I get the privilege of designing social media graphics for bands and churches. I even create all the designs for my new company, SundaySocial.tv. I?ve found a few truths on how to make great images that grab attention and maximize sharing of the social media graphics.
Here are eight tips that are sure to help.
Break it Up
Each time you post something there?s a message you?re wanting to communicate. This message needs to not only be clear, but also palatable. Think small bites versus large amounts of information. The more text you have on a graphic the more likely someone will just scroll right past it.[quote]The more text you have on a graphic the more likely someone will just scroll right past it.[/quote]
For example, let?s say your church is having a back to school event. Instead of filling a graphic with event logo, location, date/time, and call to action, let?s break things up. The graphic itself could be ?Back to School – At YouChurch.? The rest of the information can be written in the caption. Even with the caption, remember to keep things short and to the point.
To Watermark or Not?
This is something I go back and forth on when working with social media packages. I believe it’s redundant to have a logo on the image, showing up right next to the logo in your profile picture. But it really comes down to what your goals and strategies for your organization are.
Another approach would be to keep the logo in your profile and use a web address or wordmark version of your branding on the graphic itself.
Whatever you decide to do, be consistent. Changing the logo position and size throughout posts can come across as unintentional and careless.
It seems like best practices for image sizes keep changing depending on what platform you’re posting on. It?s still something that needs to be considered when designing content. For example, square formats work great on Instagram. But when posted on Twitter, you could have part of your content cut off when sharing the same image. Here?s a great reference guide by the folks at Hubspot for sizing your images.
Another thing to consider is that platforms use different compressions when uploading images. Facebook is notorious for this. If you find your image looking pixelated, try saving your image so the file size is under 100 Kb.
Test it Out
People are spending more time on social media nowadays on mobile versus desktop viewing. You can always zoom out in Photoshop, but I?ve found nothing really beats viewing the graphic on a phone. This is how an average user would see it. The app Droplr is one I use on a daily basis for sharing links and screenshots. It comes in pretty handy for testing out graphics on the phone. I start by taking a screenshot, then it automatically uploads to the cloud. I open the app on the phone and tap on the image. Within a few seconds I?m previewing what the graphic looks like on my phone. There I can catch things that I might not see on a larger scale.
Can You Read It?
This sounds pretty basic, but you wouldn?t believe how many times I?ve come across something that is just not readable. Things get even more challenging when you start using different weights and size fonts within the same graphic. Run it by someone who hasn?t seen it or has no context for what you?re doing. Ask them:
- ?Can you read this? ?
- ?What does this mean??
- ?Does this make sense??
A second pair of eyes never hurts.
Go Without Text Sometimes
There’s no rule that says you have to use text on your social media posts. Sometimes using the right photo is all you need, especially if you?re talking about an event at your church. You might find sharing photos of live events brings more engagement than regular graphics.[quote]There’s no rule that says you have to use text on your social media posts.[/quote]
Another thought is using a simple icon on your graphic. Let?s say you post a question of the week; the graphic could simply be a nicely illustrated question mark.
Mix it Up
While it is important to create some kind of visual consistency throughout your posts, don?t be afraid to mix things up. This is easier to spot on your Instagram grid. Look it over. Does it feel too graphic heavy? Maybe alternate posting photos and graphics. Create diversity in what you post. If your feed is looking photo heavy, circulate some simple graphics throughout the post. This is social media, have fun with it.[quote]Create diversity in what you post.[/quote]
Curate Your Feed
As you post consistently, you?ll start accumulating a large amount of content. There?s nothing wrong with deleting content that doesn?t feel right or is overly dated. Think about someone that finds your feed a year or two from now. They most likely will scroll through a lot of your posts. Some things just don’t relate or need to be there. It?s a good idea, every once in a while, to go back and clean things up.
Remember, more than anything, to make things social. Beautiful imagery is good, but if there?s no chance for people to engage and enjoy the image for themselves, you?re taking the social out of social media. Have fun, embrace excellence, but make sure the social media images make room for the social aspect.