So now you have Facebook Timeline for Brands, and the opportunity to grab the public’s eye with a large, visually engaging cover photo. And many brands are already hard at work during this preview period before Pages switch to the new Timeline automatically at the end of the month crafting the best, most effective cover photo they can.
Well wait a second.
Facebook, as always, has a very steady hand on making sure the experience for users visiting brand Pages is an enjoyable, productive one. Therefore, you don’t have total creative freedom in deciding what your cover photo is going to be. There are limitations you may not have heard or known about.
1. You can’t put any details about your company in your cover photo. That includes your URL or any contact info. That kind of thing goes in the ‘About’ section of your Page.
2. You can’t tell fans what to do in your cover photo. No calls to action like “try it free,” “let everybody know,” or “download this right now.” You can’t even tell people to “Like” your Page.
3. IN fact, you can’t put any mention of Facebook features or actions in your cover photo. So in addition to not telling people to “Like” the Page, you can’t tell them to share or comment either. And they’re wise to you if you put an arrow pointing to anything like that too.
4. No copyrighted images you don’t have the rights to. Duh.
5. No pricing, deal or discount info in the cover photo. No “25% off,” no directions on how to purchase, no limited time only notices, etc.
Did any of those make you angry? Everybody likes creative freedom, and brands like to conduct their marketing however they see fit. But these rules are a double-edged sword. On one side, you’ve got limitations placed on you and everything is not 100% under your control. But on the other side, if Facebook didn’t take steps to keep the entire platform appealing to users and make that their top priority, it would result in a devaluing of the network as less-than-savvy brands seize the cover photo opportunity to put up one screaming advertising billboard after another, thus cluttering up an otherwise pleasant landscape.
Whether or not you send Facebook a thank you card for that is up to you.