This guide offers tips on how to choose suitable social media profile and header images. We go through the most popular social media platforms in turn and explain how to use our templates for each. These templates were last updated November 2015.
- First impressions
- Social media profile images
- Social media header images
- How to use our free templates
- Twitter profile template
- Facebook profile template
- Google Plus profile template
We've created a templates that you can use to help create images for your social media profiles that will fit the spaces provided. This will help you make the most of the guide by putting it into action straight away.
1. First impressions
Why is this important? Because first impressions count and the first interaction someone has with your organisation could very well be on social media. Your profile is therefore quite important, it might make the difference between a follow and a yawn. Follows and likes are not that significant in themselves but they could very well be the start of someone's relationship with your organisation. New followers can become donors, volunteers, co-workers or fundraisers.
2. Social media profile images
For a personal account your profile pic should be you, ideally a photo of your face. People want to see who they are about to follow. If you want to promote your charity with your personal account add a logo or ribbon or badge to the photo or use the header image instead.
Your organisational accounts profile should be a square version of your logo.
3. Social Media Header Images
Header images are a great opportunity to promote your nonprofit, the work you do, your successes, your story or your team. You might choose to use the same header or banner image across all of your profiles and leave it static for a strong brand statement, or you might choose to change the image regularly to promote different aspects of your organisation or promote recent work or current campaigns. While profile images should remain consistent to ensure brand recognition, you can change your social media header images much more frequently.
Using text inside images is always a slight accessibility concern. Moreover, all of your header images resize for mobile so any text may become unreadable. If you must include text then check that it can be read on your mobile too.
4. How to use the free templates
The zip file contains Photoshop templates (.psd) and layered png files for use in other image editors like Adobe Fireworks. The png templates can also be used in open source image editors like Gimp and Seashore.
In both formats the files contain 3 layers.
- The 'Background' Layer (with information about resolution and pixel sizes)
- The 'Your Image' layer (where you can paste in your background image to position and adjust)
- The 'Profile Images' layer (which contain two placeholder images to represent your profile image in desktop, tablet and mobile mode*).
To see the difference in mobile, tablet and desktop mode hide the other placeholders. To see the final image and to export your header image hide the entire 'Profile Images' layer.
*Because there are so many different resolutions on different devices the sizes and positions of the profile image placeholders are approximate but they will still give you a really good idea of the relative positioning.
5. Twitter Profile Template
With the current Twitter design there are three images to fill: your profile image, your header image and your background.
Your profile image is square and the biggest it will ever be displayed is 400 x 400, but you can upload a much bigger picture and use the image tools on the Twitter profile to resize and crop; this way Twitter will always serve up your image at the correct resolution for the device or screen the viewer is using. If you upload a smaller image sometimes people might see a blurry or pixelated version of your picture.
It is recommended that your header image should be 1500 x 500px 72dpi.
Your background will most likely be a solid colour. You have have an obvious brand colour to use. If not, you may want to try and find a colour that compliments your choice of heading image. You can find out the hex value (eg. #bada55) of a complementary colour by uploading the image to a pallet generator like this one
- Right click your logo in Twitter or on your website
- Choose copy image URL / copy image location
- Paste the URL into the palette generator
- Choose your background colour from the list provided
If you don't have photos available to use then you could consider using a pattern or texture (look at this cool pack of concrete textures available for free). It is a bit more imaginative than just having a colour.
6. Facebook Profile Template
Facebook’s guidelines on banners are available on their website. They are changed quite frequently so it's best to check there first, even though we plan to keep this resource up to date.
The current size for banners is 851 x 315 px.
The current recommended profile photo size is at least 180px wide
We recommend you upload a high resolution version and let Facebook do the optimisation for you, this way you won't end up with a fuzzy image in your banner. Changing the header from time to time will keep your page looking fresh and hopefully add to your user engagement (and edgerank).
The Google plus page for your charity (if you have one) will be promoted on a Google search engine results page (SERP) when someone searches for your organisation. This profile is displayed quite prominently so it's worth making sure it is representative of your organisation, even if you don't use Google Plus very much.
Your banner on Google plus is huge, and often quite cropped by default. A section will be visible from the standard view and different sizes and resolutions are used on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) and in the badges you can embed to promote your nonprofits G+ page on your website.