Easy to use design platforms and design options in social media, website, and email programs have made creating graphics layperson friendly. However, there are several simple principles to keep in mind when creating these graphics to ensure what is being created will be effective in telling a story, selling a brand or product, or sharing important information.
The practical dos and don’ts are outlined in Part 1 of this series. However, this post focuses on the strategic decisions on how to use graphics on social medua.
THINGS TO DO
- Do plan ahead. While capturing images in the moment are great, so is planning what images and graphics to share. Planning ahead can improve efficiency, allows for editing time, and
- Do have a purpose of the graphic. Does the content require a graphic? Or perhaps another form like a video or text would better convey your message. Is the graphic supporting one of a marketing or business goal? What is the call-to-action?
- Do consider participating in trends and memes. Keep in mind a few things. Don’t be a laggard – post when the meme is still trending. Make sure the version you create is unique, funny, or creative. And always make sure it is relevant to the target audience.
- Do reuse content including graphics. Repurposing content can reinforce messaging and branding. Also, not all followers will see the original post. Think about a strategy on how to reuse – whether it is time based, engagement / conversion based, or any other intentional plan.
- Do post in multiple areas (feed and story). Depending on the audience, some people flip through stories while other scroll through feeds. Double the chance of followers seeing the graphic by posting in all available areas. This includes cross platforms. One thing to note, not all stories should be feed posts – anything with a countdown or meant to reflect a spontaneous moment may be out of place in a “permanent” location.
THINGS TO AVOID
- Don’t post for the sake of posting without any strategic or deliberate thought. Consistent posting is always recommended. However, any content that is questionable – either because it is off brand or doesn’t serve a specific purpose (see above) – should be evaluated against the benefit of simply filling a gap in a social media plan.
- Don’t discard underperforming graphics that fulfill all the best practices of social media. Try a new caption or hashtags. Change the ad targeting. Test posting at different times of day. There are many reasons a piece of content may not have the expected or desired outcome.
- Don’t try to fit a square peg in a round hole. There is efficiency and then there is efficacy. The auto-Tweet that a new image has been posted on Instagram is one example. While some people may engage and click thru to Instagram for the image; others will not ever see the text only Tweet.
It is no secret that there is an art to graphic design. But the true secret sauce is the science behind good design. The right combination of color, composition, captions, and content will create the right chemistry for a perfect reaction.