How To: Great Social Media Graphics
Social Media Graphics, More Than Meets the Eye
It’s social media’s season! Between end-of-school year parties, proms, graduations, and weddings, everyone has something to share. Of course there are great pictures on Instagram, that’s the foundation of the site, right? But every social media channel has photo sharing capabilities—even 140 character Twitter.
I attended a social media event last year where a speaker scrolled through his Facebook feed in real time. We saw his friend’s kids, a vacation, some lunches, and a couple of ads. The speaker made the point that in social media, our competition isn’t just other businesses, it’s our customer’s friends and loved ones—and lunch
With all that competition, the task of creating graphics that will grab the reader’s attention is a real challenge. I’m here to help you do it right.
It might seem that just plunking in a picture from your phone or online content might be enough, but, sorry, it’s not. Just as social media isn’t one-size-fits-all, neither are social media graphics.
As a business, you have to establish the goal in posting your picture. Are you sharing information? Lucky for you, infographics do well on business pages. Talking about your employee of the month? A photograph taken with a smartphone or digital camera can be used by someone who knows what they are doing.
Be careful here, however. If you are trying to promote the new sign on your business, be sure that the picture makes the sign stand out. For example:
As someone who “plays” on social media all day, I have a hard time keeping straight what image sizes go where. Inevitably I look for a helpful social media channel image guide to help me stay up to date. This year I am using this one from MarTech. I usually end up printing these for the office—one for me and one for the graphic designer I work with. Knowing your general guidelines for each social media platform will help you take multiple pictures that can be posted to each site as needed to meet the basic size guidelines or one picture that can be edited to fit. Again, remember to think about the story the picture tells and get that in the image. You’re only going to have a few seconds before Cathy Consumer is scrolling past your image to look at her sorority sister’s new baby.
The Rules of Engagement
Depending on the platform you’re posting your images to, there are different rules you need to follow. Here is a list of what you can post per social media channel and what you can’t:
Everyone knows that the character limit is 140 characters—spaces and hashtags (#) included. You can also upload a photo using the dimensions shared in the image guide linked above.
They say a picture is worth 1,000 words so thankfully the character limit on Facebook is much longer—but do not get carried away. The guidelines for posting to Facebook say to use minimal text and if you are promoting your posts, the guidelines become rules. More good news, you can post multiple pictures in a carousel in the same post.
Instagram is a sticky wicket. The square sharing site does not allow more than 20% text on your images and no more than 30 #s. Not sure how much text your image has? Use the Text Overlay Tool to see if you’re within the limits. (Note: Facebook owns Instagram so the overlay tool is on Facebook. Bonus, Facebook owns Instagram which makes it easier to integrate one social tool with the other.) Another Instagram rule is that links in your descriptions won’t click through unless you’re using paid ads on the site.
Make it Great
If you’ve taken a great picture or made a great infographic, have fit it within the set size guidelines, and are good to go with the character, hashtag, and text limits, run your image through this one last test: go to your Facebook feed and ask yourself if your image is better than the first 5 posted in your newsfeed. If the answer is yes, post away! If not, back to the drawing boards. Play with your hashtags, reformat your photos (remember the rule of thirds), and try again.
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Renee is the Content Marketing Manager at Sellr. She is passionate about creating digital marketing strategies that help business owners develop successful relationships with customers and vendors.