How to Choose the Best Social Media Color Palette in 2023
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Social media is the future of digital marketing. For many social media users and us, this future is Now! Although it might have started as a way to keep in touch with friends, social media has become a valuable business communication tool and a treasure in business and trade industries. In fact, there are approximately over four billion social media users worldwide (4.76 billion), where 3.2 billion are active social media users.
Many companies now use social media channels to build brand awareness, promote marketing campaigns, boost conversions, and build sustainable customer relationships. A recent study shows that about 69% of marketers use social media marketing to build loyal followers. Around 60% of social media users are between the ages of 25-34, and they favor businesses they follow on social media.
Usually, when people consider social media marketing, color psychology certainly doesn’t come first to their minds. Instead, they focus on creating killer calls to action (CTAs), robust content plans, content creation, video production, and boosting impressions and engagement. Yet, powerful color psychology is at the core of successful social media marketing. Therefore, choosing the right color palette for your social media is crucial to help you create a coherent brand identity.
Colors are associated with psychological changes and can evoke different emotions and behavior in people; hence you must choose suitable color palettes that accurately reflect your brand values and goals. In addition, the type of colors you use for your social media accounts can help you build an emotional connection with your target audience and, notably, support your brand’s narrative and messaging.
Before you begin choosing colors for your social media marketing, you must understand how colors interact and how you can use and combine them to impact your audience. In this article, we will discuss the basics of choosing a social media color palette, the role of color in your social media marketing strategy, and tips on choosing the right colors for your business.
What is Color Psychology?
Color psychology is the study of how colors affect people’s decision-making, choices, behavioral responses, and interpretation of our world since colors influence our emotions and purchasing decisions and drive customer engagement. It examines how different color shades elicit specific emotions, mental responses, and memories that can impact decisions.
Understanding different color combinations can help businesses attract short-term and lifelong customers. Marketers and companies use color psychology to choose specific colors that can evoke an emotional response that aligns with your brand. In addition, using the right colors in social media marketing can significantly influence how your target audiences and followers perceive your brand and products.
Existing research states that customers subconsciously judge a social media page or decide to follow a page within the first two minutes of interaction. Color plays a vital role in helping people make those assessments. In a way, color act as a subconscious call-to-action (CTA) that guides viewers to engage with your brand in a particular way on social media.
As a result, marketers and businesses need to work with the right color palette to catch their customer’s eyes.
Why Is Color Psychology Important for Businesses on Social Media?
Generally, design plays a crucial role in modern marketing and, even more, social media marketing. The key to creating a visually compelling layout is using suitable color palettes. The colors you choose for your social media design say a lot to your potential customers and followers. They help audiences organize information and interpret messages more quickly than other design elements.
Colors direct viewers where to focus their attention, what to look at, and how to respond to the message. Colors also help users identify and understand the essential part of social media posts. But to choose the best colors that send the right message, you must consider some things first. First and foremost, you must understand the meaning of the primary colors you will be using and how to combine those colors to create an aesthetically pleasing design that helps you achieve your goals.
Aside from these two things, you must clearly define your brand colors and ensure that your social media posts include at least one of your brand colors to increase your brand awareness and consistency. However, since social media colors are mainly chosen based on trends, and popularity of the colors, you should not completely abandon your brand guidelines when selecting them.
An excellent way to start selecting your colors is to look at the color wheel. It is mainly made up of primary colors (Red, Yellow, and Blue), their combinations making the secondary colors (Orange, Purple, and Green), and tertiary colors – hues that are created by combining primary and secondary colors such as Red-Orange, Yellow-Orange, Yellow-Green, Blue-Green, Blue-Violet, and Red-Violet.
The factors to remember before choosing your social media color palettes are below.
- The meanings of different colors
- The principles of color theory
- How to choose colors in the context of social media
The Meanings of Different Colors
Color psychology is highly subjective. Based on different factors and circumstances, people interpret colors differently. For example, research has shown that people’s interpretations and associations with colors are influenced by their history, experiences, memories, mental states, cultures, geographic location, and more.
However, some standard colors have generic meanings. Below are some popular meanings and uses of colors according to the primary color wheel.
Red is a primary color commonly known to evoke viewers’ emotions. Generally, red is deeply associated with energy, love, passion, danger, and strength.
Green is a deep color connected to brands that encourage growth and vitality. It represents health, freshness, new beginnings, growth, renewal, fertility, and resurrection. Green is widely known for its refreshing and relaxing look and feel and represents a connection to ourselves and nature.
Blue is deeply associated with stability, serenity, sincerity, flexibility, integrity, inspiration, wisdom, and calmness. It is the color of the ocean and sky and represents tranquility and a sense of inner reflection.
Yellow is the brightest color on the color wheel and represents happiness, hope, and spontaneity. It is a happy and youthful color that grabs the attention with hope and positivity. Yellow represents creative projects and fresh ideas. Yellow in design has been shown to reduce mental blocks, increase energy levels and encourage people to seek new perspectives.
Orange is a secondary color made by combining red with yellow. Yellow represents optimism and cheerfulness, while red represents love and power. These two bright colors make orange associated with energy, optimism, enthusiasm, creativity, and stimulation. Many brands use orange to convey a message of positivity and quickly grab the audience’s attention.
Brown is deeply associated with stability and earthiness and is usually perceived as neutral and natural. Due to this, brown evokes feelings of security, warmth, and trustworthiness.
Light brown represents honesty and reliability, while dark brown is predictable and mature. In marketing, brown conveys emotions related to the natural world and connotes organic, wholesome feelings.
Purple is another secondary color created by combining blue and red. It combines the energy and power of red with the relaxation and stability of blue to convey royalty, nobility, luxury, dignity, wisdom, ambition, devotion, peace, pride, mystery, independence, and creativity.
Pink is a nurturing, playful, nostalgic color that takes people back to childhood. It is considered the color of opposites because it makes us think of innocence and burning passion. Pink varies depending on the context and has different shades.
Bright and hot pink are deeply associated with romance, love, and even lust, while intense pinks create a sense of urgency. Generally, a calming, non-threatening color that represents youth, vulnerability, youth, kindness, and nurturing.
White is a pure color that evokes simplicity, cleanliness, new beginnings, elegance, and serenity. It is an effective color to help people declutter their minds and spaces and can signify order, goodness, and light.
White is commonly used as a background color in a design. Designers and marketers use white to provide ample room on a page or platform to prevent overcrowding.
Black is a highly versatile color with a variety of meanings. It is deeply associated with death, authority, and the unknown and is a color that is considered to be an elegant, formal, and prestigious color.
Black is commonly used in design to bring gravity and strength to a message. When used in small doses, black can make a design look polished, edgy, and minimalist.
The Principles of Color Theory
Colors are crucial in creating visually appealing and meaningful designs that evoke audience emotions. Hence, you must ensure that every color used in your social media design work well to create a harmonious visual.
If you struggle to choose the right color palette for your social media design, we advise using a color wheel to help you understand the relationships between different colors and how they work together to stimulate different feelings in the audience. According to color theory, six color options exist to create a well-balanced design.
1. Monochromatic colors
Monochromatic color is a color scheme that comprises variations of one color. It emphasizes the meaning of one brand color and can use any color to create a monochromatic color scheme. For example, you can add black to red to create maroon or white to red to create pink.
2. Complementary colors
Complementary colors are two colors on the opposite side of the color wheel. The color combination provides high contrasts and high-impact color combinations that make the colors appear brighter and more prominent.
3. Split-complementary colors
Split-complementary colors lie in one space in either direction from the opposite color. It is created by mixing one primary color and two colors adjacent to its complement.
4. Analogous colors
Analogous colors sit next to each other on the color wheel and are similar. For example, red, red-orange, and orange are analogous colors
5. Triadic colors
The triadic color scheme consists of three colors evenly spaced around the color wheel, usually producing vibrant colors. The two most basic triadic color palettes are primary colors, Red, Blue, and Yellow, and secondary colors, Orange, Purple, and Green.
6. Tetradic colors
Tetradic colors can be seen as one of the richest color schemes due to their use of four colors. This color scheme combines four colors – two sets of complementary colors, for example, red and orange or blue and green) – with one chosen as a dominant color to create a bold look.
How to Choose Colors in the Context of Social Media?
When choosing colors for your social media visual design, you must consider the color palette of the social media platforms and use colors that have proven to generate the most engagement for each social media platform. In addition, you must also pay attention to the critical characteristics of your target audience.
Existing research has shown that men and women have different color preferences and react differently based on their preferred color combinations, such as the following:
- Women: are known to react better to white colors and the colors added to create softer colors like light blue, pink, and green.
- Men: are known to reach better to black colors, and the colors added to create deeper colors like maroon or navy blue.
The best color palettes for different social media platforms are discussed below:
Best Color Palette for Facebook
Facebook’s dominant colors are blue and white. However, existing research has shown that using bright, warm, and energetic colors like golden yellow and violet or orange and red shades can increase your level of engagement, such as likes and sharing on Facebook.
You should avoid colors with too much blue and white for your design. Instead, pair your design with warm colors to make your brand stand out and easily catch your audience’s attention.
Best Color Palette for Instagram
Instagram is a highly visual social media platform. Hence you must choose the right colors to make a bold statement and make it easy for your audience to engage with you better. Existing research shows that:
- Using bright images on Instagram is much more effective than very dark ones.
- Images with blue as its dominant color perform better on Instagram than those with red or orange as dominant colors.
Another study identified the following three colors as the best Instagram color palette that you should use to drive the most engagement.
- Harvest Gold, a sandy yellow
- Ethereal Blue, a teal shade of blue
- Rose Dawn, a dusty pink
Best Color Palette for Twitter
Twitter is a microblogging social media platform that gives users 280 characters to communicate their message. As a result, your copy needs to be short, concise, and straight to the point. In addition, using the right colors and images for your Twitter profile can significantly boost engagement.
According to a study by Teodora Dobre, the following colors are the most frequently used in Twitter profiles: 26% yellow, 22% black, 15% blue, 11% white, 9% green, 7% purple, 6% orange, and 4% red.
Best Color Palette for Pinterest
Pinterest, like Instagram, is another highly visual social media platform with primary colors – red, pink, black, white, and gray. Unlike Facebook, which doesn’t perform well when its primary colors are used, research shows that red and pink in Pinterest help you get the most engagement.
Additional analysis by Plos One also revealed that:
- Pin with color, green, yellow, blue, and black are shared the least
- Red, pink, or purple pins are shared more on the platform.
- Very light or very dark images don’t get repinned
5 Color Combinations to Inspire Your Next Social Media Ad
Creating compelling and attractive social media visuals is key to increasing brand awareness and boosting engagement and conversions on your chosen social media platforms. Here are five striking color combos to support your social media marketing efforts.
1. Black and white
Black and white are two opposite colors, and combining these colors as your background color and adding warm-colored text on top can help you create an eye-catching design and help you direct your viewer’s eye toward the typography. Below is an excellent example of this color combo:
2. Neutral backgrounds with brighter colors
Consider placing vibrant colors against a neutral background to create harsh contrasts and make a bold statement that stands out. Using this combo also helps viewers to focus on the main marketing message. Below is a practical example of this:
3. Combining primary colors
Another successful color combination for social media design is combining multiple opposite colors against a neutral background.
The different hues in primary colors make it a popular choice in marketing and advertising because they are easily noticeable. For example, combining blue, yellow, and red can create a striking social media visual, as illustrated below:
4. Neon on dark
Using black or other dark colors as a background color with a neon-colored illustration or typography can help you create a catchy and visually striking design like the example below:
5. Muted pastels
A pastel color palette combines soft colors with neutral tones, making it an excellent option for social media platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, etc.
Combining two pastel colors helps you create a visually pleasing, gentle, and feminine design ideal for a younger audience. Below is an example of muted pastels on social media design.
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