Social media is just as much a visual medium as it is a written one. If anything, visuals are even more important than copy in many cases. And yet, when marketers talk about what it takes to create great content, visuals often take a back seat.
Unfortunately, many brands don’t put nearly as much thought into their visuals as they do their copy. But the truth is that creating a great visual is just as in-depth as writing great copy. Here are four key things to consider to get your social media imagery right:
Clarity in this case means multiple things. First, there’s the obvious: a picture shouldn’t be blurry, pixilated, warped, or blown out. Unless your posts are intentionally lo-fi, clarity shows you’re a professional. You’ll need a high resolution image of at least 300 dpi to make sure that it’ll be crisp and clean on most screens.
The second side of clarity is subject matter. Once your post is in front of someone, you have a very short window of time to grab their attention. So don’t make your followers try to guess what they’re looking at. If they can’t figure out what’s going on in a picture, they’re going to give up and scroll away quickly, never even reading the copy.
Most of the time spent on images will be on pictures that accompany posts. Make sure the picture you pick out actually makes sense and is appropriate for the subject and audience. Obviously, this means no obscene pictures plucked from the dark corners of the web, but also that it fits in with the tone of your brand.
Creating a great visual means tailoring it to your audience and making sure it’s something that will grab their attention. There’s a fine line between attention-grabbing and obnoxious, so you’ll need to find the right balance.
There are many ways to make a picture jump off-screen. To make something visually appealing, you’ll need to brush up on your artistic knowledge. Choosing colors that work well together, fine tuning the proportions of your image, and creating something that looks different than everything else—these are just a few of the considerations.
Altogether, creating the perfect visual can take a lot of time. You also have to take into consideration any brand guidelines that dictate certain things about your visuals, such as color. On last optimization tip: don’t forget about GIFs! Moving images can be extremely effective when used correctly.
In this section, we’re referring exclusively to your profile and cover images. For businesses, logos are always a great way to go for the profile image and a nice clean accompanying graphic for the cover image.
If you’re representing yourself and you need a headshot of yourself, be sure it is a high-quality image, you’re wearing something appropriate, and you know…smile!
We just scratched the surface of what it takes to craft the perfect social media visual. As you can tell, it takes a lot of work! But that work pays off with an image that hooks people in and keeps them reading.