In the past few years, more and more brands have joined the social media obsession upon realizing its value as a marketing platform for small businesses. According to an article on TechCrunch.com, over 30 million small businesses have active pages on Facebook. Business owners see that their target audience members can easily be reached on these social networks where consumers are already spending a lot of time. But in order to create effective advertising campaigns on these quickly moving platforms, there’s one very important thing for marketers to keep in mind: visual branding is a must.
Why is visual branding so important you ask? The answer can be boiled down to a few simple ideas; with so many companies active on social media, brands need to find ways to:
You have the power to accomplish these things by deliberately choosing images to incorporate into your social media campaigns that have strong visual traits. Below you’ll find four traits you should include to strengthen your branded presence online.
What colors do you think of when you think about McDonald’s? Red and yellow perhaps? What about Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups? Probably orange, yellow and brown. And then what about Google? Blue, red, yellow and green most likely.
Can I read minds? Not exactly, but I probably have formed the same links as you between certain brands and colors. These companies have done a great job of visually branding by forcing people to create unique associations in their head between the name of the brand and the colors they see. These colors are usually incorporated into a brand logo as well as the product packaging and advertisements for the brand.
Establishing your color palette is the first step to achieving consistent visual branding across social media platforms. Every image that is part of the same campaign ought to include similar colors to reinforce the brand experience. One brand that comes to mind when I think of visual consistency is Heart on a String. A majority of the pictures the owner posts on the company Facebook page featuring the knitted and crocheted creations uses a plain, single colored background to focus attention on the pops of color in the yarn.
Remember that your color palette is a unique and notable aspect of your company, so show it off as much as you can to help nurture a brand persona.
Fonts act as visual cues to convey emotion and set a tone, which is why selecting the perfect font style for your brand is an important decision to make. The emotions set forth by the font in your marketing materials will translate to your social media followers, directing them to form unique (and hopefully positive) associations between their feelings and your brand. Some fonts feel more feminine and girly, usually when the letters are more curly, loopy and bubbly.
Other fonts have a more masculine look to them, especially when the serifs are more straight like in the font below.
The Dollar Shave Club did a great job of picking a font that is a little bit manly but still inviting to women, which is good because the brand strives to attract both male and female consumers.
Some fonts might feel more childish and work well for a brand that develops products or services intended for children. The reason I didn’t say a childish font would be used by brands whose target audience is children is because often times a brand’s target audience is actually moms or parents since they’re the ones who buy the items for their children. Remember who your target is!
Another visual trait to keep in mind when selecting and creating images for your social media accounts is the layout of the elements in the image, or the template. Place elements of the photo in specific places and stay consistent with each new post. Not only does it help to build your brand visually on social media, but it is also a more time efficient way to create images for a social media campaign. Instead of spending extra time coming up with a new, creative way to design a picture, use the same one over and over again.
We designed a specific template to use for promoting new websites we’ve built and launched as you can see from the examples below.
Notice how each image features a different model and a different website, but the overall look based on the template, colors and fonts gives a sense of unity to the ads and clearly represent a single brand.
The final of the four traits that will help you visually brand your business on social media is practicing consistent imagery. While fonts, colors and templates all add to the imagery, the imagery we’re referring to here is about how the photo looks overall. The easiest way to achieve steady imagery across your photos is to use the same filters.
Notice how the three images above all show the same thing, but give off different vibes based on the filter used. When you use the same filters on all of your photos in a campaign, it brings them together to reinforce the brand identity.
The photos shown above were all edited using filters on Instagram, but there are many other free photo editing resources available online that you can use to give your social media photos a consistent look.
Now that you know how to visually brand your images, it’s time to put your knowledge to work. Millions of brands across the globe are already using social media as a marketing tool, but if you want your campaigns to stick out from the surrounding ads, be sure to apply visual branding tactics.
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