Today we’re kicking off a series where we’ll look at the various elements of popular social media platforms and best practices for designing an effective profile for each.

Because Facebook is our bag here at Pagemodo, we’ll start our journey there.

From the top!

Element: Cover Photo
Size: 851 x 315
Best Practice: The purpose of your Facebook Cover Photo is to say something about your brand that will hopefully make people stay on your page long enough to like it and become engaged with you. Use this space to the fullest by taking advantage of the newly relaxed rules for cover photos that allow up to 20% of the image to be text. If you have a tagline or slogan for your small business, this would be a great place to display it. Or try a powerful call to action instead, backed up with a great, high quality image or stylish design. Example: Coca-Cola

Element: Profile Picture
Size: 180 x 180
Best Practice: For small business owners, a great profile picture option is your logo. Some businesses use their logo as their cover photo – don’t do this, please. It just looks awkward or like you have no images that relate to your business. That’s not to say that you couldn’t incorporate your logo into your cover photo, but don’t devote the whole thing to an 851 pixel image of your logo. Instead, place your logo as your profile picture and use your cover photo as an image that supports or says something about your brand. Added bonus: Your profile picture shows up in miniature beside everything you post or comment on within Facebook – more branding reminders! Example: Smithsonian

Element: Custom Facebook Tabs
Size: 810 x {varies}
Best Practice: Custom Facebook Tabs, which used to live at the top of your page, then along the left side, and now as the 4 images below your cover photo, are optional – but highly recommended. These are where you can really harness the power of Facebook not just as an engagement source, but also a marketing tool. Tabs like coupons, special offers, contact forms, maps, and a like gate can really unlock the potential of Facebook for bringing in new likes and new leads. If you lack the technical skills, design experience, or time to create your own custom tabs, check out the easy tab building tools from Pagemodo.

Element: Custom Tab Images
Size: 111 x 74
Best Practice: While these images will automatically populate for you if you do nothing to them, relying on the “out of the box” solution is never a good branding decision. You’ll want to customize these images to coordinate with your cover photo, profile photo, and/or overall branding elements. Here’s a great illustration of just how to change the image on your custom tabs from

Element: Facebook Ads (Right column)
Size: 100 x 72 (at least)
Best Practice: For the image that accompanies your ad text, choose something that complements the message and is itself very simple. Because this image is small, it needs to be impactful but also easy to understand at a glance. A wide image with lots of visual information will not translate easily at this size, not will any text you might add. Consider using your logo, a product that you offer, or a close-cropped image that features one or two people. Bonus info: The headline character limit of these ‘right-rail’ ads is 25, and the body of the ad tops out at 90 characters. Example: Modcloth

Hope this information helps put you on the path to a stylish and effective Facebook Page! Up next: Twitter Profiles.

About the Author: Sarah Matista is the Online Content Specialist and resident blogger at Pagemodo. Loves social media, branding, whales. Get more from Sarah on Pagemodo’s Blog and Google+.

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