How to Create Effective Social Media Post Designs

By Samuel Dorneval | May 2, 2022 | Reading time: 5 minutes

According to neuroscience professionals, the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text? With a visual aid, someone can demystify a complex subject in a few seconds, whereas it takes several minutes if the content is only composed of text. This places a lot of importance on the inclusion of visual elements in your marketing communication tools, whether it’s in your emails, social media posts or your website.

Data also indicates that 93% of marketing managers consider the inclusion of visual support in their communication tools essential to their overall strategy. But how do you craft designs that grab attention, are understandable, and engage readers? Let me introduce you to some essential techniques to use to create good visual content for your social channels.

How to Create Effective Social Media Post Designs
  1. Follow Your Brand Guidelines for All of Your Social Media Posts

Well-established companies often have a graphic charter to help marketing professionals and social media managers create assets aligned with the corporate image. This document brings together all the visual components of a brand (colors, logo, fonts, icons, image style, etc.) and presents the guidelines on how to use each of them. This ensures consistency throughout the business’ communications. When designing the visuals for your social posts, you can use your brand guidelines to carefully apply these predefined rules and ensure a visual coherence.

If your company does not have a graphic charter, an agency like Unik Web can create one according to your image, or even help you define your branding. This document will be very valuable and will quickly become essential for your marketing department. While waiting to have your brand guidelines in hand, you should get inspiration from your website when you’re creating your designs. This can serve as a starting point and ensures a certain homogeneity between your presence on social media and the visual identity of your business.

  1. Be Consistent When Choosing Images for Your Social Channels

If you want your audience to remember you, they must become familiar with your branding. Since memory has a way of fading, you must repeat the graphic elements that identify you with each post, whether it is your logo, your colors, your photo style, your fonts, etc.

Your brand should show some consistency through a clear, distinct and easily identifiable visual style, so that your audience can identify an editorial line in your publications. Note that using visual guidelines does not mean that your creativity should be limited. You can still use your imagination to design various pieces of content, but the guidelines will help your audience recognize your brand at a glance.

To make it easier for you, I suggest you create templates, using tools such as Photoshop or Canva. This will save you a lot of time when designing visuals for your social media channels and it will allow you not to forget any components of your branding when you need to publish under a tight deadline.

  1. Respect the Standards of Each Social Channels

Before creating a visual, you must learn about the various norms relating to the different social platforms that you plan on using. Social networks all have different standards, whether it’s in terms of file formats, resolution or size, and you must be familiar with these specifications if you want your post to be displayed optimally.

Take Facebook for example. This social network recommends keeping a simple and consistent color palette across visuals and including easily recognizable images on which concise and relevant text is presented. Each social platform has their own standards when it comes to the formats and resolution of the images used.

  1. Analyze Your Competition and Choose Images According to Your Industry Standards

Performing a competitive analysis consists of evaluating the social platforms of companies working in your industry in order to determine which types of content work well with their community. This analysis will give you valuable insights about what kind of post you should create (or shouldn’t create) to engage your audience and drive results. We are in an era where we can easily draw inspiration from those around us and analyzing the accounts of companies similar to yours can be useful. However, be careful not to copy their content. This could harm your image and reputation. You can draw various ideas from your competitors’ posts, but you must remain original!

Questions to ask yourself when analyzing a competitor’s social media page in order to collect the maximum amount of data about their visuals:

  • What types of images do they publish?
  • Do they use text, illustrations, graphics, photos, videos, particular colors?
  • Which posts have generated the most interactions? Why?

These will not only help you create posts that meet your industry standards, but will also pinpoint content formats that are likely to drive engagement and results. This competitive analysis will provide you with valuable information to help you stand out.

  1. Create Relevant Visuals That Support your Content and Engage Your Audience on Social Media

It’s a very known fact that online users are exposed to an obscene amount of content in a very short time. This means you only have a fraction of a second to grab someone’s attention, spread your message and convince your audience to take action. Therefore, it is essential to align the visual and textual content of your publications in order to develop a feeling of trust with your target audience.

For example, if your graphic design features a special offer, then you should ensure that your description further explains that promotion and includes a link that will allow readers to benefit from it. This type of alignment will also contribute to the success of your overall digital marketing strategy. I also invite you to design images that are clear, that avoid innuendo and double meanings. These types of visuals avoid confusing your audience and make for a better customer experience.

  1. Develop Authentic and Original Visuals for Your Social Media

Work on creating captivating visuals for your social media posts.

The idea here is to avoid posting generic, entirely preconceived content that is misaligned with your company, your services or your products. Taking the time to customize each image or doing a photoshoot once every three, six, nine months — depending on your availability, budgets and internal resources — will allow you to share unique, personalized content that is completely aligned with your brand.

But how will you know which photo or image will be published in three, six or nine months? By using a content calendar previously developed by your team or agency that indicates which promotions, holidays or launches will occur during the determined period. Know that content calendars are never frozen in time and must adapt to changes in your business. This is why, when doing your photoshoot, you must also create a bank of generic photos related to your products and services that can be used for all occasions.

Ideally, you should take these photos with professional equipment for the best end result. If you do not have the budget or just don't have the time or interest to take care of it yourself, we strongly suggest that you hire a professional photographer who can take charge of all aspects of your shoot (providing material, renting equipment, finding a location, adjusting the lighting, editing, etc.), in addition to suggesting ideas or artistic concepts that you might not have thought of. For slightly smaller budgets, it is quite possible to take excellent photos with a good smartphone. Your agency can then retouch and optimize your best photos for your various publications.

The elements presented in this article are core principles to help you respect the graphic standards of the various social media and to implement a visual identity representative of your business branding across all of your channels. Your visual content should capture the attention of your audience and support the message you want to convey. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so why not make sure yours tells the right story?

Samuel Dorneval, designer et intégrateur Web chez Unik Web

Samuel Dorneval

Holder of interactive web design certifications, Samuel contributes to creating beautiful websites and designs.