Use your head(er) but not too much…

Most of use at least one social media platform for business and in our personal lives, and each one allows us to personalise our pages, but what is the best way to do this? The imagery you use and the way you use it says a lot about you, and your business so be careful. Inject some personality by all means, but ensure it is appropriate. Does your profile picture suggest you are looking develop ‘business relationships’, or that it would be more appropriate on a dating app? Does an image of your family, pets, last holiday, favourite film star etc have any relevance to your business or the service it provides? If not, then consider using something else, and keep these images for your personal profiles.

Whatever you with your social media images though…

Don’t make them work too hard

It is very easy to overthink the issue of social media headers and to try to do too much with them, but the simplest way to look at them is as branded wallpaper. Like your website, they are there to reassure the visitor that they are in the right place (“ah yes, this is the right company”) and probably not much more than that. They aren’t some form of online business card, and they can’t replace well-written posts or solve your marketing at a stroke. They are there to reinforce your brand. That’s it.

Global brands tend to use photos from their own library of images (but not necessarily exactly the same one on every platform) so they have a consistent corporate image. You may not have yet reached the point where you have a library of bespoke corporate photos, but you can use stock images as long as they are appropriate and consistent with your brand. For more help with that, you may find the following articles useful:

Where can I get stock images from?

How do I get the best from my search?

What do ‘Royalty-free’ etc actual mean?

If you don’t have any imagery you can use then you can use your brand colours, or perhaps your logo (in part or in full) either centred, cropped to one side or even as a repeating pattern. You may also use corporate icons from your brochures or anything else that illustrates who you are or what you do – but remember just keep it simple and don’t try to do too much with it.

Moving goalposts

One very good reason why you should keep it simple is that each platform asks you to upload one header image, but…

It is cropped, zoomed and placed differently depending on whether you are viewing your profile page on a desktop PC, laptop, tablet or mobile

Each social media platform has wildly differing specifications for the image to be uploaded

The specifications and the cropping of each image seems to change frequently, so your fabulously clever visual idea might not be as effective a week from now, or work at all…

For all of the reasons cited above it is important to remember:

If you use your logo nice and large it may look great on a desktop, but on a mobile it may get cropped, obscurred by the placement of your profile picture, or otherwise compromised.

If you use it smaller to avoid the problem outlined above, any text on it may become unreadable at smaller screen sizes – but this is not necessarily an issue as it should still be recognisable by shape.

Straplines, contact details, websites etc can all be incorporated, but don’t bank on them being completely legible at smaller sizes – however remember your profile page will doubtless hold some of this information anyway.

You cannnot directly control how the images look in every scenario so there is always some compromise to be made.

The images are not permanent, you can change them whenever you like – perhaps to illustrate a competition or promotion, or simply as a way of rotating through a number of corporate photos.

All in all, it is important to spend time making sure whatever you do is appropriate, and reinforces your brand. Your social media pages, like your website (and all your marketing materials) need to be instantly recognisable as part of your business, and that means having imagery that is on-brand and appropriate. There is nothing worse than following a link to a social media page or web page and then being confronted with something that makes you doubt you are in the right place. The journey from link to page must be seemless and consistent.

As experienced graphics experts, Pixooma can help you to ensure that your brand image is consistently and professionally applied across all the marketing channels you use. So if you’re unsure of what to do, just give us a call – we’d be happy to help. And for the finer details of social media marketing strategy, we have expert partners who we can put you in touch with as well.

 

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