Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have a social media campaign without images?

BORING. That is the first word that comes to mind.

Sure, eloquently written paragraphs of informative content take a lot of time and skill, but do they have the same impact as a stunning image? Do they have the same engagement as a thrilling video?

Source: Acclaim

The companies with the best marketers and the greatest social media following realize this and they use some of the best designers to craft stunning images for their social media campaigns.

They say “a picture is worth a thousand words,” but I doubt the stunning concepts used by Sony in the above image could be explained adequately in words. Honoring legends of the music industry while at the same time highlighting their products in a simplistic yet stunning visual shows that Sony’s design game is on point.

Social Media- What Are Your Objectives?

There are 1.86 billion active Facebook users worldwide, and Instagram has over 600 million monthly active users. I could go on about the myriad of social media platforms we have. It’s clear that social media is simply too big to ignore.

Physical products. Source: eQuip

However, the way companies utilize this vast resource to improve their social media ROI is another matter altogether. Some simply have a presence, others use this presence to promote products and services which translate into tangible sales.

You have to be clear about the message you’re trying to communicate. Conventional brick-and-mortar businesses might use social media promotions to drive traffic to their physical store, whereas a virtual business might offer discounts if you “buy now” straight from their social media.

Virtual products. Source: PNC Logos

Superior Design is Your Number One Ally

Once you have figured out what social media marketing can do for your business, it’s time to focus on the one aspect that can take your company’s social media game to the next level – design.

Design and Branding Play a Huge Part in Brand Identity
Think of a popular brand – probably the first thing that comes to your mind is a definitive element in that brand’s design. This is because the brand’s design and branding is a vital constituent of brand recall.

The Nike Swoosh, Coca-Cola’s red and white, Adidas’ stripes, Mc Donald’s giant yellow “M”, and I could go on and on. In this present digital era where social media is one of the main avenues for both organic and paid promotion, the ability to get your brand instant recognition is a valuable asset.

Similarly, smart marketers are also aware of consumer behavior trends. Color increases brand recognition by up to 80%; a savvy designer will make sure that the color theme of the design and branding is in sync with the brand’s visual identity and that it also has a positive influence on buyer behavior.

Getting Your Message Across With Size and Text Limitations
As most Facebook marketers already know, the design guidelines state that your image/post must not have more than 20% text, otherwise it won’t be eligible for paid advertising.

We have seen countless posts where text covers most of the image. However, a good social media marketer knows that it is important to get your message across without exceeding the 20% limit. This needs to be communicated to the social media designers and should be a part of the company’s overall style guidelines.

Source: Techwyse

Similarly, the dimensions are different for each image. For instance, Facebook sponsored ads and sponsored posts require different optimal sizes. This needs to be kept in mind while designing for multiple formats as well.

Social Media Campaigns- Keep ‘em Fresh!
An essential part of keeping the audience informed about your brand is through social media campaigns. These campaigns can last from a few days up to several months, depending on the content and objective of a particular campaign.

The problem with prolonged campaigns is that your target audience can get bored with similar posts all week long. This is where superior and customized design comes into play.

Source: Oberlo

The above image highlights Oreo’s”100 posts in 100 days” campaign. The creative element is quite obvious in all these posts. One would be hard pressed to find someone who is bored with these images. Apparently, every single one of these campaign designs have striking elements of the original product, i.e. an Oreo.

In addition to maintaining brand awareness, catchy design keeps your customers focused on your product portfolio as well. Phillips showed how you can use both these elements at the same time:

Source: Juliana Mortari

This kind of eye-catching campaigns led Philips Sound to be acclaimed as the most creative Facebook page in Brazil. It proves that you do not need to have adventures or sensational experiences to populate your social media presence with amazing images and videos. That’s what design is there for!

The UI/UX Element
Effective design is more than just about pretty imagery and stylish fonts. Bear in mind that while creative campaigns do generate more attention, the main focus of a typical business has to be on conversion rates. After all, that is what drives sales and ultimately, profits.

Messing up your calls-to-action (CTAs) can prove to be very costly. Similarly, if your post is so design heavy that the important parts are squeezed in at the end, then I’m afraid your designer needs a few lessons in UI/UX optimization.

The average ad cost-per-click (CPC) on Google AdWords is between $1 and $2 while on Facebook/Instagram it is $0.64. However, advertisements on Google AdWords get a better click through rate (CTR). There is room for a lot of improvement on social media advertising, and improving user experience and focusing on conversions can dramatically increase this statistic.

Images Are Not Everything (Hint: Videos)
In this day and age, graphic designers are a dime a dozen. There is also plenty online software that allows you to carry out basic image editing functions.

The latest social media craze is marketing through different types of videos and Gifs. This is where having a creative team with the right mix of designers, animators, storyboard artists, audio engineers, video editors and illustrators is vital if a company is aiming for a stand-out look and feel. Obviously, all these services can be outsourced to an outside agency, but this is just to highlight the importance of having good creative resources at your disposal.

According to research, 59% of executives believe that if both text and video is available on a certain topic, they will choose video. Similarly, almost 50% of internet users look for videos related to a product or service before making a store visit. These trends suggest that the usage of videos on social media is growing swiftly as a major marketing channel.

Stop The Scrolling!
According to a study, tweets with images have a higher chance of getting clicks, retweets and favorites. The same goes for Facebook, where you seldom see any posts without images.

The point is, your content must be attractive enough for the user to actually stop scrolling and give your post their undivided attention. Obviously, the quickest way to do this is through creative, out-of-the-box design.

Source: Aeropostale

Although the picture itself is simple, the above image users a clever engagement strategy to make the user stop and interact with the brand. The designer, simply by creating an air of comparison between 2 different designs ultimately compels viewers to participate and share their opinions.

Something to Remember

With the pinnacle of the digital age upon us, the online presence of each brand becomes even more important. Furthermore, social media is the digital dimension where your brand presence becomes even more amplified.

This can be for better or worse, depending on your business practices. However, in an industry full of generic products, stand-out design can give your brand a distinct personality and set you apart from the competition.

Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the views of the author, and not necessarily the views of Caphyon, its staff, or its partners.

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