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5 Step Guide to Creating Effective Visuals On Social Media



Any social media marketer with any experience knows that the key to attracting attention to your posts is to include imagery. Regardless of how much or how little attention someone is paying to their news feed, there is always going to be a consistent theme; they will be much more likely to notice and retain imagery rather than just text. Content with an image receives 94% more views than content without, tweets with images receive 150% more retweets, and 60% of consumers are more likely to interact with a business whose images appear in local searches. This is likely why 63% of all social media content contains an image now. Marketing on social media often means you get one split-second chance to grab an individual’s attention with your post, and you have to do everything in your power to seize this opportunity. In the past, simply adding any type of imagery gave you that advantage over the competition but with these facts becoming common knowledge and news feeds becoming more cluttered with content containing imagery, businesses have to find a way to again step up their brand’s visual aspects to differentiate themselves. Visual marketing is constantly evolving and your strategies have to keep up for you to remain relevant. The big brands such as Nike, Coca-Cola, Target, and Starbucks are exemplifying cutting edge visuals across all their platforms and the results they are receiving from their social are undeniable. With all that being said lets break down the steps for creating visual for your brand that rivals the best in the industry.


Step 1: Know the different types of visual content.

  • Quotes
  • Infographics
  • Longform (ebooks)
  • Video
  • Gifs/Memes
  • Tips and How-To’s

It is important to know all of the tools you have at your disposal. The message you are trying to send will vary in effectiveness throughout the different tools. Some of them are text based but can presented in a graphically designed manner such as quotes, infographics, and tips. Choosing which types of visuals to use will depend on your message, your business, and your capabilities. A good mix of all these tools will keep your content fresh and interesting for your audience.


Step 2: Understand your audience

The whole purpose in creating visually appealing content is to connect with your audience. So naturally you need to know what type of content your audience wants to see! Do your customers often take the time to watch your videos or would a picture be more effective in conveying your message? Are your customers coming to you as an informational source in which case more visual content could be structured around ebooks and infographics? This is where trial and error and analysis of your social media content is so important. You need to assess which content is most effective and what your audience is engaging with the most. Then you can more effectively tailor your visuals to support what they want to see.


Step 3: Tailor visuals to each platform

Every platform is different. A Facebook post should look different than an Instagram post which should look different than a Twitter post. While the message can remain the same across platforms, the imagery should change. People expect to consume different content on different platforms and your business should adhere to these expectations to maximize effectiveness. Your content should not be “one size fits all” across your social media and you can achieve different goals on different platforms.


Step 4: Understand the subliminal factors that convey messages

1. Colors

A customer’s impression of the colors associated with your visuals account for 60% of the acceptance or rejection your product or service. It is imperative that you understand the psychological principals that have been proven to exist within colors.

  • Black= authority, sleek, formal, luxurious or classic experience
  • Yellow= fun, joyous and optimistic
  • Orange= cheerful, inviting, encouraging, friendly and confident
  • Red= intense, strength, adventure, energy and love
  • Blue= tranquility, calm, loyalty, unique, trust, reliable or clear
  • Green= nature, calming, refreshing, balance, growth, and freshness


Attractive imagery can be taken to the next level simply by choosing the right font. The font you choose will have a huge effect on the readability of your content, the visual appeal of the content, and the message the content conveys. This chart offers a quick breakdown of the psychology of different font types.



3. Cohesion

All of your visual content should work together to convey the same meaning. Your images should not conflict with each other and send different messages to your audience. By synergizing your content, you will strengthen your brand’s image and carve out a solid position in the consumer’s mind.


Step 5: Strategize your strategic strategy.

Regardless of how striking your visuals are, if you are posting without a plan you might as well be talking to a wall. Developing a solid social media strategy takes creativity, experience, and dedication. No one can develop a perfect strategy from the beginning and it takes constant refining before you will be able to truly tap into your brand's social media capabilities. It will also require attention, LOTS of attention. Between creating content, scheduling posts, and interacting with your audience, maintaining an effective social media presence is a full time job. A professional social media strategy is a long and arduous process but here are a few suggestions of where to start.

  • Create target consumers
  • Download a social media management tool
  • Share across ALL social channels
  • Brand your business
  • Boost your posts
  • Join blogger websites

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Gary Thompson

Atlanta native and director of brand strategy at SociallyIn. Check out some of my work at

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