Social media has become significantly more visually focused over the past year or two.
Instagram, a visual-first platform, has helped launch entire brands on its own, and study after study has shown that videos are now more important than ever for generating engagement with consumers. Even Twitter, which has built its business on short text communication, has just launched new camera tools to increase its visual focus.
With all this in mind, we decided to ask our #SMTLive community about “Social Media Design on a Budget” and how you can boost your visual efforts online when you may not have all the resources of big brands to do so. Here’s what they said - and don’t forget to follow our #SMTLive hashtag to keep up with our latest Twitter chats (they happen on Twitter every second and fourth Tuesday from 12pm to 1pm EST - you can RSVP here).
Mind on my money, money on my mind
To pay or not to pay, that’s always the question when it comes to social help. Like the ratio of men to women in liberal arts colleges, #SMTLive chatters were split about 40/60 as to who chooses not to pay for social media design resources and who does.
We love kicking off these chats with a poll. Q1- Does your marketing team budget/pay for social media design tools? (If yes, which tools do you use?) #SMTLive— Social Media Today (@socialmedia2day) March 12, 2019
When it comes to what tools they use, there was more variation. @taryn_grisham uses the more in-depth Creative Cloud program, but looks to Canva for the quicker stuff. Canva in particular was brought up a few times in these answers, probably because it’s so user friendly.
Some participants gushed over their in-house designers, too.
A1. We have a budget for some design tools, and an amazing in-house designer. But we're aware that some of our clients have limited design resources/expertise, so we try and offer content with them in mind #SMTLive— Easypromosapp (@easypromosapp) March 12, 2019
Brand kits galore
We all know that having a brand kit is important, so we asked #SMTLive participants what their brand kit essentials were when it came to visuals. Answers included mood boards, fonts, colors, and more.
A2. In addition to brand guidelines, I think that mood board-style guides really help convey to a team how a brand should stay consistent on social media. #SMTlive— Ellen Matis (@ellenmatis) March 12, 2019
A2— Phoebe McPherson (@pnmcpherson) March 12, 2019
I try to start at the BASICS:
- What fonts do we use?
- What colors do we use?
- Which emojis are off-limits?
- Do we have hashtags that are always required on visuals?
- Set intro-outro for video?
- What is the approval process?#smtlive
Hi again, Canva.
A2. It helps to have a brand identity kit that enforces all the communication, tone, style and visual guide (colors, fonts, types etc) to maintain consistency with social visuals. Also a few templates on Canva goes a long way #SMTLive— Charu Misra (@charumisra) March 12, 2019
Words are important when it comes to visuals, too.
The more you know.
A2. I like to start off by checking out similar brand's visual style guides (some make them publicly available) and using those as a template for designing my own, with some addictions and cuts made as needed. #SMTCHAT— Taylor Barbieri | 文珠玲 (@Taylor_Barbieri) March 12, 2019
Color me branded
Color has always been one of the most important aspects of brand recognition. The psychology of color when it comes to branding is actually pretty in depth and fascinating (more on that in this infographic). But if you’re just getting started and feel confused about how to use color strategically, #SMTLive had answers for you this week.
A3: On top of using a primary color palette, playing with saturation and contrast can make a big difference when it comes to creating consistency and brand-recognition. #SMTLive— Spencer Ballard (@spencerjballard) March 12, 2019
Because filter has to do with not only color, but also brand recognition:
A3 cont: And while we're at it, I'm going to include filter in "color". Don't confuse your audience by having too many filters on your feeds! Pick the ones that flow and roll with it. #SMTlive #SocialMediaBranding— CourtneyCrossJohnson (@CCrossJohnson) March 12, 2019
Good point! And colors have different meanings in different cultures, too - important to remember if (when!) your brand goes international #SMTLive— Easypromosapp (@easypromosapp) March 12, 2019
Video killed the radio star
If visuals rule the social media marketing world, then video content is king. That’s why it’s a bummer to hear that people have a harder time with their video content production than any other type of visual. Thankfully, the SMT community on Twitter chimed in with all kinds of advice for video content production.
@Animoto is a great tool for cool videos. Been using it for a while already.— Anastasiya Sasnakevich (@sasnakevich) March 12, 2019
There were a heap of interesting and valuable insights shared. Again, make sure you tune in to the next #SMTLive chat on Twitter on March 27th.