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The Ultimate Guide to Creating Jaw-Dropping Visual Content for Your Social Media

Yado Team – Social Media Marketing
27 November .  5 min read

With the exploding popularity of visual social media like Pinterest, Instagram and Vine, marketers are increasingly recognizing the value of visual content for growing their online presence and maximizing its impact. 

If you are also entertaining the idea of getting visual in your content strategy, make sure you read this post till the end. We will be going over the best practices to follow, the best resources and tools to use as well as some marketing principles to focus on when designing your visual content marketing strategy. 

Define your visual content strategy

It is not just enough to accompany your text updates with visuals. To be effective, your visual content creation efforts must be informed by a well-thought-out strategy that is geared towards clearly defined objectives. 

So, make sure you get clear about the following strategic elements of your visual marketing before you embark upon content creation:

  • Audience research. Make sure you know who you are creating content for in terms of both demographics and psychographics. In other words, who is your audience and what kind of content appeals to them most? 
  • Organize your visual content into themes: Having a structure around your visual content will not only make it easier to plan ahead, but also make your feed more pleasing to the eye.
  • Adapt your content to each channel. Think about how you are going to adapt your visual content strategy for each network you are planning to use.
  • Figure out the best times to post. To maximize engagement, you would want to identify when your audience is most active and schedule your content around the peak times.

 

Follow best practices of visual content creation

Captivating and professional graphics are key to the success of social media campaigns on just about any platform. 

While you don’t have to be a designer or professional photographer to make game-changing social media graphics, it does require a little know-how of some basic design principles. 

Here is a quick run-down on the best practices you should follow if you want to create memorable and attention-grabbing social media graphics:

  • Use the rule of thirds. Using the rule of thirds draws the viewer’s eye into the image, instead of just looking at the center.
  • Shoot in natural light. Dark images are difficult to see, but too much exposure can result in loss of detail. Shooting in moderate natural light is optimal to produce an image that is both detailed and well-lit.
  • Make sure there’s enough contrast. Contrast provides differentiation between individual elements of the graphics to direct the viewer’s attention. Dialing up your contrast is a great way to enhance your visual content.
  • Be tasteful with your color combinations. Avoid using clashing colors – use the color wheel to guide your color selections.
  • Beware of over-edit. When it comes to editing, follow the principle of ‘less is more’. Overly-filtered images look distasteful and reflect poorly on your brand.

 

Get familiar with fair use of copyright

Understanding image copyright is an absolute must before you publish your content on social media. If you get found out to infringe the copyright of an image, the fines can be pretty substantial. 

To avoid getting into trouble, make sure you read the terms and conditions of each stock image you share and give credit where required. 

If you want to repost user-generated content, make sure you ask the owner for permission first. This can be as simple as asking for their approval in the comments or a private message. 

 

Make use of free design tools and resources

It is no doubt that the best visual content is content that is custom produced for your brand with the help of a professional photographer or graphic designer.

However, If you don’t have the resources to create custom content for your social media, there are many free tools, templates and resources you can use.

Here are some awesome visual content creation tools to get you started:

20 of the Best Free Stock Photo Sites to Use in 2019

25 free Instagram Story templates

21 Instagram photo editor apps

Free and customizable facebook cover photo templates

 

Check your aspect ratios

When you’re creating your visual social media assets, you must tailor them to the sizing specifications of the social media platform they will be published on.

So, make sure the platform supports the aspect ratio of all your graphics or resize them accordingly. Otherwise, your images could end up cropped or squashed out of proportion. 

It also goes without saying that each image should be of superior quality in terms of both pixels and resolution. 

 

Go easy on the text

Pairing visual content with cleverly-written, snappy copy can create a powerful marketing force that leads to more engagement.

However, in some instances text can actually harm your post. To prevent this from happening, make sure you adhere to the following best practices when including text in yourimages:

Make it easy to read. However snappy, sharp or funny your text copy, it can’t make the desired impact if it is barely legible. Make sure there is sufficient contrast between the text and background color and avoid those fancy hard-to-read typefaces. 

Keep it short and sweet. Too much text can clutter your image thereby distracting the viewers from its graphic elements. So, be reasonable with how much text you include as this will affect your post’s engagement rate. According to Facebook, images with less than 20% of text tend to do better. Moreover, some social media networks actually review the amount of text in the submitted ads and may not show the ones that have too much text. 

Include CTA. Content that gets massive engagement on social media doesn’t necessarily result in a massive amount of click-throughs to your website. On the other hand, CTR-worthy content doesn’t necessarily accrue a lot of engagement. The key is to find a sweet spot between engagement and click-throughs by including a short yet impactful call-to-action copy in your social media images. 

 

Brand your images

Graphics that are consistent with your company’s established image can do wonders for your engagement rate. That’s why many businesses choose to brand their social media graphics by including their company logo, usually in the top or bottom corner of the image. 

If you choose to do the same, make sure that your logo doesn’t overpower the other graphic elements. If the logo clashes with the color palette of the image, you could make it transparent or omit it altogether. For the sake of consistency of visual branding, keep your logo in the same place on all of your graphics. 

 

Celebrate diversity

Some brands might be unwilling to represent diverse identities in their marketing out of concern that this may look too political, or that it may turn away their main audience. 

However, as many brands have shown, featuring diverse audiences in their marketing imagery is hugely beneficial for brand perception and reputation. According to the 2018 Accenture Holiday Shopping survey, 70 % of millennials are more likely to choose a brand if it represents inclusion and diversity in its promotional materials.

Besides, people are more likely to purchase a product if they can picture themselves using it, and that’s a lot easier to do when the product marketing factors in people from the same category. 

 

Animate your graphics

As people browse through their social media feeds, they’re making hundreds of millisecond decisions about what content to pay attention to. If you do not have the resources to shoot full-fledged videos yet, animation can go a long way to helping your content to stand out. 

https://www.instagram.com/p/BFO1heoxkBJ/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=embed_video_watch_again

Research by Convince & Convert shows that images that depict a partial body part, typically a hand, interacting with the product gauged 29% more engagement than images showing a person, and 10% more than images without a person. The suggested explanation for these findings is that people find it easier to imagine themselves using the product when they see a part of someone else doing it. In this view, the hand is perceived as an extension of the viewer, while the face takes them out of the picture.

We hope this post has given you all the resources and inspiration you need to design your own visual content strategy. If you have another tip up your sleeve, do us a favor and share it in the comments!

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