In the video that covered writing for social media in this course, you learned about brand voice, language, and tone for social media content. You also learned that including images and visuals helps attract people to follow you and consume your content. This reading provides additional tips about creating visually engaging content for social media and introduces popular software tools for design and editing.
Note: Review the Make social media posts accessible reading for additional design tips to make your social media content inclusive and accessible.
Design tips for social media content
Here are ten tips for designing content for social media:
- Use simple graphics. Graphics that have too many details aren’t fully understood or appreciated in a few seconds. Keeping graphics simple and elegant helps your message remain clear.
- Use colors that drive more engagement. Even if your organization or agency has a recommended color palette, you can sometimes include a contrasting color or tint to grab people’s attention. However, make sure you get approval when you veer away from a brand’s approved colors. For help choosing colors that look good together, consult a resource that provides recommendations on color combinations. For example, try the color wheel offered by Canva.
- Use contrast to help put the focus on key elements. It doesn’t always have to be acolorcontrast. You can also use variations in size, texture, shape, layout, and font.
- Use text that is easy to read. Text should be easy to read so it doesn’t distract users from the full impact of visuals..
- Use a variety of styles. Although certain styles clearly make a company or brand recognizable, using the same style for all social media content gets boring. Shake it up and surprise users with a variety of styles. Be playful and adjust text sizes, colors, and weights for full effect.
- Use smart branding. Users should know what brand you’re highlighting without your brand being mentioned repeatedly, or your logo visible at all times. Place branding in or near key images for users to find when they want it.
- Use principles of visual hierarchy. Visual hierarchy enables users to observe overall meaning before they gather details from individual elements. A structured hierarchy of visual components can group elements together, place elements in a natural or predictable pattern (such as reading from left to right), or lead to the most important elements to click on.
- Use a call to action. A call to action is an instruction that tells the customer what to do next. Whether it’s liking, sharing, or commenting, include a call to action in your social media content to reach more users.
- Use visuals across multiple platforms. Design, optimize, and re-use graphics, photos, and videos across multiple social media platforms. For example, a photo on Instagram can be reused on Facebook.
- Use and create templates. Use and create templates for social media content that is successful. Doing so enables you to create similar content with a high likelihood of success.
Tools for visual content
If you work for an advertising agency or larger company, you might use an approved set of paid tools, like Adobe Creative Cloud which is a collection of more than 20 apps for photography, video, design, web pages, UX, and social media. If you work in a smaller company, or work as a freelancer, you might use free tools to minimize cost, or a combination of paid and free tools. The following is a sampler of paid and free tools so you can get an idea of what is available.
Note: This certificate program doesn’t specifically endorse or recommend any of the products.
For paid software for photo editing, you can try the following products:
- ACDSee Photo Studio
- Adobe Lightroom
- Adobe Photoshop
- Adobe Photoshop Elements
- Affinity Photo
- Capture One
- Corel PaintShop Pro
- CyberLink PhotoDirector 365
- DxO PhotoLab
- Exposure Software
- ON1 Photo RAW
- Skylum Luminar AI
- Zoner Photo Studio
For free or open-source software for photo editing, you can try the following options:
For video editing, you can try the following products:
- Adobe Premiere Pro
- Apple Final Cut Pro
- Apple iMovie
- CyberLink PowerDirector 365
- Corel VideoStudio Ultimate
- DaVinci Resolve
- Movavi Video Editor Plus
- Pinnacle Studio Ultimate
For free or open-source software for video editing, you can try the following options:
- FXhome HitFilm Express
- OpenShot Video Editor
- NCH Software VideoPad
- Vimeo Create
- VSDC Video Editor
For graphic design, you can try the following products:
- Adobe Illustrator
- Adobe Photoshop
- Affinity Designer
- CorelDraw Graphics Suite
- Gravit Designer PRO
- Xara Designer Pro+
For free graphic design options, you can try the following:
Images and graphics for commercial use
Creating original images, graphics, and artwork takes a lot of time and skill. Many organizations search online for image libraries or stock photos when they can’t create something in-house. If you choose to search online for images and graphics, be sure you know the difference between free and licensed materials. Free images are offered by creators with an understanding that they are to be credited for their work. Sometimes these images must be displayed with the creator’s logo. Licensed images for commercial use typically have a payment fee or subscription requirement that users must abide by.
Many popular software tools help you create visually appealing visual content on personal computers. Some software tools are free or open-source. Graphic designers use tools that require some additional training to use at a professional level. Other tools have templates and editing features that make creating graphics or working with photos and videos much easier for everyone. If you don’t use original artwork, make sure you follow all copyright and licensing requirements.