How to Design Visuals for Your Social Media Campaign
As a graphic designer for Simply Measured—really, any tech company—creating customized images to promote and post on social is the bread and butter. I optimize, re-format, and repurpose images based on specific network parameters and audience, all while keeping a consistent, on-brand look and feel.
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In this post, I’ll take you through my design approach for a cohesive look across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn ads, as well as additional collateral, like contests and infographics. Let’s use Simply Measured’s 2016 holiday campaign as an example!
Step 1: Nailing Down the Concept and Design
Once our team develops the overall concept and messaging, I start creating the individual graphic elements and typography. For this campaign, the main message was centered around “family,” and bringing all of us working in the digital marketing space together.
For me, this meant simple, bold and bright graphics to convey a techy-pixel vibe, as well as incorporating a “family tree” of familiar digital icons.
Step 2: Optimizing for Social Networks
I begin with the Twitter image first, mostly because of its horizontal orientation, making it easier to apply across a variety of channels.
For the #DigitalFam Twitter image, I had to adjust the “icon tree” branches in order to fit the horizontal layout better, and place the headline on the left so the text could be larger. If there’s a need for a CTA, I’ll also have to create a button that is centrally aligned due to auto-cropping that can happen in the feed.
We also created a series of holiday-themed “stickers” with social media–related tongue-in-cheek quotes. I treated these as individual designs that related directly to the quote subject and/or the specific social network as much as possible. As you see below, the same bold, bright colors from the icon tree are there, but this time I introduced a playful font to reinforce the humor a bit.
If it fits within the campaign strategy, I’ll create a Facebook ad. Facebook has an Image Text Rating system limiting the amount of text in an image, so I have to resize and test the image until I receive the “OK” rating.
Sometimes I reach out to our content producer to shorten or change the headline.
Instagram is just a matter of reformatting the image to fit within a square. I usually minimize the headline text as much as I can since Instagram is the most visual-based network–it needs to be an eye-catching and quick read.
Advertising on LinkedIn is a different beast. For this particular campaign, it didn’t make sense to use LinkedIn, but for all intents and purposes I’ll demonstrate the adjustments that I make to these ads.
With LinkedIn’s simple interface design, “humanizing” ads stand out more than simple icons and flat colors. I change the background of our campaign images to include a photo with people for LinkedIn. I then place a subtle overlay to soften for the headline text and CTA button.
Here is an example of how I would optimize the LinkedIn ad for this campaign:
Step 3: Building Additional Collateral
Contests and Interactive Images
To drive more engagement, we asked people to submit a photo on Twitter and/or Instagram using the #DigitalFam hashtag for a chance to win a Simply Measured swag bag.
It’s important when creating collateral materials to tie in some of the original design elements, so viewers can easily recognize that it’s an extension of the same campaign.
Here I used the same fonts, pixel background, and bright colors within the original “digital icon tree” illustration, along with new graphics in a similar style to illustrate the action of taking photos.
We also included a to-do list as a bonus action item for digital marketing teams to complete. My design approach for this piece was to repurpose some of the original icons into ornaments to further emphasize the holiday theme. I used a dark blue winter background to differentiate from the main campaign images in order to avoid designs repetition.
— Simply Measured (@simplymeasured) December 17, 2016
Finally, I designed an infographic for the Simply Measured blog with some high-level statistics of how the social media industry has grown. The concept for this piece was to illustrate the statistics within the frame of a house to reiterate the message that the digital family is “under one roof.”
To tie it all together, I brought back the original icon tree look with new icons related to each unique statistic, then placed the image in a winter environment similar to the to-do list graphic.
Want more ideas on how to come up with creative, visually compelling campaigns on social? Download our guide below!