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updated 12/29/2012 1:47:06 PM ET 2012-12-29T18:47:06

It's nearly impossible to be on your Facebook page these days and not see images and photos with marketing messages in them. It's become a savvy way for brands to catch consumers' attention and promote their business. But as we enter the New Year, make sure you're familiar with Facebook's updated policy concerning text overlays on images and photos.

Starting on January 15, Facebook is restricting the amount of text you can use in your Page's cover photo and News Feed ads to no more than 20 percent of the image's area. This includes Page Post ads and sponsored stories, but only applies to those ads in the News Feed, not the marketplace ads in the right column. This 20 percent limit also includes any text within logos.

Facebook has had a policy that restricts the use of URLs, calls-to-action, contact information and references to Facebook actions such as Like or Share in your Page's cover photo -- but has rarely enforced it. With the addition of this text overlay rule, Facebook is promising to be more diligent with its enforcement by developing an automated tool that can quickly review and determine whether each cover photo or post that you want to promote is compliant.

Related: How Facebook's Updated 'Nearby' Tool Can Boost Your Business

How this can affect your brand's Facebook strategy: It looks as though Facebook is trying to improve the quality of people's News Feed, minimizing marketing messages and images that look like banner ads. To help maximize your brand's exposure on Facebook while staying compliant with the new policies, here are a few helpful guidelines:

1. Images remain an important strategy. You can still post images with more than 20 percent text as long as you don't promote them in the News Feed. You can also use these posts for Page Post ads so long as they only appear in the marketplace area.

2. Tell a story with your cover photo. Choose a unique image that represents your brand, such as a picture of a menu item or someone using your product. Switch out your cover photos periodically to keep it fresh. Facebook's guidelines detail what can and can't be included in your cover image.

3. Test. Keep track of the types of posts and images that resonate with your fans. Facebook's insights can give you an overview of what your fans are responding to the most.

For example, many posts from cellular network provider T-Mobile show how an image can effectively tell a visual story with minimal text.

Related: What You Need to Know About Facebook's New Privacy Controls

What do you think about Facebook's new rules for images and text? Let us know in the comments below.
 

Copyright © 2013 Entrepreneur.com, Inc.

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