According to the latest information from Statista, there were a whopping 5.18 billion people using the Internet across the globe. This accounts for about 64.6 percent of the entire world population. Out of this huge number, a staggering 4.8 billion individuals, equivalent to 59.9 percent of the world’s inhabitants, were actively engaged in using social media platforms.
Therefore, it’s no surprise that an increasing number of people are turning to social media, not only for personal reasons but also for business purposes.
Social media visuals play a significant role in promoting an account, enhancing audience engagement, and fostering loyalty. It’s not just about pretty pictures; all elements of the visual concept should harmonize and convey a particular message. Below, you can find out how to create high-quality visuals, avoid mistakes, and see how popular brands present themselves on social networks.
What Is Social Media Visual?
The look of your account is the very first thing visitors notice. Unclear design and blurry images don’t inspire trust. Of course, there isn’t a direct link here – a beautiful profile doesn’t necessarily mean genuine eye-pleasing content, and vice versa. However, the initial impression significantly influences how people perceive you.
Visuals refer to the overall look of your account: the colors, images, how they’re combined and arranged, the presentation, and the style. Think of it as the “outfit” that immediately catches visitors’ eyes. It’s also a key player in shaping your brand’s image.
The key components of social media visuals are:
- Templates and post designs
- Themes and genres of images and videos
- Photo editing and layout in the feed
- Fonts, colors, and shades
- Special brand elements for recognition.
All these factors are influenced by the blog’s purpose and focus, the characteristics of the target audience, and the creative preferences and capabilities of those responsible for the design.
PRO TIP: It makes sense to use vibrant, eye-catching colors for a travel blog or a store selling outdoor gear, whereas, for a doctor’s profile, it’s better to opt for muted tones.
You may come across visually appealing profiles where it seems like the owners don’t stick to a specific style. This typically applies to personal accounts.
Well-established bloggers have more flexibility in managing their accounts as they already have a sizable audience and distinctive features. If you’re still in the process of gaining followers, it’s wiser to stick to your chosen style without deviating too much.
1. Be Mindful about a Concept and Primary Colors
When creating visual content, you first need to think about the impression you want to make: whether it’s about conveying a sense of freedom or control, capturing the essence of daily life or a spirit of festivity, creating a professional corporate ambiance or embracing a more flamboyant vibe. You can also refer to the company’s established branding guidelines. If they are extensive and widely recognized, adhering to them can only enhance your brand’s visibility and recognition.
Select up to five colors that complement your vision and incorporate them into your layout and design. For instance, if your account revolves around elegance and fashion, like featuring luxury watches, opt for a sleek approach with a dominant white and black scheme, accentuated by hints of blue and metallic shades.
White and black are a good match for the tech industry. You can mix them with shades of green and blue. Pastel colors work well for a bedding store or products aimed at girls. Think about using hues like beige, light peach, gentle pink, or mint.
PRO TIP: These are more like examples rather than strict instructions. Of course, you are welcome to try new things. In fact, if you break away from the usual, you can make yourself noticeable. However, always keep in mind that the choice of colors in social media visuals should effectively communicate the values and emotions that your brand represents.
2. Choose Proper Photo Sizes
Whether you’re making a Facebook post, designing a LinkedIn banner, or creating a YouTube thumbnail, getting the image dimensions right is the cornerstone of your visual content. This is because each social media platform operates with a pre-established layout that dictates the accepted image sizes.
Furthermore, the size of a photo changes depending on the screen dimensions. If your image is too big or too small, the social platform will automatically trim or stretch it.
Hence, it’s crucial to create visuals for your social media posts in line with the platform’s recommended image dimensions. Here are the image size specifications for popular social media platforms:
- Instagram profile size: 110 x 110 pixels
- Instagram post size: 1080 x 1080 pixels
- Facebook cover size: 820 x 312 pixels (desktop) and 640 x 360 pixels (mobile)
- Facebook profile size: 180 x 180 pixels (desktop) and 140 x 140 pixels (mobile)
- Facebook banner size: 1200 x 630 pixels
- Twitter profile size: 400 x 400 pixels
- Twitter cover size: 1500 x 500 pixels
- Twitter post size: 900 x 450 pixels
- LinkedIn profile size: 400 x 400 pixels
- LinkedIn cover size: 1584 x 396 pixels
- LinkedIn post size: 1350 x 440 pixels
PRO TIP: If you’re feeling puzzled after going through all these image size details, just stick to the basics – Square, Landscape, and Portrait for your visuals. They will work on almost all platforms.
3. Combine Different Content Types
It’s possible to keep your audience interested and engaged by offering a variety of content types. When you diversify your content, you can meet different tastes and grab your audience’s attention in various ways.
Try out a blend of text, pictures, videos, graphics, surveys, and content created by your audience to evoke and maintain interest.
Here’s how various content types can enhance your social media strategies:
Text-based content – delivers valuable information or compelling narratives;
Visuals and videos – incredibly captivating and easily shareable;
Infographics and polls – present information in an attractive and interactive way;
User-generated content – cultivates a sense of community and showcases real-life experiences with your brand.
4. Use Personal High-Quality Photos
To create captivating social media visuals, you need high-quality, unique images with well-thought-out compositions. If you’re not skilled in photography, you can hire a professional photographer. The cost of their services starts at $25 per hour.
No matter how great your shots are, there are often things that need tweaking, whether it’s adjusting image brightness or fixing a stray branch “poking out of someone’s head.”
For preliminary photo editing, you can use programs like Photoshop Express, Lightroom Mobile, or Snapseed. To retouch faces and body shapes, it is better to use apps like YouCam Makeup or Facetune.
5. Take Advantage of Pre-Designed Presets
We’re talking about Photoshop actions and Lightroom presets here. One of the major advantages of using these tools is that they can expedite your photo editing workflow. Instead of painstakingly tweaking every aspect of your image, you can just select a preset or filter that aligns with your creative vision and apply it with a single click.
Fortunately, currently, there are lots of cool Photoshop actions, Lightroom presets and even mobile Lightroom presets on the net. If you are going to post multiple videos, we recommend using LUTs and video overlays.
6. Make Visuals SEO-Friendly
Just like standard SEO practices, visual SEO also comes with a set of guidelines to “catch the eye” of search engines. For instance, when it comes to YouTube SEO, you can:
- Use targeted keywords when naming your video;
- Incorporate keywords in a natural way within the video’s title;
- Ensure your video description includes all the necessary keywords and meets readability standards;
- Upload custom thumbnails for your YouTube videos;
- Accurately categorize your videos.
Pinterest also has its own unique set of strategies for optimizing visual SEO, including:
- Setting up a Pinterest business account;
- Creating a username with relevant keywords;
- Optimizing your profile and pins;
- Incorporating Pinterest tags and including a ‘Save’ button.
7. Use Animated Elements
Motion grabs people’s attention. It may go unnoticed in your profile, but it will definitely give you a significant edge of 100 points when readers browse through their feeds. Making an element in your photo dynamic, creating a full-fledged animation, or simply adding a touch of sparkle to an image – all of these tactics will heighten readers’ interest in your post as they scroll through their feed.
To achieve this goal, we recommend using such software as Canva, Animate Me, Pcstun, and Loopsie.
8. Leverage Typography
In addition to colors and images, it’s crucial to consider typography in social media post creation. It is an important element that helps your social media feed maintain a consistent brand look.
Leading design experts typically suggest employing three distinct font styles:
- Use one for headers and titles, making it the largest font.
- Select another for subtitles, prioritizing readability.
- Opt for a third font for the body of your text to ensure your audience can easily absorb information.
We recommend using such font-finding services as BeFonts, Behance Free Fonts, and DaFont. All of them have a neat interface and offer an impressive font collection.
9. Harness AI Capabilities
It is anticipated that the Artificial Intelligence (AI) market within the realm of social media will experience a steady annual growth rate of 28.77%, reaching a total of $3,714.89 million by 2026. This implies that an increasing number of brands will adopt AI technologies to fundamentally transform their approaches to conducting social media campaigns and outpace their competitors.
Instead of trying to guess how your content will be accepted, you can make use of visual intelligence tools like Dash Hudson to assess and predict the effectiveness of your videos or photos even before you share them.
Such high-profile brands as Apple, Caudalie, Estee Lauder, and Conde Nast use this tool to gauge the effectiveness of their social media visuals and produce content that converts more effectively.
Furthermore, there are plenty of AI-powered social media management tools that you can use to expand your influence and keep in touch with your audience without exhausting yourself or your team to the limit.
For instance, consider Buffer. It allows you to schedule social media posts in advance, monitor all your profiles, send automated responses to your customers after analyzing the context of their messages, and more.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. With the help of AI, you can create and enhance your social media photos, videos, and illustrations. Midjourney, DALL-E, Stable Diffusion, Facetune, Luminar Neo, and similar tools perfectly cope with such tasks.
10. Respect Copyright when Using Photos and Videos
Violating copyright is an actionable offense, even on Instagram. That’s why it’s essential to utilize content that you have the right to, including images and videos.
As we’ve mentioned before, the ideal choice is to use your own photos, but another common practice involves using photos and audio from stock sources. We recommend considering well-known stock photo platforms such as Adobe Stock, Getty, Shutterstock, Unsplash, Pexels, and more.
If you are looking for audio stock platforms, check out Freemus, AudioMicro, Purple Planet Music, Envatomarket, SongFreedom, etc.
Famous Brands That Are Killing It on Social Media
Looking up to and gaining insights from thriving brands can serve as a blueprint for crafting your own social media visual content strategy. Here are five brands that are excelling on social media.
Nike – Inspirational Campaigns
Nike has made huge strides on social media thanks to its inventive and eye-catching content. As a top-tier global sports brand, Nike is widely recognized for its adept use of storytelling to establish emotional connections with its audience.
By crafting compelling videos, running inspirational campaigns, and partnering with elite athletes and influencers, Nike has cultivated a vibrant and devoted community. Their social media footprint mirrors their brand’s core principles of athleticism, perseverance, and empowerment.
Starbucks – Shows Joy and Happiness of People
Starbucks fills its social media channels with vibrant images of beverages and people from all corners of the world savoring the happiness and delight that these drinks bring. Their motto reads, “To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.”
Starbucks regularly engages with its customers on social media, providing answers and attending to their worries, all in an effort to convey their recognition and genuine concern. Furthermore, the brand clearly understands how to utilize social media as a means to shape and impact user behavior.
Dove – Demonstrates Women from All Walks of Life
You’ve probably come across some of Dove’s inspiring commercials online or on TV throughout the years. In its social media visuals, Dove shares pictures and videos of women from diverse backgrounds with different skin tones, illustrating that beauty exists in various forms. Their goal is to boost every woman’s self-assurance in her own skin by challenging damaging stereotypes and unattainable ideals.
For instance, in 2020, Dove ran their “Courage is Beautiful” initiative as a tribute to healthcare workers who were at the forefront during the pandemic. Another notable campaign is #NoDigitalDistortion that sheds light on the harmful impact that filters and photo editing can have on young girls today.
GoPro – Sharing Crazy Experiences
GoPro has really hit the mark on social media by embracing the adventurous side of its users. Being a company that makes durable action cameras, GoPro has established a dedicated community of folks who love creating content and living for adventure.
By motivating users to share their (sometimes adventurous) moments captured with GoPro cameras, the brand has forged a captivating and engrossing presence on social media. Their accounts are brimming with impressive content created by users, spotlighting exhilarating escapades, extreme sports, and breathtaking landscapes.
Tiffany & Co – Immersion in the World of Brand
Tiffany & Co. serves as a great illustration of how a well-established brand can leverage Instagram to revamp its image and connect with new customers. The brand embraces its distinctive ‘Tiffany Blue’ to maintain a consistent and robust brand identity, all while enjoying the freedom to explore new creative avenues. In the luxury sector, Tiffany infuses enjoyment and a playful spirit into modern marketing strategies, like their Instagram Live series.
As a result, their Instagram profile unmistakably represents Tiffany but also draws the audience into the brand’s universe through storytelling and contemporary visuals. With this approach to social media post creation, Tiffany & Co.’s content sparks more engagement compared to other watch and jewelry brands.
Why is visual content better as a method to convey information?
Visuals added to content can set your business apart and capture the attention of an audience. Not only do images enhance the appeal, understandability, and memorability of text-centric content, but they can also convey powerful messages without relying on words.
What is the purpose of social media visual?
Visuals aren’t just a well-designed feed. They act like a sort of business card, concisely telling who’s behind it and what a person/brand can offer.
How visual content will contribute to your brand’s growth:
Capturing Attention: Visual content catches the eye of users as they scroll through their feed. Appealing and well-crafted design elements on Instagram will grab people’s interest, making them want to linger longer on your page.
Making a First Impression: The first impression determines whether someone will stay on your page and follow your account. Visuals help people understand which category your profile falls into – “my kind of thing” or “not my cup of tea.”
Branding: A well-thought-out visual style boosts brand recognition. Using consistent colors, filters, fonts, and logos, you can create a cohesive and distinctive image, which is vital for establishing your brand’s identity.
Telling Stories: Through creative photos and videos, you can convey the mood, values, and uniqueness of your brand or content.
Promoting Products and Services: If you use social media as a business platform, visual content helps showcase your products or services, allowing you to demonstrate them in action and attract potential customers.
Audience Retention: High-quality and engaging visual content keeps your audience engaged. Users will return for fresh creative photos or visual ideas from you.
How many colors should social media visuals contain?
The number of colors depends on your style, brand, and objectives. Typically, it’s best to stick to no more than three to five primary colors to establish a cohesive and coordinated visual identity. Using a multitude of colors can result in clutter, making the content difficult to grasp.
What color attracts customers on social networks?
Color preferences are a matter of taste. However, it’s useful to know how colors are associated with specific moods.
For example, red – anger, urgency, passion, energy, romance; purple – intelligence, luxury, wisdom; yellow – joy, happiness, peace; blue – reliability, calmness; green – freshness, environment, money, health; white – purity, simplicity, innocence.