On March 30, 2012, Facebook forced brands into a change.
Moving from the traditional look of the simple box icon to the more dynamic Facebook Timeline, which features a large cover photo, allowed business page operators and social media specialists to think outside the box and brand through visuals.
While it was an annoying switch for some, Timeline broadened the horizon for customizable creativity by giving the brand an online billboard to showcase whatever they desired. Businesses have taken advantage of the graphic advertising opportunity, particularly the sports industry, which has done everything from sell a product, promote an event or just display their brand beautifully.
Below (in no specific order) are 10 examples of successful ways that the sports industry has grasped Facebook Timeline’s cover photos.
What’s better than a rivalry? Fans that frequent the Flyers’ Facebook are instantly greeted with a perfectly timed shot of the Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins benches jawing at each other during a game. The two clubs face each other in the first round of the 2012 NHL Playoffs, making the photo one that creates an emotional reaction from the fan base.
When the NFL swapped jersey-maker Reebok for Nike at the conclusion of the 2011 season, the Seahawks were the lone team to sport a new design to their threads. Promoting this change on their Facebook, the Seahawks took Timeline as an opportunity to display star running back Marshawn Lynch looking like a beast in the new unis.
Instead of try to sell a product, the Devils’ Facebook promotes its fans. Displaying a “Fan of the Week” photo in their cover photo, the Devils are pushing community-first tactics in a forum of supporters, forming a solid and loyal bond between the customers and the brand.
No one flashes more school pride than a college athlete or a fan of a particular college team. USC knows this and posted their cover photo accordingly. Listing an impressive numbers breakdown of their athletic program, USC is not only boasting to their chest-puffing supporters but winking at potential high school recruits.
Most Major League Baseball teams like to give their fans a cover photo of the home ballpark. The hi-res shots have the team’s Facebook community hearing the crack of the bat and smelling the summer beer. However, for a baseball fan, there is nothing like legendary Fenway Park at night and the Red Sox know this. Posting a summer photo of Fenway gives the community a nostalgic feeling and pushes them to get back to their baseball church.
While the Devils promote fans, the Red Bulls promote home games. In this example, the Red Bulls, an MLS team that struggles to fill a beautiful but large stadium in Harrison, NJ, are using their space as an e-billboard, pushing an upcoming contest against the San Jose Earthquakes. But what’s impressive about this cover photo is the embedded links to their Twitter and Facebook page — something many teams do without.
7. Arizona Cardinals Unite Assets for the Facebook Experience
In standard fashion, the Cardinals post a beautifully designed event cover photo to promote an upcoming draft party. Yet, the dazzle is in the categories, which are designed to match the primary photo. The Cardinals also post created and used cover photos in an accessible category for fan use.
8. Detroit Red Wings Tap into Tradition
Letting the photo tell the story, the Reds Wings tap into the nostalgia of Fenway and the pride of USC’s brag by posting their Stanley Cup Championship banners in a color-themed cover photo. One of the NHL’s most successful teams, the Red Wings have a long tradition of winning and make that very clear in their Timeline design.
9. New York Jets Sync Pictures for Action Shot
Timeline has given brands an opportunity to be creative and visually please their base. The Jets took full advantage of that with this look. Using the standard icon photo to match a great looking Jets-themed action shot featuring their well-known helmets, the Jets give people a reason to check out their page.
10. Manchester City Goes Blue to Brand
While selling a product or pushing a brand is the primary function of business cover photos, there is something to be said for flashing good aesthetics in the process. Looking at Manchester City, blue is the common theme and they stick to it tightly and beautifully when featuring fan-favorite players and crest. Rivals to the red-colored Manchester United, nicknamed the “Red Devils,” Manchester City is branding by looking good in blue.