If your social media post design has been lacking lately, it might be time to get to revising them! Many social media posts won’t do good if they don’t look good.
Considering how much content there is going around on social media, the average post would probably get drowned out, even with a pretty photo. For a social media post to be successful, it will have to start by being able to stand out with a good design.
Don’t worry if that’s not the case, though! Practice makes perfect. Or, in the context of this article, the best practices make the best designs.
Whether you’re a business on social media or a graphic designer that’s new to creating social media posts, let’s take a look at these 6 best practices you can follow to get your social media post designs up to snuff.
Nothing gets people’s interest better than good designs
If you’ve ever taken a look at the social media pages of big brands, you might get an idea of how they’re so successful – they can attract a person’s attention, deliver their desired message, and keep them wanting for more seemingly all at the same time. That’s rather impressive!
But believe it or not, there is no big, special secret behind it. What every successful social media post has in its creation is just the right practice. Let’s take a look at them.
#1 – Be able to grab attention within 2 seconds
Thanks to our increasingly fast-paced way of life, the attention span of an average social media user is around a fleeting 2 seconds on Facebook these days! This short time frame means your post will have to grab attention if you don’t want to get scrolled over, and fast.
Fortunately, making use of appealing visuals and imagery is one of the best ways to do this, thanks to how we process visuals a lot quicker than text (it can take as little as 13 milliseconds!). For this reason, you can up the quality of your designs with techniques like:
- Using appropriate colours (every colour conveys different meanings & feelings)
- Following a visual hierarchy (present the most important parts of info first)
- Having suitable typography (e.g. Skia and Papyrus fonts for cute messages; Times New Roman for a more steadfast headline)
- Adding visual metaphors for intensifying emotions (e.g. juxtaposing a ketchup bottle as sliced tomato)
- Including a clear and easily readable CTA (e.g., “Shop now!” for store brands)
Although making your social media post designs look pretty is important, they should also still fit with your brand’s content direction and visual approach. If you’re a gym or sports equipment brand, for instance, adding an empowering or motivational image of athletes like Lebron James or Michael Jordan attempting a jump hook shot alongside energetic colours is an easily awe-inspiring design.
If your posts can get your audiences to stop scrolling, your design has already covered one of the most important aspects of social media.
#2 – Have consistency
It’s no surprise that consistency is essential to building and reinforcing your brand’s identity on social media. When all your social media post designs share common and consistent elements that feel connected, people can better understand what your brand is about along with its message.
Like how Nike has its signature Swoosh logo and bold font, every brand should have its own set of visual elements too. For the most part, these are comprised of:
- Colour palette (i.e., single colour or a blend of multiple ones?)
- Fonts & typography (i.e., sans serif or serif?)
- Lines, shapes & motifs (i.e. any specific aesthetics for your brand?)
- Images & photos (i.e. vector-drawn graphics or actual photos?)
Once that is figured out, you can then consistently incorporate them in your posts to create a cohesive set of designs that all tie to your brand. You can even create your own customized templates for different types of posts like announcements, promotional images, entertainment posts, and so on for a consistent visual theme across your posts.
With consistency backing up your designs, your posts can be as varied as you want to and your audiences will still be able to know it’s your brand.
#3 – Keep things simple
When in doubt, keeping things simple never fails on social media. With clean and minimalistic designs being one of the biggest trends nowadays, simple designs can be all you need.
The key to doing this is striking a balance between visual elements and white space. Ideally, this means having enough elements to make up your content but not to the point of visual clutter. Following these steps below can help keep this balance:
- Limit the number of fonts used (preferably no more than 2)
- Use colours that match or contrast well (try to stick with a maximum of 3 colours)
- Keep layouts organized and easy to follow (observe the F- and Z- patterns)
- Have plenty of white space between design elements
- Create a focal point for viewers (like a big logo or header)
Overall, you can tell if a design is simple or not from a glance. For example, a nice flat lay product photo with just a short and sweet headline is a simple but effective design that anyone can enjoy as things are much easier to see.
So, if your eyes don’t know where to focus or if there’s too much going on in a social media post design, it’s a good time to revise and see which parts have to go. But if choosing only one isn’t an option, you can simply make a carousel post instead for multiple images or videos.
When designing, the phrase “less is more” is a good one to live by sometimes.
#4 – Consider how your images / videos will appear to your viewers
A social media post design shouldn’t just look good to the ones who create them – it needs to appeal to your viewers too so make it a point to review how they’d look from your viewers’ perspective.
Every post has its purpose, and your designs should be a means to fulfill it. Whether it’s to inform or entertain, visual content is a good way to communicate your messages to your audience. As such, ask yourself these questions when designing to stay on track:
- Would I stop and look at this? (If no, make the design more interesting)
- Is there a key message to take away here? (If no, make the design’s core message clearer)
- Does my audience understand the design’s meaning? (If no, make it easier to understand)
- Does this motivate me to take action? (If no, the CTA needs to be stronger or more specific)
If your answers are all yes, then it’s safe to start having confidence in your designs. This applies to all social media content you choose to produce, like images, videos, GIFs, and Stories. The goal is to make people feel more inclined to check out the rest of your post.
#5 – Get inspiration & ideas from other sources
Coming up with an original, eye-catching social media post design is often easier said than done. Luckily, there are plenty of sources for design inspiration to help keep your content on its feet.
If you need to refresh your visual perspective, Pinterest is a good place to start looking in thanks to the number of images, photos, and videos it has (plus it’s free!). It’s not the only one either, other platforms like Designspiration and Pearltrees also have loads of good content beyond just visuals to browse from.
Moreover, inspiration can come from your competitors too. That’s right, researching your competitors is a good way to analyze the design principles, elements, and messages that they put in their content along with the design decisions they make. This, in turn, is great for letting you know which designs can capture your interest and which to avoid.
In short, don’t skip looking elsewhere for inspiration. The next great idea for your posts can come from anywhere.
#6 – Design with the proper settings
Last but not least, a well-made social media post design is not without the right settings. This is super important as they will dictate how your images or videos appear on each platform.
Starting with colours, since social media is a digital space, RGB colours should always be your go-to option for creating your designs. The CMYK colour space is not used as they are intended for printed materials and they don’t appear as bright or vibrant as RGB on a screen.
Next up is image sizes. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and even LinkedIn all have their own specific image sizes that should be designed around. Adhering to the proper settings will keep your images and videos from being pixelated or getting cut off from wrong display sizes – a design that doesn’t fit or look properly can really lower your engagement levels.
On a technical note, try to consider how your designs will appear on different devices as well. For instance, if you’re planning to have your Facebook profile and cover photo line up together seamlessly, it might appear differently on mobile devices than on computers. This can be an influential factor in making your designs look right so keep this in mind.
If anything, always start on the right design settings. Don’t give people a reason to scroll past your content just because your size or colours are off.
At the end of the day, good designs are what helps the social media world go round. Big successful brands and famous content creators would not have gotten where they are today by coming up with subpar content, so let’s follow in these footsteps and create something that will get heads turning!
Although the 6 practices listed above aren’t everything, they should hopefully set you on the right path of making those perfect social media post designs.
If social media is proving to be a bigger obstacle, don’t hesitate in getting some help from a professional! Artisense has a team of experienced designers and digital marketing specialists along with the resources, skills, and experience to handle all your design needs.
As the saying goes, “every design begins with an even better story.” So come and share your own story with us and we’ll help you get the ball rolling!