How to Create Effective and Engaging Social Media Graphics

Jordi Rubenstein
March 10, 2020
June 22, 2022
5 mins

Your business’s presence on social media is becoming more and more important as digital advertising has become one of the most effective ways to market your business’s products and services. 

Social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, provide businesses with a unique way to interact with their customers as well as reach new customers who may enjoy what your brand offers. Furthermore, social media, more specifically graphics or posts, increase visual communication with your followers. A graphic representation of your products or services will improve the quality of your social media content and make it more appealing and interesting.  

However, social media is also very competitive as your visual content needs to stand out amongst an endless amount of content from other competing businesses. But don’t worry, social media graphics are a great way to create engaging content that will beat the competition. 

This article will guide you through the world of social media graphics. It will show you the different kinds of graphics, and how to use them and make them unforgettable.

What are social media graphics?

Social media graphics are a great way to grab people’s attention when scrolling through their feeds. More specifically, they need to tell your business’s story or message compellingly. 

Social media graphics are key when determining your content strategy and should be an accurate representation of your brand. 

If the message that you are conveying is strong and your visuals are captivating, it is more likely that you will gain followers as well as increase clicks and shares on your social media posts.

Why are social media graphics important?

In a world where content marketing plays an important role in increasing brand awareness and engagement amongst your target audience but most importantly grabbing a user’s attention whilst they scroll through their feed. Moreover, people tend to respond with more intrigue when their first impression of a graphic image that encourages them to interact with your social media posts, in the form of likes, comments, or shares.

Since we live in a world full of technology, people have become accustomed to instant gratification. Therefore, you should keep the message you want to display short and sweet to avoid people losing interest.

Furthermore, social media graphics are important because they can increase your brand’s awareness. Consistency is key, so when you use a graphic or image that is consistently exciting and eye-catching, people are more likely to recognize this post and engage with your content. Therefore, it is important to deliver social media graphics that will satisfy customers and at the same time increase brand awareness.

What do great graphics for social media look like?

It might not be enough to simply have beautiful-looking graphics. You want to go the extra mile and create designs or use your own photos that are in sync with previous content posted, engaging with your audience, and of course easy on the eye.

This might seem all too overwhelming to people that are not graphic designers. However, there are so many tools and apps to help you create high-quality graphics. Sparkle is a great example of a service that provides you with unlimited graphic designs created by graphic designers. You don’t need to create anything on your own, which makes it even better. 

There are many different types of graphics that support different types of content. What type of graphic should you use? Let’s find out.

Different types of graphics for social media

  1. Profile images
  2. Cover images
  3. Feed images 
  4. Original posts

Profile images

A profile image is an image that represents a social media account and, more specifically, your brand. It is important to have a profile picture that customers are drawn to as it is the first thing that they see when glancing at your page. 

There are varying shapes and sizes of profile images depending on the different social media pages. Your social media profile image should be at least 600 pixels in width to ensure that the image will look great at any size and on any device.

Cover images

A cover image, also known as a banner, is a graphic that gives the customer a glance at what your business is all about and what products or services you produce.

The great thing about cover images is that they can be dynamic and can be used for many different purposes, such as displaying products and promotions. This graphic should be attractive and unique as it is a great way to bring in potential customers. 

Take a look at this article to understand what goes into the perfect cover image

Feed images

Feed images are simply graphics that are posted alongside written content. These graphics can be anything from advertisements and personal photos to quotes and infographics. 

Note: It is important to remember to relate these graphics to the content you are posting. 

Original posts

People tend to enjoy content and graphics that are unique and original to your brand. Therefore, it is useful to create graphics that are not, for example, stock images, but rather ones that you have taken yourself. 

Identify what your audience would enjoy and interact with the most and create graphics that are creative and interesting. They can be videos, ad campaigns that suit your selected demographics, such as age or country, or illustrations.

Different types of graphics to support different types of content

When determining what type of content suits which graphic, it is important to identify what type of content will intrigue your audience and what type of content they are likely to share, like, or comment on. 

What’s great about the different social media platforms is that you can share a post on more than just one platform. That way you can reach more people. 

People are most likely to engage with posts that spark an emotion or motivate them to interact with the post.

social media graphic example - dogsofinstagram

Here is an Instagram post that would make someone happy or laugh. This post sparks engagement as the content is asking a question and the graphic ties in really well with what the post is trying to convey, which is “self-care”.

Social media graphic - Target

A social media graphic can also look like this. Target has made great use of incorporating a promotion of 70%, which will definitely get customers to interact with the post and maybe even visit the company’s website. 

Tips on how to create social media graphics

Tip #1: Set a goal

Social media graphic design is a process, and to complete the steps along the way with ease, it is important to set a goal. Setting a goal will help you determine why you are creating this graphic, what you want it to look like, and what the message that this graphic should portray is. 

It is useful to determine who your target audience is and what it is that they would like to see. The world of social media is very competitive, therefore, understanding what goals you would like to accomplish will ensure that you shoot and score. 

Here are some questions you can ask to discover what your social media graphic goals are: 

  • Who is your target audience, or what type of people are you trying to reach?
  • What type of content does your target audience want to see? 
  • What is the message that you want to portray? Is it promotional? Are you advertising a new product, or do you simply want to entertain your audience?
  • What type of emotion do you want your audience to feel when viewing your post? 
  • What social media platform are you wanting to post on? More specifically, which social platform does your audience use most? 

Answering these questions will allow you to get a better understanding of the type of graphics you should be posting. This is the first step in the process of creating a great social media graphic. 

Tip #2: Determine the correct size 

Each social media platform, such as Instagram, Facebook, Linkedin, or Twitter has different dimensions and specifications for posting graphics. It is also helpful to decide which platform you will use so that you can create the highest quality graphic. 

For example, Instagram recommends using images that are 1080 x 1350 px for portrait, 180 x 180 px for square and 180 x 566+ px for landscape. Instagram reduces the size of your image if it is too large, which leads to low-quality images. Therefore, it is helpful to use these dimensions when creating graphics.

Infographic - Instagram image size

Many social media platforms often update their dimensions and specifications for image sizes to keep up with changing trends. Therefore, it is useful to familiarize yourself with these new changes. Facebook and Linkedin have up-to-date guides that specify the sizes and types of imagery that they recommend.

Tip #3: Deliver a message through your graphics

Humans are visual by nature. It has been researched that the human brain responds to and processes graphics 60,000 times faster than text. This research further validates how important it is to create visual graphics that will catch people’s attention when scrolling through endless social media feeds. 

When incorporating a message in your graphics it is useful to determine the type of message that you want to state. What type of emotion do you want to evoke in your audience? Is it curiosity, which can lead to audiences viewing your website, or do you simply want to entertain your audience with a funny joke?

Furthermore, it is important to keep your message straightforward and simple and pair it with great graphics or illustrations to keep your audience from scrolling past your post. 

Tip #4: Color is key

Color has a huge influence on how your audience will view and interact with your graphics. Color plays an important role in social media as color associations can influence positive or negative emotions or moods when users view your graphic. It is also important to choose a color scheme that fits your brand. 
For example, the color orange is known to be bright and energetic. It can also be very attention-grabbing, which is why it is a great color to incorporate when creating your graphics.

Social media graphic - easyJet

Easyjet’s graphic has made great use of the orange color. Its post most definitely evokes positive feelings, which will intrigue the viewers and encourage them to visit the company’s website. Because who doesn't want to look this happy while running on the beach?  

Tip 5: Contrast 

Incorporating contrast is a great way to make your graphics stand out. Contrast can be created using shapes, different layouts, colors, textures, fonts, and sizes. Furthermore, without the use of contrast your graphic might end up looking flat, which is not what you want. 

For example, color is a simple yet effective way to create contrast in your images. You can use complementary colors, such as orange and blue, or you can use opposite colors, such as yellow and green. You can also play with light and dark colors. For example, use a white background with dark objects, shapes, or text on top.

Social media graphic - Coca-Cola

Here is an example of Coca-cola using color for contrast. They have used a dark red background and white knife and fork, which outline a red bottle with their logo in white. This ultimately makes the key features of this graphic stand out. 

Tip 6: Identify your key features

Creating a hierarchy within your graphics is used to show the importance of highlighting key features in your graphic. You want your audience to view the most important part of the graphic first. Therefore, it is important to identify what your crucial element or message is to make it stand out and attract your audience's attention. 

This can be done using, for example, size or color. People tend to notice larger elements more easily and a lot quicker than smaller elements. Moreover, bright colors, such as red, are more likely to attract the viewer’s attention rather than dull colors, such as grey.

Social media graphic - Trident

Here is a great example of Trident using color and size to highlight the key features. The use of a brightly colored blue as well as a large text will grab the attention of most people. 

Tip 7: Incorporate your brand’s identity in your design

Brand identity is a key element to incorporate into your graphics. You want your audience to recognize your brand when they see a graphic that you or your business has created. 

A simple way to create brand awareness is through repetition as it increases the chances of a user identifying your brand.

In order to do this, you can try to be consistent with your colors, fonts, and messages. Once you have repeatedly created graphics with these elements you will be able to establish a unique and recognizable brand. 

You can also use your brand’s logo in your graphics so that when people see these graphics they can instantly recognize who created this graphic. 

Now it’s your turn 

Now that you know what goes into creating the perfect social media graphics, why not give it a go. It is important to create great graphics as it will increase engagement, create brand awareness, and increase social media presence as well as increase the likelihood of users coming back to your page because they like what they see. 

It is amazing how a few tweaks here and there can instantly make your brand stand out from the competition. The world of social media graphics is full of endless opportunities, so why not ensure that you are making the best of these opportunities and create the greatest and most effective social media graphics possible.

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