As a beginner who is just starting out with graphic design, the variety of resources can sometimes feel overwhelming, leaving you with no idea where to begin. The good news is, after reading this article, you will never have to face these obstacles again.
The best way to begin is to start at the bottom and work your way up. The first thing you should ask yourself is what you need to consider before starting your social media design. Then, read on to discover the 5 main tips to boost engagement on social media platforms.
What to consider before starting your social media design?
Step 1: Plan your social media graphic design strategy
The first and most basic step in any social media design is creating a strategy that will help you achieve your goals. Your designs are not merely fancy visuals; they should convey the message you want to be received as well as be able to say what words can’t.
In order for you to create a winning strategy, you need to know who your target audience is, who they are following, and what they are looking for. We can do this through target market research using things like surveys, analytics, or polls.
Once you have your target market audience, you need to evaluate which platforms you should use to reach your audience and the type of content that best suits the selected platform.
For example, if your designs are for inspiration, recipes, or travel guides, you wouldn’t be reaching your audience by posting on Quora or Twitter, as your audience would lean more towards Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube.
Step 2: List and brief your design assets
Once you have a better idea of your audience and what platforms you will use to reach them, you can start planning your design brief.
A social media planner will be your bible for social media graphic design and content planning so that you can keep on track and up to date with all the different platform requirements.
Here are some ideas of what your planner should have inside:
- Scheduled posts (using any social media scheduler)/ content calendar
- Relevant hashtags or keywords to promote awareness
- Social media goals and objectives
- Examples of competitor posts to ensure no duplicate content as well as to familiarize yourself with current standards
- Post type and relevant size (quote, photo, animation, etc.)
Although it may not appear to be something that needs to be recorded, keeping track of all the dimensions and postings for various platforms can be a little challenging.
Step 3: Find tools for creating your social media design
Living in the digital age means that if you want people to know about you, you have to up your presence, especially on social media. Think of it like this: just by creating an online presence and using social media for marketing, you are exposing yourself to over 4 billion people.
That is more than half of the people in the world who might look at your design, so you want to make sure that it levels up. That brings us to using social media design tools.
Making use of these tools not only helps you save time with existing templates, but they also help create image assets such as posts, cover images, stories, animated GIFS, or videos for your social media platforms.
5 social media graphic design tips to boost engagement
Did you know that 90% of all information processed by the brain is visual?
The human brain decodes language in a linear, sequential fashion while images are decoded simultaneously—that’s why images are remembered more easily than text.
Here are some tips guaranteed to grab your reader’s attention and boost your post engagements.
1. Use a consistent style of images
Using social media to build your brand is a powerful tool, but only if the social media designs you create are consistent with that brand. So how do you find the best images to suit your brand?
The best way to answer that is to think of your brand as a person and ask yourself what that person likes to see or do. Another thing to keep in mind is the number of users on social media and how often they must be bombarded with advertisements.
Studies have shown that people lose their concentration after eight seconds, so think of that as the time you have to grab their attention and keep it. By using consistent images, they will also begin automatically associating your style with your brand.
The best way to ensure consistency is to use pre-made templates. All you need to do is change up the text and colors to suit your brand and you are ready to go.
This is useful when using high-traffic channels such as social media. Not only will it increase your chances of standing out from your competitors, but it will also help increase your brand awareness online. A consistent approach to branding and graphic design helps build good relationships with customers. It’s no wonder 81% of consumers prefer to know and trust their brands.
2. Balance the creation of social media images and videos
The type of content you’re publishing and the underlying goals need to be carefully considered in order to design social media graphics that work. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Using text in social media posts
Using text overlays can be useful in creating posts that combine different media elements that create organic traffic and present you with the opportunity to take advantage of all the advertising space online. Just remember to use color combinations that are easy to read and process visually, but don’t obscure imagery with too much text or too many images.
- Try using infographics
The content presented in your social media posts should be conceived with an open and curious mind, especially when creating infographics.
In social media, infographics are among the most popular types of branded content, delivering between 120-180% more engagement than text-only posts.
However, due to the extremely competitive market, unique designs are essential for achieving those results, perhaps by incorporating photographs taken from the perspective of actual consumers.
- Social media videos
Video content has increasingly influenced social media marketing channels in recent years —so much that 82% of Twitter users opt for video over text, showing video’s potential importance for your marketing campaigns. Thanks to the high demand, there is also an abundance of video templates that are available online.
3. Keep the font in the same family
Branding is a complex art, and typography is just one of those fine details that’s easy to overlook. How your target audience views the fonts you use can profoundly impact your social posts.
A graphic design rule of thumb is to use only two different typefaces in a single design, which can make selecting and pairing complementary fonts quite tricky. They should fit the tone of the message and be easy to read.
While it’s ok to play around with different fonts, it’s always best to establish a consistent hierarchy of typefaces that fit the tone of the message and be easy to read.
It’s important to use the same font style when conveying information, as it allows your readers to identify the pattern and immediately understand what they are reading.
4. Add your logo on social media posts and profile images
Brand awareness is the level of familiarity your customer has with your product or service and your logo plays a significant part in creating that awareness.
If designed well, your logo will become the face of your brand, the icon people associate with it. It will help you establish credibility, trust, and authority among your target audience.
As you include the logo on your social media profiles and posts, you will strengthen your social media presence and reach new audiences every time someone shares your material, increasing your branding efforts.
Some of the other benefits that come from including your logo are increased engagement on your content, which can result in gaining followers, and an increase in traffic as well as assisting in attracting backlinks to your site.
If you don’t yet have a logo or want to get started on one, there are some great sites that offer logo makers as well.
5. Add contrast with colors, shapes, and sizes
By creating contrast between elements, you can manipulate them so that one stands out or appears more prominently than the others, and is a great way to enhance your social media images.
In the absence of contrast, your design may end up feeling dull and lifeless, but then with too much contrast, you may end up with nothing but clutter.
For example, in image design, contrast can be introduced by using colors by playing off the dark with the light, such as the black font on a white background. This will make the wording visually pleasing and easily readable.
Besides using symmetrical shapes to create contrast, you can also use organic shapes to highlight asymmetry while highlighting conformity.
Making certain elements of your design larger or smaller than others is an excellent way to add contrast to your social media images.
With all the above being said, if you don’t want the headache of creating your contrast from scratch, then making use of design packs is highly recommended, as they already have the required contrast to help your design stand out.
Frequently asked questions about graphic design
1. Can I teach myself graphic design?
Graphic design does not require formal training, but it requires a solid understanding of design principles, such as hierarchy, balance, and proportion, as well as knowledge of how to implement them into your creation.
2. Where can I develop social media graphic design skills?
There are a few apps and sites to choose from depending on your goals. For beginners, sites like Renderforest would be your best bet as they offer anything and everything you could need to not only learn but also increase your design skill and knowledge through blog posts or templates in just a few easy clicks.
3. What graphics can I design using Renderforest?
There are a variety of graphics templates with designs for all social media marketing from YouTube banners to Instagram stories, printable designs such as flyers or business cards, event designs, presentations, reports, and more.
To sum up
So, we have established that before you even think about spreading your creative wings, you need to create your social media design strategy. Your strategy can be based on asking questions such as:
- Who is my target audience?
- Which platforms do they use?
- What message do I want to convey?
- What emotion and reaction do I want from my audience?
- What pages/ people/ trends are they following?
- What are the best times to post on social media?
Once you have that, you can begin pulling it all together. As different platforms use a variety of posting preferences, it’s always helpful to have a page dedicated to image sizes, trending hashtags, content type, and even formality when comparing platforms such as LinkedIn to Instagram.
This is also where your social media design tools come in handy, particularly when used with the 5 social media graphic design tips to boost engagement mentioned above. Don’t forget to browse our library of templates to create social media designs in minutes.