Social MediaGraphics 101By Sarah M (GreatContent)FINAL1Content – BlogpostBlogpost – 003 Social Media 1012Content – BlogpostBlogpost – 003 Social Media 101Social Media 101: Creating professionalgraphics that popCreating compelling social media graphics is a lot like online dating.You get pulled in by that initial look. Something about their photo grabs your attention. It’s wellstyled.They seem like they’re just “your type”. Then, your eye moves down to their “stats”. And onlythen do you read their quippy profile, cliche likes and dislikes and decide if they’re worth a swiperight or a swipe left.Your brand’s professional graphics should always be making your end consumer swipe right.Double tap. Whatever the cool kids are saying these days.Half the work should already be done for you: cue, your business’s brand formatting guide.This little baby in your back pocket should carefully define what platforms you’re distributingcontent on, the fonts, visuals, headings, illustrated borders and graphics that will be required andlanguage to be used on each – if any.Luckily, there are a few social media platforms that are a must for generating potential leads andengaging with consumers in a community – and these have their own standard formats, which canhelp make your design decisions that much easier.h2Size matters/h2Some burgeoning platforms like Medium don’t have a cover size yet, per se. They’ll give youminimum dimensions but this is not a hard and fast rule.Whether you’re using a free image or one from a curated library available to you, make sure thatyou know hiccup platforms you’re designing these templates for. Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook andInstagram have their own standard maximum sizes. Some, like Facebook, have “sub” dimensionsand you should create social media templates for posting, v.s. branding and advertising.3Content – BlogpostBlogpost – 003 Social Media 101For example, a regular post image is different in dimension from a cover photo, a profile pic or anad photo on Facebook. Additionally, free images that are used in ads on Facebook must only 20% ofthe photo populated with text to be approved.You’ll also want to know which orientation works better. Twitter recommends horizontally-tiledphotos with Tweets, even those vertical is acceptable. Contrast this with Pinterest where long-form,infographic-type content is the most visually-appealing though anything vertically oriented will worktoo.Then, there’s YouTube. YouTube’s graphics. These are usually narrow and horizontally oriented withheavy text and a background image. Certain buttons can also be added and used as links throughthe video.And, while Instagram only used to allow a square orientation and size, it now allows all dimensionsand shapes of photos – though, if you use rectangular pictures with white borders without any priorstrategizing, your overall feed may look wonky.h2But time matters/h2Does this mean you’ll have to create a template for all of these platforms and their sub-types?You can – but only if you have nothing but time on your hands and no pressing to-do list. Which,unless you’re a monk on a mountaintop, is probably not the case.When creating these social media templates, use a platform or a tool that allows for automaticresizing. This means that you don’t have to start from scratch each time. You don’t need to input thesame background five times, across five images.You can create ONE image and then use automatic resizing to keep the integrity of the backgroundimage, colour overlay, borders, and even logo and font intact.The only thing you may have to readjust is the sizing of the font, based on readability, and itsplacement, based on whether the new image is horizontal or vertically aligned, different from theprevious image’s orientation.Because time matters most of all, upload a variation of logos and decide which goes on which.Then, you can automatically pull and replace a logo from your ready-made library. You might alsowant to have a logo that has inverted colours, in order to account for a dark background (if ever this4Content – BlogpostBlogpost – 003 Social Media 101is the case).h2So does maintaining a consistent overall aesthetic/h2Maintaining an overall aesthetic comes down to the details. The devil may not be in them but yourbrand’s value and messaging certainly is.Head to any major YouTuber, popular Instagram account or even Facebook Page. For the FacebookPage, you’ll see that certain brand elements like colours, fonts, and logos are intact, always, whetherit’s an ad or it’s a regular post.If you head to YouTube, you’ll see that the nomenclature of the post – which is to say, how the videois labeled – is consistent, not only with that platform’s “search engine” but also with how the textshows up on the YouTube video cover photo.The same is true for Instagram: it’s a purely visual medium and even quotes have a particularaesthetic. Certain accounts that are going for a vintage vibe will not only use particular fontsassociated with this aesthetic but will run them through filters that enhance this vibe. Even themodels or types of free imagesthey use will be geared toward a particular target audience.When creating your social media templates, keep these important aspects of target audience inmind.h2Cheatsheet: use another app for “staging”/h2Once you’re done creating your social media templates, expert Instagram users and teachers likeCaitlin Bacher and Hilary Rushford have several clever strategies on how to get the most “bang” foryour – well, post.A useful tip that both these gurus use is this: to harness the power of your images, postingsequence matters just as much as the specific images and promotions. Use a “staging” app todecide when to post which image and help your feed pop overall.How do you do this? Let’s say you’re posting on Instagram. Use an app like VSCO to tile and organizethe images so that the order of posts creates a colour sequence, a symmetry to the feed, and brandharmony or even tells a story. Once you’ve laid out the images to your liking, only then post onInstagram – in the same sequence.You can decide to make every third a quote or keep the middle posts a “re-gram”, where you throwsome love to another Instagram account. This not only helps you gain more followers through yourvisually stunning content, you’ll also make great contacts for later collaboration.