The oh-so-important first impression might not be what you think these days.

It has always been that first time you interact with someone. Do they make good eye-contact? Are they smiling? What’s stuck in their teeth?

Now it is “what does their profile picture look like on Facebook?” This goes for individuals and businesses alike.

Business owners don’t always realize that people are checking out their Facebook profile and that it impacts the perception of their business.

Considering that there will be a be an estimated total of 157.1 Million Facebook users in the United States at the end of 2015 (according to, coupled with the fact that 45% of Facebook users access the site several times a day, it is undeniable the Facebook presents an enormous audience for businesses.

When any of these hundreds-of-millions of Facebook users show up on your page, don’t you want to look good?

I mean, you wouldn’t want a potential client to come into your office for the first time if it was a hot mess.

Below, I will go over some useful tips for creating effective profile and cover photos. Obviously, businesses are always encouraged to be creative and do something that will stick in the minds of their users, so these suggestions offer a starting point for your Facebook page.

Profile Pictures:

The profile picture of your business’ Facebook page is 180X180 pixels, offering limited space to make a strong impression. Since it takes less than half a second for a person to draw conclusions from a photo, it pays to start things off on a positive note.

Due to its small size, a profile picture needs to be easy to see for users who are exposed to the small icon when searching for your business, or when a post you made shows up in their news-feed.

The best tip for an effective profile image is to keep it simple.

If you have a logo with a readable font size, that would make a solid profile picture.

If you don’t have a logo that is appropriate for the small dimensions of a profile picture, you will need to get a bit more creative.

Ideas for this situation may include; 1) an image of the owner, 2) an image of your business place, or 3) an image of a product you sell.

Here are three great examples of good profile pictures. To the left, you have Starbuck’s profile picture, which is recognizable and simple, even at a small size. In the middle is a real estate agent’s picture which is professional and easy to make out. On the right is NEXT! Ad Agency, which includes it’s main text that is easy to read.

It is also very important to make sure that your profile picture is appropriately sized so that it is not distorted or pixelated. You don’t want a crummy looking picture because it shows a lack of understanding of modern technical practices.

Keep in mind, this is the picture that will be placed next to all of your posts and activity on Facebook.

Once you determine your profile picture, you will need to set a strong cover photo!

Cover Photo:

This is the fun one. With the dimensions of 851X315 pixels, there is plenty of space to work with (be sure to check Facebook’s official guidelines for your cover photo).

You will want to consider a few things before determining your cover photo. How do you want your business to be seen? What do you want it to say about your business? How do you want it to match with your profile picture?

Your desired tone of your cover photo greatly impacts how others see your business. If you are a light-hearted, social, or inviting business, humor and fun might be a solid plan. But if you are a work-first, stern, professional business, you may want to keep it simple and promotional in nature (a lawyer and a daycare aren’t likely to have similar cover photos).

Once you decide your tone, pick a message.

What do you want to tell your audience immediately about your business? Maybe you want them to know that your business has been serving your community for 30 years. Maybe you want your audience to see how close your workers are with each other. Or, maybe you want to show off all of the awards your business has received.

Showing off your employees is a great way to establish a social connection with your viewers on Facebook.

Finally, how should the cover photo react with your profile picture?

Image branding requires consistency and fluidness. Having a warmly toned profile picture won’t match up as well on a cooler-themed cover photo. Decide your desired color scheme and how the profile picture should look when resting on top of the cover photo.

A popular way to get the profile picture incorporated into the cover photo is to perfectly measure how the profile picture will rest on the cover photo, and set the appropriate background of your profile picture. Look at how the profile picture below sits atop the cover photo.

KLM was able to get their logo into their profile picture in a readable, and creative way.

Now that you have decided a profile picture and an appropriate cover photo, you should begin generating positive first impressions on Facebook visitors. It is also encouraged that your page periodically updates it’s profile images for particular seasons, promotions, awards, and various other time-sensitive matters.

New images are a great source for organic engagement and keep your page looking fresh and well tended to!

If creating profile imagery, or just managing your business’ social media presence in general, is too time-consuming for you to keep up with, remember that NEXT! Ad Agency has great social media management services that are perfect for small businesses.

Creating your profile images should be fun, as well as beneficial, so get creative! If you lack proper photo-editing software, PIXLR is a free website that lets you create and edit images right from your browser.

As always, use the comment section below with any questions, comments, or thoughts!

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