Branded images on social media pages, used to establish an identity for your company, matter more than you might think. For many people, your presence on social media is the first exposure to your brand that they have. Your social media banner should reflect your core values as a company as well as your unique value proposition. They must fit your overall style as an organization while remaining consistent across different mediums.
Statista predicts 3.43 billion people worldwide will use social media by 2023. In the United States, about 79% of people are on some platform or another. You can reach almost any target audience you’d like on one of the networks. You just have to know your buyer personas and where they are most likely to spend their time.
Although there are numerous elements that go into a robust online presence, your social media banner is the cornerstone of your content. Here are some tips for creating the best possible social media banners you can and the tools you should use to get there.
Parts to Banner Design
There are some specific parts to social media banner design that you should keep in mind:
The size of your banner matters. If you don’t create the social media banner according to the social media site’s specifications, you risk parts of your image or text being cut off. You also want the resolution to be as sharp as possible.
Consider where you’ll use the banner. Do you plan to utilize it in a social media display ad or the header of your Facebook page? Perhaps you want a post for Instagram. All of these platforms and purposes have different size requirements.
Visit the location where you plan to use the banner and get the correct dimensions for your project. Another option is creating several versions in different common sizes, such as:
- 300 pixels by 250 pixels rectangle
- 728 by 90 leaderboard
- 320 by 50 mobile leaderboard
- 160 by 600 skyscraper
- 820 by 312 Facebook cover
Choose the sizes that make the most sense to you, and don’t forget about your mobile users.
Your next step is choosing the best background for your project. You should use something unique to your brand instead of a stock photograph other businesses might copy:
- Choose a unique and relevant image.
- Be aware of the shades of color and how the text might look laid on top.
- Overlay the image with a solid, transparent color to match your brand’s color scheme.
- Make sure the resolution is high enough for scaling up in size.
- Stay away from busy patterns.
Your background should reflect what you do and give a subtle message to visitors. Your social media banner should stand out from the competition.
Take a look at the Facebook cover banner for Custom Wood Creations‘ page. They utilize a simple background of wood to represent the material they work with. They then overlay their logo in the center. It is a simple but very effective design.
Text & Subtext
Your next step is choosing the heading and subheading for your social media banner. If you’re creating a banner for a display ad, the words will be quite different from making a cover photo for your business page. Remember to:
- Choose typography reflecting your personality as a brand.
- Make sure the text is readable on top of the background image. You may need to add shadows or use a different color.
- Create a type hierarchy. Headings should be more substantial and subheadings slightly smaller.
- Keep words tight, active and to the point.
Your text also creates an impression on users, so use every word to your best advantage.
We love the beautiful typography on the Wood Crafts & More page. Wood crafting passes from one generation to the next, so the more traditional font in the title reflects the history of the craft. They then use a serif font to highlight what the group offers members.
Even though it’s not part of the typography, look also at the mix of images used for the background and the white box in the middle to offset the text.
Purpose and CTA
Figure out the purpose of your social media banner. Do you want to create brand awareness? Perhaps your goal is to drive traffic to a specific landing page on your website. Think about these objectives:
- Choose CTA wording based on your objective for the banner.
- Make it clear what step users need to take next through the language of your CTA.
- What is your unique value proposition (UVP), and how can you communicate it to your audience?
Cut anything unnecessary to your goal for the banner.
Netflix changes out their Twitter banner frequently. One thing we love about all their banners is the clear CTA on them to “Watch Now” whatever show they are currently promoting. The heading is the movie title and is more significant than any other text on the page. They use a subheading and a different color to indicate the show is available on Netflix and then use a two-word CTA to encourage viewing.
Tools for Creating Social Media Banners
There are many different tools for small business owners to create a professional-looking social media banner. We’ve looked at our top social media tools and come up with a list of options suitable for beginners and more experienced designers.
If you’re busy running your company and don’t have time to learn design, you may want to hire someone to do the work for you. The time you’ll save is well worth the cost, and you’ll have a banner with a professional edge.
Canva is free to try out. If you use basic images, it may not cost you anything. However, to do things such as resize a current creation, you’ll need a professional account. You also can buy some of their images for added features on your banner. Canva will let you know which ones are free and which ones cost money.
Photoshop is the tool of choice for experienced designers. You can create advanced graphics with the program. If you want a gradient effect or transparent areas, Photoshop is your software. However, there is a steep learning curve with this program. If you haven’t used it before, allow extra time to learn about designing with Photoshop.
Bannersnack is another online banner creation tool with more than 10,000 different templates. Choose the one suited to your needs and customize it for your business. You can create marketing ads, images or graphics for any of the major social media networks.
These are just a few of the options available. Find the one that’s easy to use and with the templates closest to your style.
Creating Images for Social Media
Getting your social presence just right requires attention to detail and understanding of the dimensions needed for each platform. The tools above help you find just the right sizing and layouts to ensure users see the most vital information. With a little practice, your social banner will serve as a statement about your brand.
About The Author
Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her re-reading the Harry Potter series, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or hanging out with her dogs, Bear and Lucy.
Knowing how to create the right social media banner can make a huge difference in your conversions and sales.