If you’re active on social media personally or professionally, then the Christmas season can be a great time to build your audience.

Particularly if you manage an account for a business or brand, decking out your profile can enhance engagement by providing opportunities to offer special gifts or promotions, advertise seasonal products, or just spread some Christmas cheer to your followers.

Today, we’ll be looking at some Facebook users who changed their timeline covers to good effect in a way that suits the season, but also (in many cases) boosts their brand image and/or offers value to their followers. When we’re done, we’ll pull out some practical takeaways that you can apply to your own social media efforts this holiday season. But first, let’s dig into some examples and why they’re working so well:

01. Represent Your Brand or Personality

1

Allstate

Just because you’re designing a one-off, Christmas-themed Facebook cover doesn’t mean it can’t tie into existing branding or imagery. In fact, your cover photo is the first thing visitors to your page will see — your own personal billboard where you can say or show whatever you like — so it has the potential to make a big impact. And if you’re running a Facebook page for your business, it’s the biggest piece of real estate you have to reinforce your branding. Allstate takes advantage of this space to echo its logo in terms of both content and color, but in a way that’s unexpected and seasonal.

02. The More the Merrier

2

Target

Can’t choose just one photo to use? Not a problem. Multiply the impact of your cover with several images arranged in a row or grid. Target has done that with a series of images that presumably shows off different products available at its retail stores — from winter clothing to Christmas décor to holiday party paraphernalia — all predominantly red to match its brand color.

03. Create a Themed Profile Pic

3

Red Tricycle

To really drive home the Christmas theme of your cover, why not create a fun profile picture to match? Here, Red Tricycle keeps it simple by placing a snowflake behind its normal logo; the background also blends in nicely with the cover photo. As to the cover itself, it advertises a special holiday contest (with a prize giveaway) to engage followers.

04. Go Back to Basics

4

Tim Hortons

Want to give your cover a little warmth and personality? Try something written or drawn by hand, cut from paper, or otherwise not computer generated. It often feels more personal than slick graphics. Tim Hortons, a Canadian coffee shop chain, has gone the chalkboard route with simple, sketched snowflakes and a hashtag to promote sharing on other networks. It does have an imperfect, spontaneous feel, but that’s a big part of the design’s charm. The brand’s holiday cup is also front and center, and appears in the profile picture as well for continuity.

05. Make an Emotional Connection

5

Kodak Moments

When a design makes viewers feel something, you’re well on your way to encouraging them to do something (which is the point of most social media campaigns) — whether that’s responding, sharing, signing up, or buying. Kodak Moments has chosen an image for its emotional impact; the joy on children’s faces on Christmas morning is a memory everyone can relate to.

06. Go Beyond Red & Green

6

Pandora

Red and green is a classic Christmas color combination, but you can get more creative with your color choices and still create an effective holiday theme. Here, Pandora uses a palette of wintry blues. The colors and interesting type choices combine to form an eye-catching advertisement for a holiday event.

As another example, the following cover from charitable organization World Vision makes its brand color, a bright shade of orange, dominant in the design. Not a typical choice to bring the Christmas season to mind, but other elements — particularly a silhouette of the three wisemen (or magi) following a star — help establish a theme centered around Christmas and gift-giving. The profile picture also repeats the theme and features a tagline that ties into the organization’s Christmas donation drive and matching hashtag. As an extra motivation to donate, the cover features one of the children who has been sponsored by World Vision, giving contributors a way to see the potential results of their generosity — and connect emotionally with the cause.

7

World Vision

Lastly, a photographic example. Lowe’s sets a Christmas scene not with red and green, but with plenty of white accented by vibrant jewel tones. The image stands out because of its distinctive, non-traditional color scheme:

8

Lowe’s

07. Advertise a Festive Promotion

9

Post Planner

If you do choose to run a Christmas contest or promotion on your business page, make sure to review Facebook’s rules and guidelines for Pages content.

08. Grab Their Gaze

10

H&M

Eye contact is a powerful thing. Our brains like to look for, and at, faces — so when you have one as the focal point of your cover, you’re sure to get more eyes on your design. Clothing retailer H&M magnifies the effect by placing the eyes of the model just about at eye level as you look at the screen, then makes the cover seasonal by featuring one of its holiday sweaters and a pop of red.

09. Create Leading Lines

11

Pottery Barn

Another way to draw viewers in with photography is through perspective. Here, Pottery Barn has created a wintry vignette featuring some of its home furnishings and Christmas décor. Notice how the angle of the sofas creates leading lines that invite you into the scene. You can create leading lines in designs that don’t include photography with the strategic arrangement of shapes, lines, and even text.

10. Appeal to the Senses

12

Fannie May Chocolates

If a design makes someone want to reach out and touch it, smell it, or taste it, then you’re probably doing a good job of engaging your audience’s senses and making your product look appealing. Fannie May Chocolates is doing this well in their Christmas Facebook cover. In addition to the tasty-looking chocolates with creamy coatings and crunchy sprinkles, notice all the textures in the photo: the crisp paper wrappers, the soft candy-cane-striped ribbon — even the background has an interesting texture. These kind of details make the photo (and the product being promoted) jump off the page.

This photo from Kohl’s also looks festive and inviting with patterned Christmas sweaters, a steaming mug of hot cocoa with fluffy marshmallows, and a first-person perspective (as if you’re looking down at the cup in your own hands):

13

Kohl’s

11. Double Up

14

ModCloth

If you don’t want to design a cover as involved as a grid of photos as we discussed in example #2, then try just two images. Having more to look at keeps viewers’ focus for a little bit longer. This cover from ModCloth has a fun, wintry feel reminiscent of photo booth images. Notice also the wrapped gifts peeking out from the corner profile picture — a subtle, Christmas-y addition to the brand’s normal logo.

12. Get Nostalgic

15

Disney

The Christmas season is one for cherished memories. Give viewers those warm, fuzzy feelings by evoking a little nostalgia, whatever that looks like for you or your brand. For Disney, it involves the original cast of Disney characters in a classic illustration style. A matching profile picture — Mickey Mouse in traditional red and green — completes the theme. The content of the cover also completely fills the frame, which can be an engaging compositional technique.

As another example, this cover photo seems straight out of a holiday movie with a cozy cabin lit with Christmas lights and surrounded by snow-covered pines. It’s a picture-perfect scene that’s probably supposed to represent the nostalgic idea of going home for Christmas, but it also fits American Eagle’s slightly outdoorsy, all-American brand image.

16

American Eagle

13. Keep It Simple

17

Samsung

Here, Samsung shows off one of its newest products and gets into a holiday mood with the addition of a few simple graphics: snowflakes and holly. The use of holly leaves as the hands on the watch face is a clever way to make this product (and possible Christmas gift) the focal point of the cover in a seasonal way.

14. Feature a Recognizable Figure

18

Brit + Co

Brit + Co is a media company and online community focused on creativity and DIY projects for women and girls. For the company’s Facebook cover, the founder — Brit herself — makes an appearance in a Santa hat. A simple approach, but one that features the “face” of the brand and will connect with its target audience.

15. Reference Christmas Culture

19

Sephora

Sephora’s “Oh What Fun!” typography and hashtag in this cover reference the lyrics of “Jingle Bells,” a familiar Christmas carol. A happy-looking group dressed in their holiday best and toting piles of wrapped gifts (in the brand’s recognizable striped packaging; some subtle branding) supports the message of the text.

Here’s another example that’s a little less obvious, but still effective. Betty Crocker, a legacy brand known for its cookbooks, recipes, and baking/food products, has used its cover to advertise a special promotion: 24 Days of Cookies, with a free Christmas cookie recipe offered on each day. The title subtly references the “12 Days of Christmas” song, and the design’s cookie-themed scene and festive typography look inviting.

20

Betty Crocker

16. Have Fun With It

21

Dairy Queen

A little fun and humor can go a long way in connecting with your audience. Here, fast food chain Dairy Queen joins the ugly Christmas sweater trend by creating a design that features the product that launched the brand back in the 1930s (soft-serve ice cream cones) alongside reindeer for an amusing (and on-brand) cover.

17. Tell a Story

22

Make-A-Wish Foundation

The Make-A-Wish Foundation arranges trips and special experiences for children with life-threatening illnesses. For its Christmas Facebook cover, the organization simply shares the story of one of its recipients: 5-year-old Avery has a tumor, and her wish is to see snow and build a snowman. Avery’s story is told in only a few words and an image, and the message of the design is clear: users can help fulfill these types of wishes for deserving children — and what better gift to give this holiday season?

18. Work on Some Wordplay

23

Verizon

Verizon knows that phones and other tech gifts are big business around the holidays. Its cover encourages shoppers to check off those Christmas lists using a memorable play on words. This tagline is being featured across the company’s various advertising and social media campaigns, including as a hashtag.

PetsSmart has also gone this route with a clever, pet-themed hashtag that rhymes with “holidays” (Plus, who doesn’t love pets dressed in Christmas sweaters?):

24

PetsSmart

19. Create a Christmas Character

25

Trulia

Trulia, a real estate search site, has created a gingerbread man character as a sort of mascot for its 12-day “Daily Dough” cash giveaway. The brand has also had a running series of posts featuring “GingerFred” and “GingerElla” trying to find their perfect gingerbread house. This creates a fun and humorous story for users to follow and also helps the brand stand out.

26

Gingerbread

20. Add a Call to Action

27

ShortStack

Telling followers exactly what your business can do for them with a clear call to action (or CTA) is a marketing must — something that the folks at ShortStack, a software company that helps users run online marketing campaigns, know well. So it’s rather appropriate that they’ve included a seasonal CTA on their Facebook cover. But it’s more than just a marketing slogan; clicking on the image leads to information about a special Holiday Workshop and a collection of free resources.

21. Opt for Illustration

28

Tiffany & Co.

Plugging in a photo and calling it done may be your first inclination when you’re designing a Facebook cover. But a custom illustration that represents your brand — like this retro Christmas scene from Tiffany & Co. that has that iconic Tiffany blue throughout — can help you stand out from the crowd.

22. Put Your Product in a Christmas Scene

29

Hershey’s Kisses

Looking to market your product in a seasonal way? Give it a life of its own by casting it in a starring role in a Christmas scene, like Hershey’s Kisses has done with its classic candy.

23. Combine a Photo + Typography

We’re going to look at two different techniques here. First, overlaying text on top of a photo: Kmart keeps it simple with an image of happy children sledding in the snow and a tagline in red and green (another reference to “Jingle Bells”) set in a bold font. The company has also included the phrase as a hashtag in its profile picture.

30

Kmart

Ancestry.com’s cover, on the other hand, separates the text and the image, leading viewers across the cover from left to right and ending with a vintage Christmas snapshot to support the idea of documenting family history.

31

Ancestry.com

To Wrap Up…

Let’s look at a few takeaways that you can apply to your own Christmas-themed Facebook cover:

1) Boost your brand. Whether this is through including brand colors, integrating a logo, or showing off products, you can use your cover to both establish a Christmas theme AND reinforce your branding.

2) Include a themed hashtag. To encourage engagement and sharing across other social media platforms, create a memorable holiday hashtag that relates to your seasonal marketing. As we’ve seen in many of the examples here, you can include it right in your cover design or even as part of your profile picture.

3) Create a Christmas contest or giveaway. Everybody likes receiving Christmas gifts, and this is the season of giving, after all. So spread a little holiday cheer to your followers by offering some sort of prize. Even if it’s small, knowing they’re appreciated will help your customers and prospects connect more deeply with your brand.

4) Try photos of kids or pets. There’s a reason actors have been known to say they won’t work with children or animals: they always end up being the center of attention. And if you’ve spent any time on the Internet, you know that photos of kids and pets never fail to attract attention either. So if it suits your purposes, it wouldn’t hurt to give the technique a try and see what kind of response you get.

5) Get the dimensions right. Last but certainly not least, if you’re going to the trouble of designing a custom Christmas cover, make sure you have the dimensions right so your design looks its best. You can find what you need to know here.

Your Turn

We hope you’ve collected some inspiring ideas to deck the halls of your Facebook page this holiday season. Click here to get started designing the ultimate Christmas Facebook cover now in Canva.

Merry Christmas and Happy Designing!

Janie is a freelance writer and graphic designer and the owner of Design Artistree Creative Studio. After college, she built on her background in art to explore design...and loved it. Now, she enjoys finding ways to combine the craftsmanship of traditional fine arts with the digital possibilities of graphic design.