What’s an opportunity in B2B social media marketing that no one is talking about?

The cover photo.

On profile pages, social network platforms make a large, horizontal area available for you to upload a photo or image. Here’s what they’re called:

Facebook: Cover Photo
Twitter: Header Photo
LinkedIn: Cover Image
YouTube: Cover Photo

Social Media Audit

Before we discuss new cover photos for your social channels, let’s audit your existing ones.

Are you using stock imagery? You really shouldn’t be. Most businesses exploring your services are exploring competitors in a variety of price points, and you can be sure those who are just starting out are using stock imagery. It makes you look like an amateur, and it’s important even if you are an amateur, to never look like one.

Related Post: B2B Marketers: What’s Your Social Media Plan?

Use of stock imagery is acceptable in some contexts, but not for cover photos. Stock imagery may knock you out of the running for jobs with companies who think you can’t handle their needs.

In this post, I share five ideas for B2B marketers to create captivating cover photos.

1) Tell Your Story

What are you working on and why? What is process and what inspires your company to innovate? And how did your company begin anyway? Your story is interesting and it’s begging to be told.

Sharing “early days” imagery is always compelling. It humanizes your brand, which can help you stand out from other B2B companies. Help customers (and potential customers) feel a connection to the people behind your product or service.

That helps build trust, loyalty and lifetime customer value.

A good example is the Twitter profile of Bechtel, which highlights “120 Years of Excellence”:

Bechtel Twitter Profile

2) Tell Your Customers’ Stories

Your business wouldn’t exist without your customers. So feature them in your cover photo!

Have you recently produced case studies or customer videos? Perhaps you can re-use or re-purpose customer photos from those projects. Another idea is to capture groups of customers or partners are your events (e.g. in the audience, on the exhibit floor or at social gatherings).

3) Promote Campaigns or Events

Have a trade show, live webinar or product launch happening this quarter? Use your cover image real estate to promote it. When creating assets for a campaign, ask your designers to create versions optimized to fit into the cover photo area. This team at Sprout Social assembled this useful guide on social media image sizes.

Note: be sure to update the cover photo when the event or campaign is over. Set a calendar item for the day of the event or the end-date of the campaign to remind you (or the team) to replace the cover photo with something more relevant.

Related: see our social media cheat sheet for B2B events.

The Xilinx Developer Forum is featured on the Xilinx Twitter profile:

Xilinx Twitter Profile

4) Inspire Followers

Do you have a company culture you’re proud of? Perhaps you have an office environment where employees are encouraged to destress, breathe and be mindful?

Use your cover photo to feature team members in their work environment. It shows you care about the holistic well-being of your team and makes you an attractive option for customers, partners and potential employees.

The same goes for volunteering and supporting non-profit causes. Doing good while doing well is much more than a trend for many top companies, it’s a way of being. So you can be sure if you capture meaningful moments and showcase them in your cover photo, other businesses will notice – and your good will attract more good!

The team and office environment is featured on Guidewire Software’s Twitter profile:

Guidewire Twitter Profile

5) Surprise Them!

An element of surprise in your cover photo can attract attention to your social profile. Some ideas:

  • Rotate the cover photo frequently (e.g. every 1-2 weeks)
  • Promote a poll, where you’re showcasing ideas each week and encouraging visitors to vote (i.e. point them at a URL where they’d enter their vote)
  • Provide a cover photo that’s tangentially related to what you do and have readers guess at what you’re up to
  • Allow employees, customers or community members to manage the cover photo on a daily or weekly basis
  • Provide a mysterious tagline and ask users to visit a URL to learn more

The image used on the Dropbox Facebook profile, with the word “Flowing” repeating, is a good example of surprise:

Dropbox Facebook Profile

Wrapping Up

Why are many social media cover photos uninspiring? Probably because B2B brands don’t spend enough time and effort with them. Hopefully, this post has given you ideas or inspiration to make your cover photos more captivating. Now, have at it!