First impressions and profile pictures are funny things. We all know by now that first impressions matter just as much online as they do in person, so making sure your parish’s Facebook page looks good is extremely important. Back in 2017, Facebook abandoned the square profile picture used since 2005 and moved to a circular shape instead.

If your parish page was created before 2017, it’s likely you are still using an older square profile picture that doesn’t perform well within the newer circular frame. Here’s an old one from “St. Sample Catholic Church,” a page we use to do testing here at Catholic Social Media:

first impressions and profile pictures

The problem is immediately apparent – this photo looks best in a square format, but in the new circular format, the priest’s head is cut off and it’s not really clear what’s going on. Instead, let’s choose a photo that would work well as a circle:

first impressions and profile pictures

Much better!

Now that you know about this, you’re going to see lots and lots of bad profile pictures on Facebook. There are probably thousands of small non-profits in North America, most of them churches, that have a profile picture that doesn’t fit the newer circular frame. And even worse, a lot of them have text in that image, like a parish name or motto, which is unreadable because of the new frame! If you start looking for these, you’ll see them all over the place. And you know what they communicate? “We don’t really care here. This page is probably defunct anyway.” What a shame!

Sometimes the new circular format will work just fine with your old photos, but if not, make sure you find something better. This takes just a few minutes to fix, but you’d be surprised how few people really understand the connection between first impressions and profile pictures.