A Detailed Guide on How to Design Social Media Posts
Table of Contents
Creating effective social media design is an important part of your marketing efforts on social platforms. While it may seem like an easy task, it in fact requires a lot of thought to plan design, and execute your social media profile and social media posts.
In this article, we’ve compiled effective industry tips on how to ace social media designs on different social platforms.
Why do you need compelling social media graphics?
Having compelling visual content plays a critical role in your social media presence. It is a proven fact that social media users engage more with images and infographics than with regular posts. So, with a compelling social media post design, you can be assured of more likes, shares, and reposts.
Also, compelling graphics help increase brand awareness. When you consistently post valuable content, you are more remembered by the audience.
Interestingly, every post contributes a quota to your brand’s personality. So, the more you create a post that ties to your brand values in terms of design and content, the more your audience identifies with you.
Before you start designing your social media posts
Identify your brand identity
Your social media channels are an extension of your brand’s identity. Before you begin to create social media graphics, you need to have a clear idea of who you are and what you want your audience to feel about you. Explore some interesting content marketing tips.
To grasp your brand identity, you need to answer the following questions:
- Why did we start this business?
- What problem are we solving?
- Who’s our target audience, their pain points, and most used platforms?
- What are our core brand values?
- Who are our competitors
- What’s our unique selling point?
Map out your social media strategy
Strategy is at the heart of social media design. The success of your posts on social media is only as great as your strategy. That’s so because the post-design is an execution of a laid blueprint. Design only helps you convey planned messages to the right audience in a captivating manner.
To nail your social media strategy, consider the following:
1. Identify your audience on each platform
While you may already have a customer avatar or user persona when designing your overall brand strategy, you still have to recognize the fact that the audience on each social media platform behaves differently and have different motives which may be similar in the bigger picture.
If you’re newly starting out, conduct target market research, identifying demographic information, motives, pain points, and the primary purpose of the platforms.
If you already have engaging followers, look through your followers and understand why they’re following you and what they’re looking for using surveys, interviews, or the platform’s analytics. Once you gather the necessary information, create user personas tailored to each platform.
2. Choose the platform for your business and audience:
Once you identify your target audience, you’ll understand that not every social media platform is ideal for your business. For instance, chefs and food bloggers perform excellently on Instagram, so while it would be the ideal platform for a B2C food brand, it won’t make sense for a B2B financial analysis business or sales engineer to invest heavily in the platform.
However, this doesn’t mean you should only use one platform. Exploring different social media platforms alongside your focal platforms increases your brand awareness and audience streams. You can direct audiences from one social media app to another where your content performs well.
3. Identify the high-performing content Types on each platform
Streamlining the spectrum of your audience and social media channels will allow you to effectively plan for the kinds of content that matter. Each platform favors specific types of content over others.
For example, videos are great on TikTok and Instagram while Twitter favors short texts and clips. Facebook favors different types of content and as such, whatever you’ll post there will be determined by user trends. Monitor your competitors to see what they’re doing well. This will give you an idea of the best way to use each channel.
List, brief and schedule your design assets
Now that you’ve mapped out your strategy by identifying the audience and channel, it’s time to infuse a design pipeline into your design strategy. This pipeline will include a series of briefs and a content calendar to help you stay organized through the design process.
The following are things to document in your design brief:
- Upcoming content plans
- The goal of the content
- Intended audience
- Competitor content examples
- Design medium
- Copy or caption
- Design references
Keep a reference of the content dimensions for each platform
Reference material for social media content dimensions is indispensable for social media managers and designers. With this, you can quickly optimize designs across platforms. However, you have to be aware that social media sizes change every now and then so that you can update as and when due.
As of 2023, here are the dimensions and sizes for popular social media platforms.
Tips on designing social media posts
1. Aim for cohesion and consistency
People enjoy familiarity. As humans, we’re hardwired to identify things we see more often. As such, you want o keep your visual elements consistent across the board – your logo, brand colors, and voice should align in all your brand assets including websites, product packaging, merchandise, business card, and flyers among other marketing materials.
Consistent branding will not only help you increase brand recognition, but it will also help you build trust and loyalty with your audience.
This doesn’t only mean posting regularly, it also involves sticking to a visual theme. You should know that sticking to a visual theme isn’t the same as being monochromatic in your design. You can have a combination of colors and fonts that you use consistently in all your social media posts. You can also use the same filter for all posts or structures in your graphics.
The goal is to make sure that the elements you choose elements that enhance your overall branding. Also, the elements should be consistent across all your social media accounts.
2. Use the right colors
Colors play critical roles in branding, especially because colors exude different feelings and convey different messages. So, it’s no surprise that colors affect how social media users engage with posts.
Color is another way to achieve cohesion in your posts as well as concretize your identity. People who view your post regularly will recognize your brand and attach a feeling to it based on the colors.
For example, if you constantly use blue in your post design, your audience will perceive your brand as trustworthy. Also, you can exude energy and playfulness if you constantly use yellow or orange in your post design.
3. Use the right fonts and texts
Just like colors, fonts also play a vital role in graphics design. Fonts help to add depth to your messages. For example, script fonts will help to communicate playfulness in your messaging while slab serif fonts will help convey a bold, emphatic statement.
Also, the text length in your design plays a vital role in the engagement. You want to keep the texts clear and concise so that you’ll get more engagement and shares on your post. Check out the tips for social media graphic design.
4. Use social media design templates
Design templates help you keep track of your strategy and help to maintain consistent branding. They also help you save time. With pre-designed templates, you can create content without hassle. This is especially great for your YouTube and Instagram pages.
Platforms like Venngage, Canva, and Creative Market (among others that we’ll talk about late in this article) allow your design and branding teams to create templates that align with your strategy.
The key is to have varying templates for different content types including videos, thumbnails, and infographics.
To preview how effective your templates will be, you can use a feed planner tool for your Instagram page. This allows you to get a feel of the appearance of your social media page before you publish your content.
5. Adapt your design to the platform
Earlier, we mentioned that every platform has different sizing and content guidelines. If you’re not sure, every social media channel has its own terms and general guidelines page that you can check out. Following the guidelines will make your content more likely to perform well.
For instance, Instagram Reels and Shorts are designed to be viewed on mobile, which means your videos must be presented in portrait orientation. Facebook and YouTube, on the other hand, are designed for landscape orientation.
Aside from size, you also want to ensure that your social media post design is appropriate for the channel you’re putting it on. For example, infographics might not perform well on Twitter. You might want to break the content into a thread for better performance.
6. Follow design best practices
The essence of social media design is to create visually appealing content that’s captivating enough to draw the audience’s attention to engage with your post.
The visual elements that go into aesthetically appealing and engaging designs are based on certain principles.
- White space: Also called negative space, this element helps you to create neat designs that help your audience to easily navigate through the content in your post design.
- Contrast: Contrast helps to make your design stand out. It is the use of opposite colors, textures, fonts or font sizes to create captivating designs.
- Hierarchy: This allows you to guide your audience through the visual information in your post by order of importance. You can also achieve this using contrast, space, sizing, and other elements.
- Balance: Achieving visual harmony in the colors, texts, and images you use in your design makes it captivating. Without balance, your social media post design looks like something is missing.
- Style: This refers to the combination of the elements in your post design. Maintaining a consistent style across all your social media posts helps to ensure cohesion.
7. Optimize based on Analytics
Social media is highly competitive with different brands posting new content every other minute. It’s no news that your post will be aiming to get noticed in a sea of many others. How do you achieve this?
The key is to follow all the analytic tools available on the social media platforms to see which designs work and which don’t to identify your social media pages to focus on, where to improve and which types of content to invest in.
Also, you shouldn’t forget to optimize your posts for search engines. This is especially important due to the popularity of visual search and tools like Google Lens and Pinterest Lens. So, you should include the right keywords in the descriptions of your posts, quality captions, alt tags, and geotags.
8. Your social media profile design is also important
Although the main focus is your social media posts, you still don’t want to forget your social media profiles.
As the homepage of your social media account, your profile is also a defining element in the number of followers you get and how your posts will perform in the future, organically.
Aside from when you use social media ads to boost the reach of your posts, your content on most platforms will only be seen by people who follow you (or when they share it).
So, you should pay attention to your cover photo, profile pictures, and other visual elements when designing your social media pages. Here are some tips to follow
- Your profile picture is your online identity. Ensure you use the same profile picture across all platforms.
- Although your pictures will be in rectangular dimensions, most platforms use circular avatars. So make sure your images are fit for viewing in such dimensions.
- Think of your cover photo as an extension of your profile picture. So make sure the wide rectangular banner atop your profile page is both visually appealing and contextually cohesive with your brand.
- Only update/change your profile picture or cover image to highlight events or holidays that are important to your brand.
9. Don’t skimp on quality: employ creative professionals
When it comes to social media design (in fact, any design) your success is hinged on how professional your audience perceives you to be.
A run-on-the-mill design will exude a vibe of incompetence. It can put off your audience and make them lose trust in you.
Even if you’re a newbie, a well-executed social media design can increase brand awareness and help you gain popularity quickly.
If you’re equipped with design skills, seeking the services of professional designers is a worthy investment. Professional graphic designers know what works and what doesn’t.
If you cannot afford a full-time in-house designer, you can hire a graphics designer online or use a design agency like All Time Design.
With All Time Design, you can pay on a project-by-project basis or pay a flat rate for all your design request within a month. Check out the guide about top graphic designers to follow on Behance.
Where to find social media design templates
If your team is seeking a trouble-free, cost-effective source of design templates, there are several platforms out there you can use without sacrificing quality. Several online branding companies have professionally-designed customizable templates. Here are some powerful tools to consider.
Creative Market is an online marketplace with 28,000+ pre-designed social media templates to create stunning social media posts.
You can download up to four featured assets weekly or become a member of the platform to get access to premium assets for $19.95 monthly.
Canva is a graphic design platform with 250,000+ free templates.
Canva also gives you access to stock photos, animations, and videos for brands in any industry. While the platform is generally free for individuals, its premium access comes with a price that goes up to $199.99 yearly. It also has an enterprise pricing option for larger companies that go up to $149.90.
Creatopy helps you customize, automate and scale up design production and delivery.
Creatopy’s social media design make has customizable templates for social media platforms that you can access for $17 a month.
Lucidpress (now Marq)
A brand-templating platform that helps you breeze through everything design, from social media posts to ebooks.
Just like Canva, Lucidpress is also free for basic use. You can gain access to unlimited templates for both digital and print content.
All Time Design
All Time Design is your one-stop shop for all your design and branding requirements. Rather than go through an overwhelming show of pre-designed templates that may or may not fit your business, All Time Design personalizes your request to give you exactly what you need.
Our battle-tested designers will help you create templates that are perfect for your brand cohesion and are easily editable.
You can take full advantage of the platform by subscribing for as low as $499 to get all your design requests done. While your subscription lasts, you also have access to unlimited revisions with no hidden charges.
Request a demo now!