Choosing a Facebook Cover Photo

Earlier this month, we talked about how the web is becoming more visual. Facebook presents multiple opportunities for your church to visually express yourself to newcomers. Obviously you can post video or photos as part of your regular social strategy. You can also feature your church’s brand in your profile image. But no visual is as foundational to your church’s Facebook presence as your cover photo, video, or slideshow.

Your Facebook cover photo, video, or slideshow is the largest amount of visual real estate you have on Facebook. It also offers you a major opportunity to be creative about how you present yourself to the world. But before you put on your graphic design hat and dive in, it’s important to think about who sees your cover photo.

After liking your Page, very few (and I mean very few) of your current Facebook followers will ever come back to your Page. Most of their interaction with your Facebook content will happen in their news feed. The people who actually come to your Page are people that are new to you on Facebook: potential followers. This audience will primarily be comprised of current church members looking to connect with you online or potential or recent visitors who have either looked you up on Facebook or clicked on your website’s Facebook link. It is important to keep this audience in mind when choosing a Facebook image or creating a video or slideshow.

What message do you want to communicate to this audience? And how might you visually express that message? For inspiration, here are a few tips and examples from churches that are using their cover photo well.

1. Show your church in action. Give people a glimpse of who you are.

The Rock Church uses their cover photo to give a glimpse of what happens during their services.

The Bridge Church utilizes a slideshow as their cover, displaying a variety of images of people in action.

2. Use an image that invites people into your church’s story.

The Church at Clayton Crossings keeps their cover photo simple—with a compelling message for the new visitor.

Journey Church capitalizes on their available space to share their message to potential guests.

3. Give a sample of who you are, or what your church is about.

Freshwater Church uses their cover photo to display people from their church as well as their regular service times. This can be a simple way to let potential visitors know vital information. It's worth noting because the text is right aligned with the image (and the logo left aligned), both get cut off on mobile devices.

MIddlebranch uses their cover photo to display people from the congregation as well as their tagline.

4. Highlight a sermon series or upcoming event.

Redemption Church highlights their upcoming sermon series. In my (somewhat random) search of church Pages, this seems to be a pretty popular trend. However, like I mentioned above, updating your cover photo with each sermon series might be more work than it's worth, as people don't visit your Page too often. And if they're not already connected to your church, when they visit your Page, is the sermon series the most important thing they need to know?

First Baptist Church uses a video for their cover. This particular video is a quick, 30-second clip advertising an upcoming missions-related event at their church.

5. Don’t just use building pictures.

Holy Redeemer uses their church building as the profile picture instead of a logo or marque, and their cover photo displays elements from the inside of their church, rather than showing images of people. It helps give the visitor an idea of what they can expect at this church.

Lots of churches show their building as their cover photo, probably because it's easy. People visiting your Page don't care to look at your buildilng, they want to know more about who you are. If you must use an image of your buillding, Lee Street does this pretty well. They use an image of their building in the midst of the surrounding neighborhood. Shared with the profile picture, this shows they are very neighborhood-oriented.

In addition to choosing the right image, you may want to think about these things to make your cover photo (or slideshow or video) cohesive with the rest of your Page.

  • Add a description to your cover photo when you upload the image, and include a link that’s consistent with the call-to-action button on your Page
  • Keep in mind cover photos display differently on mobile than they do on desktops. Don’t overload your images with text, and try to keep the content of the image toward the center—less is more when it comes to content on your cover photos

So now that we've gone through some examples, what do you think? What works for you? Are there any other churches, including yours, that are using their cover photo space well?

(P.S. If you're looking for more help with your church's Facebook Page make sure to check out Church Juice’s free ebook Facebook for Churches.)

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