At least once a month I discover a new brand and take a quick look at their profile. Within a few seconds, I’ll decide whether to hit the “Follow” button or leave the page.
In the few seconds of evaluating the brand’s profile, I ask myself two questions: is their content visually appealing, and am I interested in the type of content they will post?
I bet a lot of social media users take a similar approach. For this reason, social media design is an essential part of your social strategy. So much of social media is about perception, and design is a big part of that.
How can you make sure your design is attracting the right audience? We’ll cover that and more below.
What is social media design?
Social media design refers to the planning, development and creation of visual content on social media platforms. Investing in design helps brands build awareness and create content that engages their target audience.
These days, social platforms are often the first place consumers discover brands. A good first impression is therefore the first step in building a robust social media presence.
Your social media design also affects your brand perception. Every post you create and publish tells a story and adds to your brand image. You want to make sure the story aligns with all of your messaging and connects with your audience.
This is especially important on platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook that prioritize visual elements. However, you still need to make sure that your designs are consistent across platforms.
What should be considered for social media post designs?
Before you start working on your design, there are a few things to consider. The first is your brand identity – your social media platform will be the visual representation of it, so you and your team need to have a clear idea of what it is.
The next step is to do market research to understand your audience. Questions to be answered are:
- What are you looking for in a brand?
- What are their values?
- What are you interested in?
- What are you worried about?
- What do you like to see on social media? What do you like to see on the X platform?
This serves as a frame of reference for your approach to design.
You should then look at your competition’s designs. While taking your unique approach, it is helpful to know what visual strategies they are using and how consumers are reacting. The more information you have, the better at you can design creative assets that will resonate with your audience.
Tips for designing social media posts
1. Strive for consistency and cohesion.
Consistency is key when designing your social media page. Why? Because it helps with brand awareness.
Imagine every time you see a brand they change their brand colors and logo. You’d probably mistake it for another brand or forget about it altogether. Brand awareness is important in building trust and loyalty with your audience.
Social media consistency doesn’t just mean posting regularly, it also means sticking to a visual theme. Is it dark and moody or light and airy? Would you like your side to evoke calm, excitement, balance, focus, or something else?
Whatever your answers to these questions should be reflected in a cohesive design. One way to do this is to use the same filter or editing style on all of your images to make sure they all fit into your branding.
2. Use colors to reflect your brand identity.
It’s no surprise that color affects how consumers perceive your brand. For this reason, popular food brands are usually associated with the colors red and yellow, and financial institutions with blue.
There are several ways you can incorporate color into your social media design. The first is in your templates. If you plan to use templates when posting graphics, consider including your colors to increase your brand awareness.
For your pictures and videos, you can also highlight certain colors to make them stand out.
In the example above, Urban Skin consistently uses two main colors in its design: peach and turquoise. While they may have different colors in their pictures, these two are always front and center.
Another strategy is to design your social media posts to match a specific theme and color. For example, let’s say you’re a fashion brand and you have content planned for February. Given February’s association with Valentine’s Day and the color red, feel free to build your creative resources around this theme for the month.
3. Use social media design templates.
If you want to scale your social media strategy, you will likely need templates.
You save a lot of time and ensure uniform branding. Platforms like Canva make it easy for teams to create and share templates approved by the branding team and align them with your strategy. Jump to this section [here].
Make sure you have different templates that can be used for different types of content such as infographics and videos. For example, this Mateo New York brand is likely to use templates that create a sleek and attractive layout that remains consistent.
4. Adapt your design to the platform.
Each platform has different size and content guidelines.
For example, Instagram roles are formatted to be viewed on smartphones. This means that videos must be recorded in portrait orientation. Facebook, on the other hand, is – similar to YouTube – formatted for landscape videos.
With videos in particular, you want to avoid content with black sidebars as this is not visually appealing.
In addition to sizing, you also need to consider which platforms are appropriate for particular designs. For example, an infographic on Twitter probably wouldn’t work well. Breaking this content up into a text thread is a better strategy.
Following these guidelines will increase the likelihood that your content will perform well.
5. Follow design best practices.
The main goal of your social media design is to create visually engaging content that will grab your audience’s attention and encourage them to engage.
While several factors influence this, there are general design rules that are known to produce beautiful graphics. The first is a white or negative area if an area in your frame is left blank. Using spaces or negative spaces will help draw the eye to what you want your audience to focus on.
Yvonne Koné uses spaces in her social media design, which reflects the simplified and minimalist identity of the brand.
Here are a few more design principles to keep in mind as you develop your creative resources:
- hierarchy – Organize your visual elements in order of importance. You can do this by playing around with size, contrast, space, and other elements.
- balance – Equal visual weight in an image, creating harmony, as in this example.
- contrast – Insert elements with opposite colors, sizes or textures to make them stand out.
6. Don’t forget your profile.
While the focus is on your social media posts, don’t forget to style your social profiles.
Your profile picture, cover photo, and other visual elements should be a top priority when designing your social media. Here are some tips to follow:
- Make sure you use the same profile picture, i.e. your logo, on all social platforms.
- Use a cover photo that fits your brand both visually and contextually.
- Just update your profile to highlight events or holidays that are important to your brand. For example, some brands are adding a rainbow pride flag to their logo in June in solidarity with the LGBTQ community.
7. Rely on creative people.
Your social media design is only as good as your investment.
When it comes to images and illustrations, it pays to consult professionals who specialize in creating quality content. They can guide you through the creative process and make suggestions that will improve your design.
If your team can’t invest in a full-time creative, consider independent contractors. This approach allows you to work project by project and experiment with different designers.
How to Find Social Media Design Templates
If your team wants an easy way to create templates, there is an affordable way to do it without sacrificing quality. Many branded online companies offer customizable templates that are designed by professionals. Here are a few to note:
Canva is a graphic design platform with over 250,000 free templates for personal and commercial use.
In addition to templates, Canva also has an extensive stock library of photos, animations and videos for brands in all industries. The platform is free for individual users and offers professional and enterprise options for larger businesses with prices up to $ 30 per month.
Lucidpress is a branded template platform that makes it easy for you to create anything from social media posts to e-books.
The platform can be used free of charge. To get access to unlimited templates, the price starts at $ 10 per month and can increase based on your business needs.
Your branding doesn’t stop with your logo or website. It extends to your social media too. By investing time developing a branded social media design, you will get one step closer to connecting with your target audience.