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7 tips to create eye-catching social media content

Follow these basic principles to make your next post stand out.

Tips for eye-catching social media content

When it comes to producing killer social media content, studies show that users are able to process images faster and retain it for longer. In fact, visual content gets 94% more views than posts that only contain text. But not all visual content is equal.

Colour choices, lines, typography, contrast, scale and spacing all have a role in dictating the effectiveness of visual content on social media. Here are seven tips for making your visual content pop.

1. Know your colours


The dominant colour scheme of your social media content has a huge impact on whether or not audiences engage with it. In fact, researchers found that up to 90% of snap judgments made about products online are based on colours. Why? Colours tell a subconscious story, make a strong visual association and leave a lasting impression.

Red often conveys energy and urgency while orange is seen as aggressive. Yellow represents optimism and youth, evoking brighter qualities. Green is associated with wealth and blue is connected to trust and security. As far other shades, black can be seen as powerful while purple can be soothing. Before you send out your next post, consider what message your colour scheme is telling your followers.

2. Stay balanced


It should come as no surprise that human beings are naturally attracted to symmetry, and the proof can be found in our subconscious reaction to imagery. A standard image that’s cropped a little too far to one side may go unnoticed, but also stirs a subconscious discomfort.

At the same time, the imbalance can be used to convey a message, as intentional misalignment is an effective tool for communicating a feeling of disarray or grandeur. An image of David standing in Goliath’s towering shadow, for example, could convey the contrast between the two characters.

3. Walk the line


Whether you notice them or not, lines run through every image you see, be it a photographed portrait, stenciled cartoon or painted landscape. Generally speaking, straight, symmetrical lines convey a sense of order and structure, while curved, asymmetrical lines convey a subconscious sense of disarray and chaos.

4. Flaunt your font


Though the text accompanying social media posts are bound by the platform’s font of choice, there are endless possibilities for the typography contained within an image. Traditionally, serif fonts are best for print while sans serif is used most commonly for the web, but that is not always the case.

Other typographical elements can also dictate the feeling of an image. For example, rounded edges can feel more user-friendly while condensed lettering can convey authority.

5. There’s no such thing as empty space

negative space

While parts of your image may be white they are anything but blank. Negative space can help make the focal point of an image pop or make it feel empty, depending on how the subject is framed.

Increasing the negative or white space surrounding an image can often convey simplicity, while a tight focus with minimal negative space might convey complexity.

6. Size matters


When scrolling through a social media feed, it can be hard to absorb so much information so quickly. If you want a specific word, image or message to resonate or engage users, it’s important to signify its importance by increasing its size.

We typically associate size with importance, meaning that keywords or messages should always enjoy the greatest proportion of space in your post. Just be careful on Facebook Ads, which require you to keep text to a maximum of 20 per cent of the entire image space.

7. Keep it consistent


Visual content on social media is typically more effective over time when it follows its own design patterns consistently. When done properly, users should be able to tell who posted an image just by looking at it, based on thematically consistent choices.

For example, if your social media identity typically uses a certain shade of yellow, coupled with a sans-serif font and strong balance, that pattern should persist throughout your posts to create a consistent and cohesive subconscious feeling.

Up Next: Learn how to share those eye-popping posts with a much wider audience on Facebook.

The beginner’s guide to Facebook Ads for business

Jared Lindzon

Jared Lindzon is a freelance journalist based in Toronto, covering a variety of topics, including technology, careers, entrepreneurship, politics and music. His work regularly appears in major publications in Canada, the United States and around the world, including the Globe and Mail, Fast Company, Fortune Magazine, Rolling Stone, Politico, the Guardian and more.

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