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How to Improve Social Media Visuals

Visuals can capture attention, make people stop, resonate emotionally, or make an online viewer think, "This is for me." And by now, everyone should know that every social media post needs an image to stand out.

Like it or not, the visuals you create for social media are just as important as your text or the content to which you link. Social media images are a powerful tool in your marketing arsenal, so make sure you're making the most of them. Here are some tips you can use to improve your images and increase engagement.

1. Support the Message

While it's tempting to use puns, additional messages, or clever headlines in your images, the most compelling images support the message in literal ways. That's because users will see hundreds of messages within a few minutes, so you must make it as easy as possible to understand your message and the intended audience.

So, make sure your graphic, video, or photography supports your intended message. Review your image and ensure it makes your post easier to understand.

2. Embrace Simplicity

Most people look at social media on smartphones, which means the images are quite small. Lots of details make them hard to see, challenging to read, or too complicated to notice.

Think about your social media post as a billboard—people are whizzing by fast, so you have just a few seconds to capture their attention and get them to stop scrolling. So be bold, stay focused, and keep it simple.

3. Be Consistent

Stick to your company's brand theme. Make sure all your social media posts look like they came from the same company. Stick with one or two font styles, stay true to a color scheme, and try to use the same type of images for your posts.

We promise that this consistency will quickly feel stale and repetitive to you as you review your posts over and over, but you are not the user. You are seeing this stuff all day, every day. The end users briefly see your posts buried in other ads and posts, so consistency will allow them to begin recognizing your message. And recognition increases awareness, which increases preference.

4. Use Contrasting Colors

High-contrast colors make your images stand out. In Cup O Content tests, we have found over and over that high-contrast images perform better than prettier, low-contrast graphics or photographs.

5. Account for Color Blindness

About eight percent of men (and less than one percent of women) have some form of colorblindness. So, make sure you're using high-contrast colors for key messages or images. Not sure how to do that? Try this colorblindness image checker to check your images.

6. Use the Right Image Size

Nothing kills your brand credibility faster than a distorted or incorrectly sized image. Some platforms require very specific formats, while others are a little more flexible. Your placement also matters. For example, the images you create for a Facebook newsfeed post should differ from those you use for Facebook Stories.

And to make matters more complicated, these size requirements change regularly. So, keep an eye on image size requirements and check your feeds regularly to ensure everything is populating correctly.

7. Keep It Real

Beautiful photography or gorgeous design doesn't always work for you on social media. In fact, in our side-by-side tests, less polished "real" photos perform much better than pretty stock images.


However, that doesn't mean anything goes. Size your images correctly, avoid using blurry or low-resolution images, and ensure that every image represents your brand and message accurately and professionally.


8. ABO

Always Be Optimizing. No matter what we tell you here, the only way to truly know what works best for your brand is to test images and messages continually. Test different types of images repeatedly and see how each performs over time.


You'll probably discover that some types of images work great on one platform but are a dud on others. That's okay: The goal is to determine which images are most effective in each format so you can build on that to improve performance over time.


Want to Find Out More?


Cup O Content helps clients create customized digital and social media marketing programs to deliver measurable results. Design and graphics are a major component of this kind of marketing. If you'd like us to use our skills to help your company grow, contact us today, and let's start talking.

Want to learn more about social media? Check out these articles.


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