How to use graphic design for your social media content strategy

How to use graphic design for your social media content strategy

“The medium is the message,” said media theorist and philosopher Marshall McLuhan. This simply meant that the way you deliver your message is just as important as the actual message. You may have a deep pool of relevant knowledge to share, but if you don’t package it right based on the channel you use, it will simply be ignored. McLuhan further explained that the channels you use also influences how you should approach communication and scale based on the medium.

What this means for media, marketers, and humanity as a whole is that, to be effective in communicating your message, you should be able to understand the nuances of the channels you are using. This is very important to think about at present, especially with how the world has shifted from traditional communication channels like print, radio, television, and film to digital, multimedia channels that constantly evolve with technology.

Social media platforms are highly visual channels, and to stand out as a brand, you need to marry good storytelling with pleasing and effective visuals.

So you have something interesting to say, but how do you say it so that people would pay attention? The key is in good graphic design. Here are a few design tips to help you get started on your journey to a winning social media content strategy.

Set guidelines

One of the first things startups think about is branding. With the help of a creative team, they set brand guidelines to help keep a strong, consistent look across all outbound communication which should extend to social media.

The guidelines may include company and product logos, typefaces, colors, shapes, layouts, tonality, or persona, among other elements. And if you haven’t created a set of brand guidelines yet, you should. They help brands gain more legitimacy.

The rigidity of these guidelines would depend from brand to brand, but ideally, there should be a balance between keeping your brand’s identity consistent and allowing some creativity when designing your social media content strategy.

Show, don’t tell

An important design rule, “show, don’t tell” is even more relevant for social media content as audiences tend to have shorter attention spans. Think of yourself using Facebook; you scroll through your feed and then you see an image that is full of text. Chances are you would just scroll ahead of that wall of text.

Photos, animations, and infographics are not used merely to “make things look pretty” but to help catch a user’s attention and allow them to digest information better and faster.

Say no to clutter

Sort of related to the previous tip, clutter is something people who are not design-savvy tend to overlook. There is a temptation to put as much information into a single post as possible. While it may sound logical or efficient, it doesn’t equate to good communication.

Writers know that effective and efficient written communication is an economy of words or the art of conveying knowledge in as few words as possible. This is the same with visual communication: every element in an image or a video must drive towards your point in the simplest and least mentally taxing way.

Another cluttering issue with design is putting too much branding in your posts. While that may be a good strategy for other channels, overbranding your content on social media is not a good idea since people see their social media feeds as highly personal. If you’re spamming users with too many branded posts, be prepared to lose followers.

Optimize content for different social media platforms

Each social media platform has its nuances and niches. Learn to harness that to your advantage.

If you’re posting on Instagram, you’ll want to use more lifestyle-angled, aesthetically-pleasing images with little to no text. If it’s on Twitter, you may need to sound more concise, timely, quick-witted, and off the cuff.

The best way to understand different platforms is by observing how users interact with them. It will also give insight into what is trending and relevant to current users, allowing you to create content that is relatable on both messaging and design.

Keep things consistent

To amplify your message and strengthen your brand’s legitimacy, you have to have a consistent social media content strategy. If you’re finding it hard to work with your graphic designers on creating upcoming posts, always go back to your brand guidelines and previously made posts. Take a look at what worked and what didn’t, and apply the necessary changes moving forward.

Explore different post formats

These days, static posts such as photos and blog links could only get you so far. The majority of social media users across all platforms consume more and more videos. Utilize GIFs, simple animations or cinemagraphs, memes, or short videos to further diversify your content and maximize your potential for reach and engagement.

  • Written by Robby Vaflor
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