Every brand strives to create meaningful interactions with its customers. And for this, social media can be of great help. Because on social media you’ll find customers young and old belonging to a wide range of demographics. The number of people who use social media worldwide is projected to reach 4.41 billion by the year 2025. And this means that with a strong social media marketing strategy you have the potential to reach a large number of people.
Upon setting clear objectives there is so much you can do with social media.
Whatever your goals when it comes to social media marketing, you should understand that good design lies at the crux of it all. Design flaws that are seemingly small might actually wreak havoc on your marketing strategy. Fret not, here is a compilation of the most common social media design mistakes that brands should avoid.
There are two main font problems you should definitely avoid. One is choosing too many font variations that make the design look cluttered. The other is choosing fonts that look great but are hard to read.
If there are plenty of font styles, there will be no harmony in your design. And this cannot be aesthetically pleasing. When they scroll through their social media feeds filled with beautiful designs, they would not think twice before ignoring a crowded design that does not look professional.
On the other hand, if you use fonts that look beautiful but are not very legible, your customers will admire your design and scroll past it. They will not comprehend the message and therefore your post’s engagement rate is not going to be up to the mark.
Understand the role played by typography in your design. Instead of complicating your design by working with too many fonts, pick a single typeface that resonates with your brand identity. Use subtle but effective font variations like changing the font color or font size for a text that requires emphasis. Here’s an example that shows how simple color variations make an impact even if you do not change the typeface.
Like fonts, colors have the next big role to play in your design. The imagery in your design, different sections of text, and other design elements might all have different priorities. So, to set them apart, if you choose to use too many colors, then your design ends up looking chaotic.
To be able to choose a visually appealing color palette for your design, do some research on color psychology. This will help you pick colors that evoke the right mood intended for your design. And with this, use your understanding of color harmonies so as to create combinations that look good.
A simple color palette works. And it’s even better if the chosen color palette resonates with your brand’s primary or secondary color palette.
The above post on the Instagram For Business page captures the vibrancy of the Instagram color palette without using too many colors.
If you think that your work is done once you choose the perfect typefaces and colors for your design, think again. To make these elements work as planned, you need the right layout and a well-defined hierarchy in your design.
Layout determines where each design element is positioned in the design. And hierarchy determines how factors like colors and size are used to add weights to different elements. When you ignore these two, your design looks clumsy. Or customers might miss out on the important details in your design. As a result, even if the design looks good at first glance, the depth of the message will not be grasped.
For layouts, most graphic designers prefer using grids to identify the best position for each design element. The golden ratio is one such concept that many designers love to use in their designs. These layout grids are all based on common observations of which points in a design our eyes are naturally drawn to. In fact, using appropriate layouts can be what sets designs by designers apart from those by non-designers.
For hierarchy, you can use elements like arrows or play with symmetry types like radial symmetry. And for text hierarchy, bold text and bigger fonts as well as display serif typefaces are loud and draw attention. While smaller sans-serif fonts might be read last.
When you have your layout and hierarchy planned, ensure that you also incorporate enough negative space so your design looks organized. Negative space can also come in handy if you want to direct all attention towards a particular element or improve the legibility of text in your design.
Stock photos might feel like the easiest option when you have to create regular posts for your feed. But, even if you choose premium stock images, there are chances of other brands having used the same image.
Customers like authentic brands. If your posts look like something they have already seen, they might not pay much attention to it. Or they might even develop a bad impression of your brand.
Come up with creative ways to display your product and use this as the core visual in your design.
This will keep your post relevant and beautiful. If you have to create a post that does not talk about any single product, in particular, you can also use illustrations. When designed right, they can be highly engaging
Or if using stock images is your only option, make sure that you fully tweak the design using your brand colors and some text overlay. Good image editing skills can save your reputation.
Posts that convey information are easy to come by. People might look at them and often forget about them. But posts that evoke emotions are rare. And these are the ones that people remember.
So, if you want your social media pages to help in your branding effort, you need to create posts that evoke an emotional response. Posts that make your brand memorable. Posts that look good but have no solid mood will not be of much use to brands.
When you come up with a concept for your design, be clear about the emotions to capture. Sometimes, you want people to experience the happiness that customers experience when they choose your service. And other times you might want them to feel the pain of the problem that your brand addresses.
Triggering strong sentiments is a fool-proof way to be sure that people react to your design. This will also be your shot at improving conversions.
One way to make an emotional connection is to show what happens backstage. Create images and videos that show customers the processes behind your products and services. As Netflix does.
Creating designs that match the specifications for each social media platform is not enough. You need designs that look good on all devices. Sometimes, designs that look attractive and text that looks clear and legible on a computer screen might look less effective on a small mobile screen.
Nearly 81.8% of Facebook users access the platform only via mobile devices. So, if you are neglecting the optimization of your design for mobile devices you are missing out on a large chunk of your target audience.
Once your design is ready, make it a point to view the design on different devices before you actually post it on your page. View the same image or video created for social media from a desktop computer and then from a smartphone. If you think some details are not clear when the designs are scaled down rework the design until the effect remains the same on all screen sizes.
A design that has the best fonts and colors, perfect layout, and clear emotional communication but there is no flavor of your brand, your design still fails. It works well as an individual post but you do not get long-term benefits from it.
Keeping up your brand identity on social media can be anything from adding your brand name or logo to the design to using a standard template that has all your brand’s signature design elements. When you don’t do this, customers will admire the design but fail to connect it with your brand. They might respond to that one post but might not follow your brand or get curious to find out more about what you offer.
Start by preparing a social media style guide for your brand. This will be a rulebook that has all your brand assets in one place and also details about nuances like brand messaging tone, visual styles, colors that suit and those that don’t suit your brand and so much more.
To keep things simple and easy to track, stick with just two or three colors for your design. And these can be your brand colors directly picked from your logo design.
Here is a snapshot from the Instagram page of KFC for example.
Notice how KFC subtly squeezes in a splash of red in its designs to maintain consistency.
Maintaining visual consistency by using your social media style guide as a reference will ensure that your designs look on-brand within the same social media channel and across multiple channels too. If you have a different visual style on Instagram and your Facebook page looks nothing like your Instagram Feed, you might not get cross-platform traffic.
Different post types bring in different types of engagement on social media. For example, you can add links to your blog posts or product pages directly on your post descriptions on Facebook. But Instagram does not allow you to add links. So, you can embed links on Stories instead. This means your post or post description will lead your customers to the Story that contains the link or ask them to check for the link in the bio.
Tweak your designs to incorporate the CTA or direct customers toward the location where they will find the link. And other design aspects like where you place your text and imagery might also influence the effectiveness based on where you use the design. For example, Stories that contain text that is placed centrally perform 75% better especially if you are trying to sell a product and the CTA is “add to cart”. But you cannot say the same for regular posts.
Along with all these little mistakes, you should also avoid the one most evident blunder which is using images of poor quality. Blurry images or pixelated ones as well as images with poor framing and those with little to no border might all make your social media pages look unprofessional. Now is a good time to stop and take a close look at your social media design. Notice any of the above-mentioned flaws? It’s never too late. Start working on a strong social media design strategy right away. Or better yet, work with a professional design team that can help you save a sinking ship before it burns a hole in your brand’s reputation online.