Humans are visual creatures. Half of the human brain is designed to process visuals, more than the other senses such as touch and hearing. The brain is able to identify images in as fast as 13 milliseconds, and humans are able to remember more than 2000 pictures with at least 90% accuracy. So if someone sees a beautiful or a haunting image, they’ll won’t likely forget it.
In the age of social media, a picture is truly worth a thousand words. If you want to stand out, you must have really compelling visuals in your arsenal. Online consumers are said to retain only 10% to 20% of information, but when plain text is paired with visuals, they are able to remember 65% of the information. Another study revealed that content with photos or infographics registered a 94% increase in page views compared to non-visual content.
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With billions of social media content out there, it is important that as marketers and content producers you are able to draw attention to your social media images, or people are going to forget about you.
Here are the best practices for visual content to get you started on improving the overall look and feel of your social media channels.
Use dynamic colour schemes
Using key colours that enable consumers to easily identify your brand or company is great, but that doesn’t mean you are stuck with blues or reds. Colours convey not just your logo, but also warmth and emotion. They set the mood and the atmosphere. While key colours help make branding more consistent, you don’t want to risk being too predictable.
A study on the impact of colour marketing found that 90% of snap judgements are made based on colour alone. This shows just how important colour is in social media design.
Instead of the flat colours, use light and dark gradients for a more unique feel. Evaluate whether you should go bold and bright or a little subdued. The key here is to be dynamic, allowing your brand to surprise even your most loyal fans. In order to get someone’s attention on social media, you must always keep it fresh and relevant. Keep your visual content consistent and exciting, and let your choice of colours do the trick for you.
Focus on balance
Balance is a little bit more complicated. It’s not as simple as splitting images right down the middle all the time. The goal is to make it feel just right. Rule of thirds when capturing photos is a good example. This is a way of balancing all the elements in one frame, helping the eyes focus on the important elements.
For starters, there are four kinds of balance: symmetrical, asymmetrical, radial or spiral, and crystallographic like donuts with different toppings.
Symmetrical is the most common and is usually used in drawings, illustrations, and photographs. If symmetry evokes harmony, asymmetrical creates tension — the interesting kind. When creating visual content, or choosing stock photos, go with ones that show balance, not boring, flat images.
Look at some of the images of the pros on Instagram with on point balance that makes you feel calm, happy or tensed.
Mind your words
There is science in typography. When you pick the right font to add to your image, it all just comes together. Some brands have patented their fonts, but if you are not as big a company as Coca-Cola or Spotify, it’s enough that you choose the perfect set of fonts.
The serif- and sans-serif are a good start because they are simple, neutral, timeless and readable. Readability is one of the most important visual best practices to remember on social media because at the end of the day, you want your consumers to be able to understand what you’re trying to say. Don’t make people guess and don’t give them a hard time.
Whatever font you choose, it is best to keep your choices to three typefaces and make sure your sizing is appropriate.
Simplify complex data
Typography really matters when making infographics. This is the visual content that companies usually go for when trying to explain complex data or information, especially on Facebook, where users just scan content and stop for a few seconds if they find something interesting. Wordy content will not stand a chance.
When creating infographics don’t make them long and complicated one. Focus on just two to three key statistics and make them stand out. Use images when necessary. Charts are also a good way to convey serious information, but make sure you don’t complicate it by adding too many lines or points. When your infographics or charts are able to simplify important and complex information, increased social engagement will surely follow.
Create a flow
All the social media tips for visual content — colors, lines, contrast, balance, typography — do not mean anything if your audience cannot follow you. In social media, the human eye is gravely distracted, that is why it is important to have direction, like flow or pattern.
People tend to read in an “F”, “E”, and sometimes “Z” pattern. The F and E patterns are most common because readers typically scan horizontally less and less as their eyes move downwards. This means you should have eye-catching elements on the left side of your visual content in order to catch their attention. The leading image on a page is also where the eyes tend to land first.
Feature image: viscous-speed via Pixabay