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Facebook may generate a lot of hate. But it generates even more interest — especially from marketers who struggle daily to keep up with its ever changing guidelines on how and what to do everything from encourage page "likes" to keep customers engaged.

So it was with great interest that I stumbled upon a blog by Emily Goodrich. She's a technical writer at Heyo, a Blacksburg, Va.-based startup that wants to help small-business owners gain followers on sites like Facebook and Twitter and convert those followers into email captures and sales. 

Goodrich shared a marketing essential: a Facebook image size cheatsheet.

Just Show Me

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Say what you want about words. But they're just so ... well, they just take so much effort to read. But a picture? That's a cat of a different color. As Christopher Riegger, Chief Operating Officer at Heyo explained, images on social networks like Facebook can make the difference between customer engagement and apathy.

"Why? So many reasons," he said. "For one, it's proven that people can mentally process an image much faster than text. Consumer attention spans are getting shorter and people seem to engage more with visual content (photos/videos) than they will take the time to read something and respond to it."

In addition, he said, Facebook just plain prefers visual content in its Newsfeed. "For instance, post an algorithm change in January, text updates by businesses on Facebook are less visible, while linkshare posts (that include an image) are more visible," he said.

Most marketers seem to have a general understanding of what they should do. But Riegger said few of them get it "spot on."

"A great image for a business or brand in the Facebook Newsfeed will do a few things," he continued. 

  • Be bright and grab attention. Lots of competition in the Newsfeed. You need to be bold to cut through all the funny videos and baby pics.
  • Communicate a clear call-to-action. What are you trying to communicate? What do you want the consumer to do/think?
  • Be on brand. Here's a favorite example.
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    Mimi is an email marketing company that endeavors to make email marketing really, really simple. Their brand is part simplicity, part fun, part hip. That Facebook Promoted Post is spot on for their brand.
  • Use images of people. Research shows that images of people get more clicks, especially on Facebook. (Ed. note: Like the main image in this story, a photo Asa Aarons Smith took of George Poniros, co-owner of the Roast Grill Hot Weiners in Raleigh, N.C. 

Canned Images Don't Make It

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While stock photos seem to be a marketer's best friend, cheesy images of people with weird facial expressions and strange poses don't cut it. 

"Your brand deserves more than that and so do your customers. If you have to purchase an image, do so with the above thoughts in mind and go for something fresher and brighter. No cheesy, smiling people in suits!" he said.

But the picture alone is just part of the story. You have to size 'em right too. And that's where our friend Goodrich comes in, with her rundown of Facebook image size and video dimensions on your fan page and the Newsfeed, based on Facebook’s current setup.

Here is what you need to know, Goodrich explained.

Cover image: The dimensions for a cover image are 851 pixels by 315 pixels. Of that space, about 667 pixels by 117 pixels will be unobstructed by elements such as the company name and profile picture. Facebook’s cover image advice? “To get the fastest load times for your Page, upload an sRGB JPG file that’s 851 pixels wide, 315 pixels tall and less than 100 kilobytes. For images with your logo or text-based content, you may get a higher quality result by using a PNG file.”

Profile picture: The image size to upload for this picture must be 180 pixels by180 pixels, though it displays at 160 pixels by160 pixels.

App icons: For most of the apps you connect to your fan page, you should have the ability to customize the thumbnail image that is displayed along with the app title. This is not true of Facebook apps, like Notes or Videos, but is true of any pages you add from other apps. The exact size of these thumbnails is 111 pixels by 74 pixels.

Link share posts: The image associated with your link share will display at 484 pixels by 252 pixels.

Photo posts: Photo Posts have a 504 pixel fixed width, but the height varies based on the image. It is recommended to upload images at 1200×1200 pixels for the best display, but on your Timeline and in fan’s Newsfeeds, the image will be cropped to a 504 pixels wide.

Event share posts: The image on the Event Share post is 470 pixels by 174 pixels.

Event page covers: Make these 784 pixels by 295 pixels.

Video share posts: When you upload a picture directly to Facebook, the video will display in the post at 504 pixels by 283 pixels.

Sidebar ads: Most of the ads in Facebook’s right hand sidebar are 100 pixels by 72 pixels. The newer, larger sidebar ad photos are approximately 350 pixels by 125 pixels.

Mobile Images

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