This reminds me of a time I was watching my dad finish a painting. He was getting ready to put in his signature. I asked him if he always put it in the same place. He said, no, you have to find a “home” for the signature in the painting. So the size, location, and color of the signature would vary from painting to painting.
I was thinking about this in relation to the Timelines Cover images. The profile image really needs to have a “home” within the Cover image.
In this example for Rink Strategic Communications, the colors of the image work with the logo. For example, the black in Susan’s camisole anchors with the black in her logo — it also calls attention to her as the important person in the photograph (besides the fact that she is in the center
Could a tagline have also been included here in the Cover? Maybe, but I think the text would have been too busy and would have competed with the R. What you want for many Facebook Cover images is a compelling photograph or design that complements the profile image. With Facebook Timeline Covers, you have to know when to walk away.
When planning the Timeline image for other clients, I also look at the Cover in terms of balance and composition. For example, there is a good space in the upper right corner. You don’t want to crowd the left side too much, since the profile picture is there.
That is the approach we took with this design for the Keenan PR Facebook Page. This is basically a banner ad she already (created by another designer) that she liked that we reworked for her as a Timeline Cover.
We flipped the image so the Silver Anvil award is on the right, and we moved the text and changed the font. So, the result is a more balanced composition that works with her logo, which is her profile image. See how the logo points at the message and the award? Cool, huh? That was almost accidental
This is also a good example (we didn’t design) from Constant Contact UK that gives the profile image a “home” in the Timeline Cover and makes good use of that upper right corner/sweet spot… You can tell this image was designed expressly for Facebook.
There is also a really nice flow, composition, and a great match between the Cover image and the profile image in this example from Manchester United (we did not design this one, either).
Look, by contrast, at this one from the New York Times. I suppose with that red staircase that it’s an interesting photograph. But does it make a good Timeline image? In my opinion, no. Nothing about the image communicates anything about the attributes (or a single attribute) of the New York Times (other than they have a lot of employees and a really cool staircase). It’s not memorable. It doesn’t play nicely with the profile image. I think they should give this one another shot….
Facebook is a fun and friendly environment, and it has a certain cool factor. Being overly corporate on Facebook would be a mistake just as it would be a mistake to use business jargon at a backyard barbecue. Brands have a real opportunity with these Facebook Page Timeline Covers. It’s worthwhile to design them well — to delight the viewer, as well as convey a message.
- Time to Update Your Facebook Page with a New Cover (fletcher-prince.com)
So much has been written about Twitter, but I think the core essentials can be boiled down to four reminders:
- Be Relevant
- Be Useful
- Be Original and Surprising
- Present Variety
Golden Rule #1: Thou Shalt Be Relevant
Even when you are tweeting about your company or brand, your tweets should be news-related whenever possible and appropriate.
No business or nonprofit can relate each and every tweet to what is going on in the moment. However, it does pay to keep an eye on what is trending among your followers (not what is trending on Twitter as a whole).
Importantly: if there is a major crisis or breaking news story that everyone is talking about, or an impending adverse weather event, you do not want to be tweeting about your sales promotion at that time. The response can be unfavorable, and it can make you appear insensitive. (For this reason, I counsel against the use of scheduled tweets with third party platforms.)
On the other hand, if there is an uplifting story that everyone is talking about, such as the Royal Wedding, you could, in a clever way that is still relevant, relate your key message to that trending topic, with a little creativity. Just don’t go overboard and appear spammy.
Golden Rule #2: Thou Shalt Be Useful To Thine Followers
What do your followers care about? What matters to them? What are they worried about? How can the information in the tweet you are about to post make their job easier? Help them save money on groceries? Be healthy? Do something in a better way? Reveal new ways to have fun? Tweet about that.
Useful tweets almost always require a link to an article, special offer, or YouTube video. The tweet is just the teaser; more information should be contained in the link.
If you’re wondering how much “useful” content you should post, as opposed to strictly “promotional” content, you might go for an 80/20 ratio and see how that works for you (standard recommendation for email marketing content).
Golden Rule #3: Thou Shalt Be Original and Surprising
Alternatively, the tweet for your brand can convey surprising or entertaining information. These can be short tweets that don’t have links.
If you’ve got an amazing statistic or information nugget to share that you think will shock or surprise, that’s great tweet material.
A funny saying or joke can work, but it still should be relevant to your brand. There is a PR firm that tweets cocktail recipes, at least once per week. In fact, they tend to tweet more information about cocktails than they do about their expertise or client work. On the other hand, Firefly Vodka tweets entertaining content about cocktails — which makes sense for their brand. There is a way to be both entertaining and brand-relevant: find that way. And if you can’t be entertaining in a classy way, just go for informative and helpful.
Golden Rule #4: Thou Shalt Present Variety Amongst Thy Tweets
You wouldn’t want to eat the same meal everyday, would you? The predictable soon becomes boring. So, do you follow any companies or people on Twitter that JUST post famous quotations? Or those who just post links to articles other people have written? They’re not much fun, are they? Don’t lapse into these lazy communications habits. Show your followers that they are worth the effort and mix it up!
Your Twitter profile should present a variety of tweets (all related to your brand, of course), including
- Golden nuggets: short, funny or informative updates; quick and helpful tips; milestone or anniversary announcements (no link required)
- At replies and at mentions to followers (@Twitter name)
- Links to articles and blog posts (no less than 50% of these should be authored by you or someone in your company)
- Links to YouTube video
- TwitPic links (to photo images)
- Retweets (sparingly!)
- Thank you’s and acknowledgements
- Questions for your followers; requests for suggestions or advice
- Quick comments on timely or news items, when appropriate
- Announcements of special events, promotions, or giveaways
- New product or service announcements
- Etc. (got more ideas? please list them in the comments!)
Lagniappe! Extra Twitter Tips
- Space your tweets at least an hour apart.
- Keep tweets brief; under 100 characters when possible, for retweeting space.
- Use real words, not abbreviations, for searchability.
- Add hashtags (#) for common words and search terms (but no more than one or two per tweet).
- Use retweet-generating words and phrases, such as “how-to,” “top,” “blog post” or “blog,” “great,” “help” and “check out.”
- Avoid these terms in your tweets: “lol,” “ha ha,” “home,” “game,” and “work.”
- Reconsider the use of paper.li dailies, if you are currently using them. Unoriginal, auto-generated filler content really does nothing to enhance your personal or corporate brand.
- Timing is everything: when to tweet (fletcher-prince.com)
- Twitter just got a lot more important to your brand, and here’s why (fletcher-prince.com)
- 5 Ways to Boost Your Retweets (freelanceswitch.com)
- Twitter best practices for PR professionals (theprsanccblog.wordpress.com)
In general, I am not a big fan of give-away promotional items with logos on them, such as notepads, candies, calendars, pens, and golf balls. For some companies, I suppose, they are right. For example, I stayed a nice hotel that had turn-down service at night, and on my pillow were custom chocolates. That was a nice touch that was worth it for them.
But another time, I attended an awards event once and I got a large ice scraper with a company logo on it for a communications vendor in the loot bag. Only thing is, that winter turned out to be moderate, and I never had to use it. I could probably count on one hand the days you have to use an ice scraper in DC. So, I think that company wasted their money.
What I see far more often, however, is companies not investing enough money in branding vehicles that make sense for their business.
Every business ought to have a high resolution logo for print purposes and a logo for use on Twitter, Facebook Page, YouTube, Flickr, the website, and the blog. While you are having a logo designed, you should also contract to have these variations: a header style logo for blog themes, email newsletters, and letterhead.
Here are 10 affordable logo items I believe every business and organization ought to have designed for them.
- Signage, if you are a brick and mortar business.
- Business cards.
- A website, blog or both.
- Twitter and YouTube backgrounds.
- Address labels.
- YouTube video slides.
- Email newsletter template.
7 Things That are Nice to Have
- Large car magnets.
- Buttons. But don’t expect your customers to wear them! You wear them, or have your employees wear them.
- Vinyl printed banners, vertical or horitzontal. Once you have these, you’ll find you use them often.
- A t-shirt or other wearable apparel, for you and your employees to wear.
- Postage with your logo on it.
- Notecards, for thank you notes.
- Seasonal cards (e.g. for Christmas or New Year’s).
Please contact us to design a suite of branded materials for your company.