You might think social media is all about the writing. After all, that’s why agencies like ours search out talented journalism majors and fantastic editors, right? But a good part of social media also includes visuals. Social platforms like Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram rely heavily on imagery, and that makes design integral to the success of your social media strategy.
Design and brand concepts need to be part of any social media strategy. In fact, our social team has the constant support of our design team in all their efforts. Sourcing and creating content is a huge part of the social media manager’s battle. Scheduling, boosting, tracking, and reporting are the other part. That in itself is so much work, there’s not always time left to hunt down a super appealing image to support the content.
But picking the wrong image can carry consequences.
Let’s dig into the The 3 “Knows” of Social Media Design:
Know the basics
Before selecting images for your social strategy do some research. Read an ebook or blog on basic design principles which outline core concepts like the rule of thirds or current photo trends. Dig into Facebook’s 20% text rule so your ads go through quickly. Of find out why more brands are using silent videos.
Today’s viewers expect lots of thought and creativity from the brands they follow. Not putting the effort into the design of your imagery can make you look lazy or sloppy. So be sure to learn more about design trends that can enhance your company’s marketing efforts. Doing so will not only have your viewers taking notice, but also your boss.
Know the laws
You should know basic copyright law. No one wants to be slapped with a lawsuit, and artists don’t like to have their images stolen. Be aware that the law is always on the photographer's side. So when you find a photo in a Google search, keep in mind that there was a photographer--the person who took the photo. And that photographer owns the image, not you. Copying and pasting it from the web is stealing their work. Look, your parents taught you better, don’t steal from others. This is a best practice for your career (and also life).
If you need photography to support your social posts, simply invest in an affordable stock imagery service, and take the time to read their user agreement. You’ll be following the law and your images will look better for it.
Know your brand
One of the most important parts of designing for social media is keeping your imagery on brand. Use photos that appeal to your audience and maintain your level of professionalism. Posting mugs of green beer on St. Patrick’s Day or cute puppies in red bows on Valentine’s Day is not appropriate for a corporate post. Wish people luck or love in a more clever and sophisticated way. Keeping your corporation’s imagery consistent in style will also help followers recognize when a post is from your company.
Our social media guru, Colleen, puts tons of thought into the imagery that supports her writing efforts:
“Your social media marketing strategy should outline exactly the types of content you’re going to be sharing, and that includes images. Everything you share should align with your branding to help you reach your goals.
For a healthcare client, we listed out the specific types of images we’d be sharing:
- before and after pictures
- videos of minor procedures
- behind-the-scenes images
- videos of the doctors and staff
The goals were to attract more patients through visual education of their work and showing off the welcoming personalities of the doctors and staff.”
Overall, social media design matters. You may be thinking that “it’s not rocket science” or “I’m not building the Sistine Chapel,” but I guarantee the CEO of the company takes the business seriously--and you, as the company’s Social Media Expert, are being called upon by the CEO to do the job well. You are the new generation in marketing, so let’s be professional, shall we, and show ‘em what you know.