Social Media Design Guidelines: 5 Things To Remember

Social Media Design Guidelines

If it was some 20 years back, you may have easily gotten away by calling Social Media a fantasy. But gone are those days. Today social is as essential as your telephone number—and a strategic approach to design your social media platform is how you make sure your followers answer your call. For businesses to boost their engagement, social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest are some channels to communicate directly with the real people who support you. It is where you develop connections with content that entertains your followers while creating brand awareness. Though social media is useful, it’s highly competitive too. Once you have published content, it immediately joins an endless ocean of content where it competes with your competitors as well as with the platform’s ranking algorithm. In the social media game, it is always the strongest that survives. But the good news is that unique social media graphics are the best tools in your arsenal to come up with memorable and engaging social media graphics. Let’s check out Social Media Design.

5 guidelines on social media design

Social media is all about content. It is the platform to share media and engage with your audience on a day to day basis. Though it is worthwhile to give your profile page’s design a plenty of attention, all your efforts might fail, if you ignore the content design. The nature of the content you publish may vary depending upon what your brand is, what your business does and what your goals are. But there is a set of general guidelines for creating social media graphics that can boost your followers.

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Design content that will be useful for your followers

It is obvious to think that tailoring your content to your target audience would be a direct route. But you know that social media is for the purpose of publishing your words and your pictures, it can be very tempting to make it all about you: consider all the criticisms that surround selfies and projecting a curated life. Your audience follow you for a reason. Be it for entertainment or inspiration or information, your job is to give people what they ask for. Content design like that should be more than visually appealing––it has to be useful.

Have this for an instance: you know that most people are following your brand to get notified about sales and promotions. If you are planning to develop a social media event out of a promotional campaign with all you special logo, content and ad design as done by Del Marva had did for their blood drive. In their case they used a bright orange color and gush pineapple pattern to make it clear that this is a glorious event. It has also incorporated clear and bold typography supported by bright banner that stands contrast with the background to highlight certain information such as the date of the event and how to participate. This is not only designed to be eye-catching and also compel a viewer to save it or share it with their friends.

Design content

Incorporate different types of designs in your content

The variety of your content must start with a strategy. Your posts should cover various topics like behind the scenes business content, promotional materials, customer highlights, etc.), but you should look to create opportunities to accommodate different design styles to keep it dynamic and engaging.

It is always good to know what different design style excels at. Flat design characters and shades corresponding to it are useful for infographics, be it the vertical or swipeable variety that narrate a story. Hand lettered typography can be great if you are incorporating it for inspirational words. People might be compelled to share that or atleast comment on. Photography is a choice to showcase real people and real products––you want those photos to be professional, but also resit the urge to over-filter it and lose that authenticity.

One of the best ways to bring up variety is to involve your followers in your social media strategy. Consider crowdsourcing methods, like hash tagged contests or social media takeovers. This might result in a visually inconsistent content, but it might be consistent with your brand because it stems from your customers which your brand wants to ultimately serve.

Match individual content with your overall profile

Even if you vary in your design content, keep in mind that for any platforms a chronological feed of all your recent posts will appear on your profile page. As we saw earlier, it is highly important to keep your profile page visually consistent in order to function effectively for branding purposes and also you should see to it that it shouldn’t detract from that consistency. It all scales down to a balancing act; your content must be unique with its goals and targeted segment of your audience, and also, contribute to the collective of your social media design. The key to it is branding- design variety of content but also keep each of them in sync with your brand’s core guidelines.

Some brand go so far to plan their chronological content in a manner that it forms a nice cohesive layout. This works perfectly for Instagram that arranges the content in a three column square grid on your profile page. Every time you finish publishing 3 post, you can set up the column simultaneously which creates a cohesive aesthetics when people view your page. This also as a downside as this can restrict the types of content you can post. For the most part, you have plenty of designs and opportunities for expanding your content by letting your feed be organic but also be visually on brand.

Design themed content and templates

Although it might seem awesome to have all your social media content original and surprising, this is not practical and not necessary. Designing individual templates for your posts not only allows to make it quick and scalable, but also establishes a sense of an easy visual cohesion. This convention can be especially helpful for designs that are recurring like the thumbnail for YouTube. One hand you want the YouTube’s thumbnail to be unexpected, so that your viewers would want to click on them. But since the meat of the content is an actual video, it doesn’t make sense to spend much time and energy designing unique thumbnails from the scratch every time.

Design themed content

Template is also seen as a dirty word in design as its synonymous with generic and boring. You could think of these as some design road maps that allow you to skip brainstorming, trial and error and sketching of the design process. You can still vary the template of each post by changing specific color or imagery. At the end of the day, templates are important for speeding up your design process so that you can giving more important content the attention it actually deserves.
You can have a look at Does size matter? (Social media Images)

Adjust your design based on analytics

Social media moves in a fast pace. The moment you post something it is like sending it into a pool where it could swim or sink with other competitor’s content every minute. It also has a good news. The speed with which social media moves gives you faster results. Most of the content on social media has a life span of just few hours to a day or so at most ( where you get the likes, shares and comments). With this in mind you can quickly know which design works and which doesn’t and adjust your design accordingly.

From the numbers point of view, what can be defined as a successful post completely depends on your followers list. It will be helpful to create benchmarks on your best and worst performing content to have the sense of metrics that indicate the success and failure within the context of your other content. Keep in mind that you can also be another factor for your content’s poor performance- such as the time of posting it, the changing algorithm, and the real world events can take your followers attention somewhere else or it could be a plain bad luck. A/B testing is an helpful tool that your design variety is the best option. Also in addition to just platform specific analytic tools, UTM codes that can be added to your CTA links lets you know which post has earned the maximum traffic.


Social media is a highly competitive platform, so it takes a great deal of planning and hard work to taste success, both on design and content front. The results it gives is worth striving for. It is not only excellent for attracting leads, spreading brand awareness or converting customer, it is the arena where you have real interaction with people.

The best way to ensure that you have got a great social media presence is by working with an expert designer. Good designs can convince your followers to stop scrolling and look at what you are trying to convey. This makes your message useful and also, easy to digest. It also demonstrates your professionalism and commitment to quality. If you want to get the kind of social media graphics that makes your followers go speechless, hire an expert designer and start working! Looking for creative, unique designs? Get in touch with All Time Design today!

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