What do you think to yourself when you see someone's Twitter avatar is the default image of an egg? Chances are, you probably assume they are either inactive, a fake account, or someone not worth following.
While almost all businesses understand that the egghead approach isn't doing them any justice, they often fail to understand that a plain, flat Twitter cover photo can be equally as off-putting to potential followers.
Think about it: Would you rather engage with a company that has a header image featuring a dozen of their happiest employees working together on a cool project, or one that relies on a plain blue rectangle to do the talking?Despite the prominent placement and size (the Twitter cover photo dimensions are 500 pixels tall by 1500 pixels wide), far too many companies are underutilizing this opportunity to express themselves. We think all they need is a little inspiration.
To give you a better sense of what a Twitter header photo done right looks like, we've put together a list of some of the best examples from companies around the world. Check them out.
23 of the Best Twitter Headers From Real Companies
When Uber rebranded in February 2016, they wrote about how their new look and feel is meant to celebrate two main things: 1) technology, and 2) the cities they serve. Their cover photo is a smart, well designed visual reflection of both these core values.
Like their app, website, and other parts of their visual brand, the cover photo is represented by bright colors and geometric patterns. All of your communications and marketing assets tell their brand's story -- and brand consistency is one tactic Uber's nailed in order to gain brand loyalty.
Canva is an easy-to-use design app, and everything about their cover photo supports their brand. For one, it encourages even non-designers to be creative, thereby encouraging tentative customers to use their products. It's also fun, friendly, and colorful, all of which are characteristics consistent throughout their web presence. Finally, and most importantly, it was probably made using Canva, which lets you create simple designs using images, text, and objects. Overall, very well done.
Target's creative cover photo is almost so mesmerizing that we don't want to look away. Both the red and white pattern and the two girls' red and white outfits perfectly compliment their signature target logo, making for a visually interesting look and feel. We're giving Target an A+ for coordination.
The collage SlideShare created for their header photo is an interesting way to show off what people can expect to see on the social presentation platform. While collage formats can sometimes appear cluttered, they managed to arrange this image strategically so it doesn't feel overwhelming. Not to mention, this approach doubles as a way for them to delight their users by highlighting real presentations for the whole Twittersphere to see.
British Airways' cover photo is perfectly simple. While the high quality image of the plane dominates most of the space, our favorite part is on that left-hand side: the names of their other social media accounts. By including these, they are essentially opening up the door for Twitter users to follow their business on their preferred platform.
6) Taco Bell
Ahh, Taco Bell, the social media darling marketers can't help but love. They're rocking almost every social platform imaginable: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and even Snapchat. And while this Twitter header is fairly simple, we love that it's consistent with their other social media accounts, such as their Facebook cover photo below.
Plus, they always use fun, bright colors to create a unique, thematic experience across all of their accounts. This is a great trick for anyone looking to enhance their brand consistency.
Netflix's Twitter header image is a great example of a brand that knows how to capitalize on this prominently placed visual space. Here, they use the space to promote one of their latest shows. And honestly, who doesn't love a good Netflix recommendation?
We also love how they've aligned across their international accounts on the same promotions. Check out the variations below from four different areas of the world to see how their cover photo has been translated consistently.
When someone new arrives on your Twitter profile, something about your profile needs to compel them to stick around. If they can't easily figure out what your company does, you risk losing them pretty quickly. Why not tell them right in your cover photo? Animoto uses that precious real estate -- the very first place that draws the eye on your Twitter profile -- to nail their value proposition. While they reiterate what they do in their Twitter description, putting it right out there in an attractive visual is a great way to communicate that value prop faster.
For those of us who don't have professional or stock photography at our disposal, here's a great example to inspire you. Basecamp, a project management software company, doesn't have a product that's easy to showcase through photos, either. Instead, they use a collection of icons to portray what the company does. The checkmarks, conversation bubbles, and to-do lists all lead back to a single theme: productivity.
The colorful high-definition image RioTinto uses for their cover photo catches the eye right away. And while the massive machinery is impressive, what we're most interested in is the inclusion of one of their employees. Aware that people want to do business with other people, it's great to see RioTinto spotlighting one of the faces behind their business to provide a personal touch.
If you're not already familiar with Etsy, it can be best described as a peer-to-peer ecommerce website for handmade and vintage goods. With that said, it's only right that they'd employ an artsy collage of images to represent their do-it-yourself roots. The collage make for an interesting display of colors that are consistent with wedding season, while also inspiring crafty followers to get creatin'.
Starbucks' Twitter header photo looks like a high quality version of something you'd pull from a #Starbucks hashtag search on Instagram. For that reason, we're certain that this is something that will catch the eye of their loyal customers and resonate with them. Whether you take your coffee with cream and sugar or you prefer to drink it black, this image will have any coffee lovers craving an ice-cold caffeine fix.
TOMS' entire business is based on the one-for-one business model that helps provide shoes, sight, water, safe birth and bullying prevention services to people in need from all over the world. Their cover photo is an interesting showcase of both their product -- the shoes themselves -- and that message of improving lives so central to their brand.
It's hard not to smile at this whimsical cartoon header from Danone. And with a tagline that reads "alimenta sonrisas," meaning "feeds smiles," the image serves as the perfect compliment to their vision. Between the flowers and adorable smiling yogurt container, there's a lot to look at without being overly cluttered.
Zendesk is a cloud-based customer service software system that has built a charming brand with a little help from their jolly Buddha mascot. We love this choice of a meme-like cover photo, which is a funny nod to their value proposition: building software for better customer relationships. "Because relationships are complicated," reads their Twitter description. Enough said.
16) Old Spice
Known for their tomfoolery, Old Spice's Twitter cover photo is a great visualization of their quirky, charismatic approach to marketing. Between helicopters spouting laser beams to flaming lion and bear heads, this header image is both inventive and humorous, traits consistent with their brand.
17) Caterpillar Inc.
There are two reasons why Caterpillar Inc.'s cover photo is awesome. First, there's the quality of the photo and editing job. Since the profile picture is on the left on Twitter, they've added some balance to the cover photo design by having the focus of the image be on the right. That makes the overall design more aesthetically pleasing. Secondly, the Caterpillar trucks aren't the main focus here. Instead, they chose to highlight the man on the right-hand side of the screen, which helps to humanize the brand.
Whereas British Airways simply listed the names of their other social media accounts, CNN includes theirs in a very clever, more visually interesting way: by showing screenshots of what they look like. More importantly, they're showing them on mobile screens -- because they know that many people are reading the news on their mobile phones nowadays. This is a unique idea for showing Twitter users that the company has a presence on other social networks so users can follow them on the platforms they prefer.
Rather than highlighting their fancy products, Dior chose a less expected approach: They highlighted the backdrop to their most recent #DiorHomme show. This is a creative way to highlight that Dior is about far more than just the clothing and accessories: it's about the art of it all.
To give you some context, here's what the backdrop looked like at the show itself:
LEGO's toy building bricks are so visual that you'd probably expect them to feature some sort of elaborate castle made entirely out of Legos. Instead, the folks at LEGO went with a vibrant yellow close-up, which makes for a surprising and visually interesting display. Between the clean lines and sharp angles, we love this abstract approach.
21) Vodafone Group
Your Twitter header photo is a valuable piece of real estate -- and it's a great space for promoting current marketing campaigns. Vodafone cleverly includes a hashtag for one of their campaigns in their cover photo to draw interest and drive engagement. Aside from the hashtag, the image maintains a consistent color scheme, especially with the reds and whites of its logo. Notice, for example, that the chairs in the photo have a red-and-white striped pattern.
22) Maersk Line
We've written about Maersk Line's Twitter presence before. We especially admire how their social media team has found a way to find the beauty in a stereotypically "boring" industry -- container shipping -- through brilliant photography. The company's cover photo, which plays with light and reflections at sunset, is a perfect example of the gorgeous imagery found throughout their Twitter page.
23) innocent drinks
Not only do the folks at innocent drinks have a wonderful Twitter presence, but we also commend them for drawing attention to their commitment to charity. Many consumers look for little ways they can help make a difference, so highlighting their donation process could help convert potential customers while helping them to establish a positive reputation.
What other awesome Twitter cover photos have you seen from brands on Twitter? Share your favorites with us in the comments below.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in May 2014 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.