Social media design is a full-time job. Anyone with a sizable web presence in 2021 will tell you about the hours involved in generating new and meaningful content. National brands build entire departments to create graphics and stories that engage their audience. It can be an even more demanding process for small businesses and individuals without a social media team – if you don’t streamline your design. We’ve put together a quick strategy guide for developing social media graphics to help trim this full-time job down to a manageable part-time responsibility.
Size it right
Ensure your images are sized appropriately for each social platform. Recommended sizing guides are typically provided by the platform’s development team and are easy to locate – just Google search for suggested dimensions for each platform along with the current month and year. Social media platforms change their look regularly, so ensure all information is accurate and up to date for the most recent version of the app.
Social platforms have a type
A preferred file type, that is. JPEG and PNG extensions are best for static images, while GIF/MP4 can be used for frame-based animation and video where possible. Check the FAQ or developer guidelines for recommended file types before exporting your final files. If you’re unsure about whether or not your file type is supported, you can simply try posting the image – if it isn’t supported on that platform, it should notify you that the post cannot be made.
Mind your export
When finalizing your files in creative programs like Photoshop and Illustrator, double-check your export settings to ensure the resulting file is optimized for digital use. Keep file size as small as possible while preserving image quality. For JPEG images, check that Quality is set to at least High (around 80), with a resolution of 72 (standard screens) to 150 DPI (optimal for HD or high-resolution desktop displays). Platforms like Facebook can (and often do) heavily compress images upon upload, so be mindful!
Go easy on text
Unless someone is looking specifically for your content, you only have a split second to captivate your audience as they scroll through their social feed. Greeting them with a flood of text is a surefire way to ensure they just keep scrolling past you. To draw viewers in, focus on impactful, eye-catching imagery in your posts and keep text to a minimum. Keep legibility top of mind when type is present – any number of issues, from font size to choice of typeface, could render text in graphics difficult to read. For reference, the minimum recommended font size on mobile devices is 16 – 18pt.
Take advantage of platform-specific features
Design engaging content with unique social features in mind. Build an Instagram grid for a curated feed, or consider using the image slider to its utmost by splitting up a graphic into two to three separate 1600 x 1600 slides, then uploading it as a single sliding post for a makeshift panoramic view. Don’t forget to reformat posts for use in story feeds when available!
Start big, finish small
Effective design is rooted in a streamlined process. Save yourself time in other projects by designing your initial graphic at full print scale and resolution when possible, then exporting it to a reduced, screen-ready size and resolution. Starting with as large an image as possible allows the design to be easily reformatted or repurposed for other digital or print applications with minimal loss of quality.
If your social feed needs a creative boost to better connect with your audience, call us at 239-690-9840 ext. 1001, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Schedule your free consultation today and work with our team to build a creative strategy designed to succeed.