Consumer shopping habits have been steadily shifting toward a preference for online interactions for more than two decades. Judging by the latest consumer behavior data, the transition is picking up the pace. Gen Z and Millennials are driving the acceleration with both cohorts stating that they were most likely to find new products to buy through social media, and in Gen Z’s case, they are buying products through their social channels as well.
Brands can no longer afford to treat social media as optional. Businesses that hope to stay competitive in the coming years are going to need to re-evaluate their social media strategy and consider ways to dramatically increase their online engagement with their customer base.
Depending on the current state of your brand’s social media marketing strategy, many marketing teams could be finding themselves in the nail-biting scenario of having to ramp up their brand’s social media presence from crickets to crushing it in the next year. That is no small feat, and making it happen will mean overhauling the company’s social media profiles, and releasing a steady stream of fresh and engaging content across their target audience’s favorite social platforms. It will likely require bringing on designers or contracting with a design team to craft the new social media design assets that will be needed for each platform, and every content type in the company’s social media strategy.
If you happen to be one of these marketers, we can’t stress enough…enlist help to get the designs you need so you can get started now.
No matter where you are with your social media outreach, a professional social media designer can improve your performance by crafting a seamless cohesive design theme across all social channels. This cohesive design coupled with attention-grabbing visual content is the fastest way to maximize your social engagement.
So, what do you need to look for when you’re searching for an artist to help you with social media design? There are several things to consider, so let’s dive right in.
Social Media Design Inspires Action
Good social media design used to be judged on its ability to grab the audience by the heart and get them to share the post or video with their contact list. These “viral videos” didn’t need to have any connection to the brand or its customers; they simply needed to entertain enough to get shared. Those days are gone.
Today, the quality of any social media design is measured by its ability to reinforce brand recognition, establish and nurture a trusting relationship between the business and its audience, and compel consumers to deepen their engagement with the brand. Funny cat MEMEs just won’t cut it anymore. To compete effectively in today’s market, social media design must carefully weave the brand identity into every design asset, with consistent styles and messaging. Modern social media design should also be carefully tailored to speak to the unique preferences and needs of the brand’s target audience. Essentially, quality has overtaken quantity when it comes to rating the value of a social media design. Again, this is one of those times when enlisting the help of a professional design team may be necessary if you need a large number of designs, and they need to be carefully branded, and consistently high-quality.
We have put together a brief guide to help demystify the collaboration process for those who are new to requesting design assets from outside sources. These tips will help you develop and communicate a clear design goal to your designer.
Build A Clear Visual Strategy
Posting random, if beautiful, imagery does not make a cohesive strategy. You will need a well-thought-out strategy if you want to achieve your marketing goals. You can post stunning photos, and engaging videos across your social channels, and your viewers may even watch and share them, but turning viewers into customers will require a clear purpose, compelling narrative, and strategic timing.
Building a visual strategy for your brand requires evaluating every single social media channel where your brand has a presence. Your goal will be the unification of all of these social media designs to create a strong overarching brand identity. When done well, users should be able to recognize your brand in every social media design, regardless of where they encounter the content.
Incorporate the following concepts and best practices into your social media designs to boost your visual strategy.
Know Your Audience
Spend the time and effort to identify and understand your target audience so you can focus your social media design on content that is most likely to resonate with your base.
Create A Reference
If you don’t have a branding guide for your business, now is the time to make one. A branding guide promotes consistency by providing a quick reference with all the details for your color pallet, logos, fonts, and any other design elements associated with your brand.
A Unifying Theme
One of the main goals of this strategy is to achieve universal brand recognition on every social media channel where the company maintains an active presence. Users should be able to instantly identify any one of your social media designs as belonging to your brand. Incorporating a common element in every design across all categories and social media channels is a great way to unify disparate forms of content.
Mind The Customs
While the modern social media design best practices focus heavily on including the same design elements in all design assets to build brand identity, this tip addresses the one area where you will need to be unique. It is a bad form to repurpose a video or design asset from one social media channel to another. Social media channels have very specific formats and styles, and your audience will absolutely know that you have recycled your YouTube short video and called it a TikTok, so don’t do it. Make the effort to make the correct video for each channel.
Start Using An Event Calendar
Maximize the impact of every social media design by doing some research into the usage patterns of the social media channels you will be targeting in your campaign. You will want to determine the peak traffic times, and note any events or holidays that would offer great engagement opportunities. Develop the habit of making a content calendar, and use the data you have learned to connect social media designs to the best release day for each.
The Fundamentals Of Digital Design
When it comes to the practical requirements for creating effective social media designs, there are no universal laws. As with any creative endeavor, good design often involves striking the ideal balance between incorporating design rules’ and providing a fresh, and unique design.
Social media design is at its core digital art and it is subject to the same fundamental rules that represent the baseline for most creative design projects.
The guidelines below should be familiar to anyone who has attended an art school. These are the baseline rules for the creation of most design styles.
A Clear Focus
If you will be featuring a photo in your post, choose carefully. Ideally, the image you select should have one obvious focal point with no distracting backgrounds or people.
Create Visual Interest
The old standard “rule of thirds” technique for positioning and scaling a subject in a photograph is still considered the most appropriate technique today. This rule dictates that your subject should not be lined up in the center of your photo, but rather slightly to one side or the other to create more visual interest.
Master Daytime Outdoor Photography
Master the art of taking photos in natural sunlight. This creates the best lighting effects but it can be a steep learning curve to find that perfect time where you will have plenty of light but not so much that your images are overexposed.
Boost Visibility With High Contrast
Remember, your social media designs will likely appear crowded on your viewers smartphone screen with countless other posts and advertisements. Choose high-contrast colors and designs for maximum visibility to make the most out of conditions.
Images Should Mirror Post Message
Don’t add images just for the sake of having beautiful photography. Good social media design is focused on telling a story, creating a narrative, and ultimately building brand recognition and increasing sales. Every element must work alone and together toward that goal.
Less Is More
Leave the beauty and specialty filters in the niche shops. Those effects have limited value in professional design and they will make your designs appear amateurish. Light edits are fine but subtly is key.
Follow Platform Formatting Guidelines
The majority of the top social media platforms each have their own unique formatting systems. Photographs and videos that are created for Instagram, cannot be uploaded to TikTok without being properly resized. Some platforms will reject photos and videos that are not properly formatted for the site, while others will allow you to upload them, only to discover much later that your gorgeous design has been cropped and distorted into a pixelated blob.
Don’t cut corners, it is not worth it. Take the time to make sure your images and videos are sized and formatted properly for the social media channel that you will be uploading them to.
Skip The Novelty Fonts
When you are looking to get attention on social media, it can be tempting to layer on dramatic typography and text overlays. Resist this urge. Too many competing design elements can make your post harder to read, and many social platform users will just scroll to the next post rather than make the effort.
Instead, aim to maximize readability by choosing a straightforward, bold, and relatively short font style. You are not limited to using the traditional black font, social media is the perfect place to add an eye-catching jolt of color. Just take care to choose a high-contrast color palette to ensure that your message stands out from the background.
When you’re using text in your image, remember:
- Choose a simple font style that is easy to read on any computer or device
- Your font choice should match the overall tone of your post
- Be mindful of compatibility issues when using more than one font style in the same post. Some styles can look very awkward when placed close to one another
- Pay attention to the color of your text against the color of your background. Some combos are very difficult for the human eye to read. Green on red, and blue on yellow are the worst combos.
- Write content in short concise sentences to make it easy to read in a narrow social media feed.
- Consider replacing the static text with dynamic animated text to boost engagement
Language evolves to keep pace with the changes in society. Using the common vernacular of a decade or two ago will not only make you sound out of touch, but it also runs the risk of unintentionally offending your readers.
It is good practice to check your words for any biased language that may have snuck into your writing. The visuals you choose for your social media posts are equally important. While there are fewer ways to accidentally offend with most image choices, it is still worth making the extra effort to post images that are inclusive and represent the audience demographics.
Taking care to include everyone in your banners and posts is a great way to build rapport with potential customers too. We all want to feel like we can imagine ourselves in the appealing situations you’re promoting. You’ll need to consider your target audience’s unique demographic profile, of course, but by promoting diversity in your social media posts you could introduce a whole new audience to your brand, expanding your target audience and your revenue.
Supporting diversity doesn’t need to be difficult. It simply means being more mindful of gender or racial biases in your posts and making a conscious effort to include minorities of all shapes and sizes in your advertising imagery. This goes beyond just your posts too. Diversify your team, and bring as many perspectives to the table as possible.
Lastly, when you’re launching a longer campaign, get feedback from as many voices as possible and have different people look it over for sensitivity and prejudice issues.
Always Consider Accessibility
Along with representation, accessibility matters. People process information differently. All too often, advertisers and the brands they represent fail to consider the many social media users who live with a disability which makes it difficult to truly enjoy most social media content.
Think how chaotic social media can get at times, we are willing to bet you have felt overwhelmed by all of the constant motion, combined with a small screen, and less-than-ideal speakers. Now imagine, that rather than a one-off bad experience on a busy day, that was how you experienced social media all of the time.
The most recent CDC statistics report that 1 in 4 Americans live with some type of disability. Approximately 10% of the population has a sight or hearing impairment, while around 12% report cognitive difficulties, which can lead to confusion in loud, or hectic environments.
There are regulations for social media, requiring that accessibility measures be made available. Unfortunately, there are no practical means of enforcing these rules, and for most social media content the onus is actually on the individual creator to incorporate the proper accessibility tools into their content.
That means that access to social media content for all rests on your shoulders, along with your fellow creators, yet very few are aware of this responsibility and even fewer would know what was needed.
Most accessibility tools revolve around making social media content easier to read, or hear for those with vision and hearing deficits. The visually impaired use devices known as screen readers to “read” content off of the computer, and smart devices.
Smart readers rely on small alt-text descriptions, small snippets of data that are supposed to be embedded in imagery and media. The smart reader gathers info about the media from the alt-text description and relays this to the visually impaired user so that they can understand what is happening without being able to see the content. If these alt-text descriptions are missing the screen reader is unable to provide any information leaving large gaps in the information provided to the reader. All content creators should be making it a priority to update all of their content to include alt-text descriptions and commit to putting them in all new content going forward.
Additionally, your social media video content should always offer the option to view subtitles or captions. Content creators have a better track record in this arena. We have known for some time that many users want access to closed captions for reasons that extend beyond hearing difficulties. Most content creators are already providing captions, however, it is worth checking your settings to ensure you are generating descriptive captions. Descriptive captions provide brief descriptions of activities that are important to the story but do not have spoken dialogue. Finally, make certain that you are using dyslexia-friendly fonts and hashtag tools to further increase accessibility.
What Are The Different Types Of Social Media Design Services?
Social media design applies to several services, from social media posts and banners to headers and covers to thumbnail designs. It also includes advertising assets like social media ads, e-commerce, lead generation, and app growth images. Designers will work on the backgrounds and graphics incorporated into social media posts as well.
How To Get Social Media For Your Brand
Getting social media design services for your brand can be challenging if you’re a smaller business, entrepreneur, or startup. Chances are you don’t have the same budget as a large company that you can use to hire an in-house team of graphic artists.
Good social media design is important and needs to be eye-catching in order to stand out from the sea of other posts out there. You also need to ensure that it’s done in the best resolution, format, and size. Both of these things can make going the do-it-yourself route an issue.
Your brand could also go with a freelance marketplace and look for someone to design social images for you. However, vetting quality and knowing when exactly you’ll get your designs is often troublesome. And with the revolving door of freelancers that usually happens when you take this route, guaranteeing social media design consistency is nearly impossible.
Plus, what if you need several versions for simultaneous campaigns? What if you need several revisions, and the freelancer limits how many you can ask for?
The good news is that there is a fantastic option that can not only take the load off of getting social designs but other graphic and content assets as well.
So, what is it? An affordable flat-rate subscription service with Flocksy.
When you choose Flocksy, you can work with a team of talented creative services professionals to ensure your company gets everything they need to produce consistent, high-quality marketing materials, including social media design and ads, web page design, copywriting, video editing, illustrations, and web development.
And it’s all on one creative service platform.
A Flocksy flat-rate subscription is yours for a monthly fee that doesn’t change or hold you into a contract. While we handle your creative projects, you can focus on all the other important aspects of running your business.
No more juggling a bunch of freelancers because your entire team will all be available through the Flocksy dashboard and just a message away. Plus, you’ll have a project manager there to help you with any questions throughout your entire time with us.
Getting Social Media Design At Flocksy
With Flocksy graphic design services, getting your social media design is simple.
Go to the intuitive dashboard to request your social posts or ads from our graphics team, and you’ll get results in as little as 24 to 48 hours. How do you put in a request? Follow the steps below.
One, click on the “Create new project” button on the dashboard and choose the “Graphic design project” option from the requests page. Two, find the option for “social media design.” Three, fill in the details about what you need in the social design and click start.
When you’re starting your social media design project, include what you need from the design and how you’ll be using them, including any references, the necessary info to display, the dimensions and social platform the images will be going on, and your brand style guide or the fonts and colors to use.
With all this information on your brand’s purpose, style, and personality, your designer can create social media designs that encourage action through a CTA or textual statement, create a lasting impression on your target audience, and offer brand consistency as you work with the same designer over and over again. All you need to do is upload them to your social accounts and enjoy the results. (We can even help with the copywriting for each social post.)
Start your social media design project today!