This article has been contributed by Chris Collins.
If you have objectives for your social media activities, you know that appearance is everything. Without high quality visuals, it’s almost impossible to achieve cut-through and engage with your target audience.
We’ve all heard the phrase, “a picture is worth a thousand words”, right? Well, it’s absolutely true. Approximately 90% of the information processed by the brain is visual, while the human mind is thought to process images up to 60,000 times faster than text.
But how do you make sure your appearance on social channels stands out from the crowd? Well, here are our top 5 tips for social media graphic design.
5 Social Media Graphic Design Tips to Stand Out & Boost Engagement
1. Balance Your Text, Images and Videos
To genuinely appeal to your audience, you’ll need to create social media posts that are balanced and capable of leveraging relevant media elements simultaneously. Here’s where social media graphic design comes in.
Carefully consider the precise type of content that you’re publishing and your underlying objectives.
Video for Social Media
Video content has a growing influence on social marketing channels.
In fact, it’s thought that 82% of Twitter users utilise social media for video over text, highlighting the potentially important role that video can play as part of your marketing campaigns.
At the same time, we’d recommend maintaining an open and inquisitive mind when determining how to present the content in your social media posts.
This is particularly true when creating infographics, which represents one of the most popular types of branded content shared through social media.
It’s thought that infographics deliver up to 120-180% more engagement than text-only posts, so long as you get the execution right and avoid saturating an already competitive market with relatively generic content.
You can achieve this by creating unique designs that move away from standard graph presentations, perhaps by utilising corporeal photos taken directly from a consumer’s perspective.
By then overlaying this type of unique and authentic imagery with relevant and concise text, you can create truly engaging infographics that are far more likely to be shared prolifically online.
Using Text in Social Media Posts
In general terms, text overlays represent an excellent way of combining different media elements organically in a single post. They also enable you to make the most of the advertising real estate at your disposal online, while encouraging you to utilise concise text that’s written in an active tense.
The key is to holistically pair images with text, in a way that reinforces both your messaging and the likely impact in the minds of customers.
It’s important that you don’t overly obscure imagery with excess or large text, or use colour combinations that make the post difficult to read or process visually.
2. Choosing the Right Images
Whether you intend to create social media images from scratch or utilise existing pictures, it’s crucial that they’re presented as effectively as possible if they’re to achieve optimal impact.
Obviously, unique images can be the most impactful from the perspective of branding. Plus, they can capture the attention of individuals on crowded social media platforms.
Lighting for Social Media Photography
It’s especially important to prioritise lighting of images you’ll be using in your posts. Natural or partially diffused grey lighting will help to create clean lines and even distribution.
Framing Social Media Images
Similarly, the framing of your photographs is incredibly important. This ties into the so-called ‘rule of thirds’, which is a classic photography principle that’s broadly applied to composing visual images from everything from websites to paintings.
With this technique, you should visualise your image as a nine-square grid, which should be available as a viable setting on your smartphone or digital camera.
The focus on the image should then be positioned at one of the intersections in order to create a balanced and effective image.
Social Media Graphic Design Tools
From the sole perspective of graphic design, you should also make use of various tools and software packages to help optimise your content and imagery.
From universal tools such as Photoshop to innovative platforms like Pixelmator Pro, these entities can help you to edit your imagery intelligently and create various layers to optimise the overall visual effect.
Related: Get 40-70% off Adobe Creative Cloud
3. Choose the Right Typography
In the complex world of branding, there are a number of finer details that are all too easy to overlook.
Perhaps the best example of this is provided by your choice of typography, as this can have a deceptively significant impact on how your social posts are viewed by your target audience.
A key social mediagraphic design tip is to refrain from combining more than two separate typefaces in a single social media post, so you’ll have to focus on a core selection of options.
Perhaps the best type of font for social media content is sans-serif, which is a broader category of a number of popular and widely used typefaces.
This selection of fonts offers various advantages from a graphic design perspective, primarily because they’re easy to read on all devices and in an array of different sizes (thanks to the lack of loops and swirls that can make serif fonts almost ineligible in some instances).
Good Fonts for Text Overlays on Social Media
One of the best individual typefaces is Montserrat, which is actually a hybrid font that combines the characteristics of both serif and sans serif options. It’s a neutral font that can be easily combined with one or two additional typefaces, allowing you to create more flexible and agile social posts that really catch the eye of readers.
Helvetica Now is another sans-serif font that’s becoming increasingly popular amongst designers, thanks to the ease with which it can be read, its versatility and its ability to complement a raft of alternative typefaces.
4. Choose a Theme and Consistent Colour Scheme
Social media posts aren’t renowned for holding people’s attention, especially when you consider just how crowded and noisy sites such as Facebook and Twitter are.
What’s more, a recent study conducted by Microsoft has suggested that people now generally start to lose their concentration after about eight seconds, with this figure continuing to fall against the backdrop of an increasingly saturated online space.
However, there are further social media graphic design tips that you can follow to creating engaging and striking social media content, starting with the identification of a clear visual theme.
This should reflect your brand’s visual identity that’s displayed both on and offline, as defined in your brand identity guidelines.
This will be underpinned by a specific colour palette that defines your brand colours, with primary and secondary options that are compatible and capable of being used in different marketing settings.
This makes it easier to drive brand recognition through high-traffic channels such as social media, creating an opportunity for you to build brand recognition online and increase your chances of standing out from your competitors.
Remember, it’s thought that up to 81% of customers said that they prefer to know and trust the brands that they buy from, and a consistent approach to branding and graphic design can help to build positive relationships with consumers.
This can also lend authenticity to your brand over time, which is another key factor that can drive engagement through social channels.
If you have objectives to meet – and who doesn’t – make sure your social media posts cut through the competition and capture the attention of your target audience.
Follow these top social media graphic design tips to get you started on meeting your goals.
By balancing imagery and text, using on-point images and typography, and using your brand’s visual identity consistently, you’ll be on your way to successfully standing out from the crowd.
About the author: Charlie Clark is the founder of Minty Digital, a digital marketing agency. Minty Digital specialise in SEO and PPC services.