value to your audience. For instance, each day you could upload a text graphic of a tip or a piece of advice, then tweet out to your followers to check it out.
By doing this, you are not being too self-promotional and you provide your audience with helpful bits of content.
How to choose the perfect LinkedIn cover photo
Although LinkedIn may not be the hippest of social media networks for personal use, it certainly performs very well for businesses and brands looking to connect with other businesses, thought leaders, professionals, and employees.
Launching a LinkedIn Company Page is a great way to tie your content and posts back to a brand and allows those within your network and beyond the opportunity to follow your company.
Aside from adding a proper mission statement and an “about us” section, topping your page off with a professional cover photo is a must.
You can also use a header image for your personal page to further express who you are while growing your personal brand.
One idea right off the bat would be to switch up your LinkedIn cover photo from the images you are using for your other social media profiles.
Remember, LinkedIn is a platform for professionals, so your image should follow suit. Connecting that image to your specific profession or industry is highly recommended.
As far as the technical aspects go, the file must be a PNG, JPEG or GIF and the file size cannot be larger than 2 MB. For a Company Page, your LinkedIn cover photo size should be a minimum of 1192 x 220 pixels, but 1536 x 768 pixels is optimal.
For a personal profile on LinkedIn, the best cover photo size is 1584 x 396 pixels.
First Impressions Matter
No matter which social media platform you choose to develop and build your brand on, I think we can all agree that a professional and optimized cover photo is a must in 2018.
It’s a visual expression of you and an important first impression for viewers. Take the time to produce a quality image and run with it!