Written by Anthony Del Gigante
Social media offers brands a huge design opportunity. The ways that users engage with social media platforms and the functionality that’s available for incorporating content on social channels are constantly evolving, which opens the door for exciting new design formats. The fact that social media changes so quickly, however, does present unique challenges for brands. Making a mistake when designing your social media channels can be a huge turnoff to consumers and can quickly decrease consumer engagement.
So, what design mistakes are most likely to annoy consumers and detract from your social media presence? Our social media and design experts here at MDG Advertising have identified seven social media design pitfalls you need to steer clear of:
1. Failing to Optimize Image Size and Resolution
The size and resolution requirements for images and other design elements vary among the different social media platforms. Size and resolution guidelines can also differ based on the type of content and user experience that you’re trying to create. Failing to take the time to research the proper formatting requirements when creating your social media channels and content can result in your content not displaying correctly, which is an immediate signal to your audience that you don’t pay attention to details.
2. Neglecting to Adapt Content for Mobile Devices
Brands can no longer afford to create and design content simply based on what looks good on a laptop or desktop. In a world where practically everyone has a smartphone and/or a tablet, an increasing number of consumers are viewing social media content on small mobile screens. A recent survey found that 96% of Facebook users accessed it on a mobile device versus just 25% who used a desktop or laptop computer. Brands must ensure that their images, graphics, and other design elements scale down for viewing on smaller screens. BuzzFeed is an example of a company that has effectively optimized its icons, backgrounds, and other design elements for viewing on mobile screens.
3. Using Overly Complicated Designs
When designing website and social media content, it’s easy to use too many bells and whistles. To avoid getting lost among the competition or appearing too cluttered and busy on a small screen, brands should focus on creating clean, easily recognizable visuals. Cosmetic entrepreneur and social media influencer Kylie Jenner has used this approach to build a cosmetics company worth millions in a few short years. When creating her social media content, Jenner takes a minimalistic approach, using plain backgrounds and simple imagery.
4. Overdoing It with Fonts
Fonts obviously play an important role in design. But, using too many fonts or fonts that are inconsistent with each other or your brand can cause confusion for your consumer. An effective design uses a few cohesive fonts to create emphasis or convey importance. When used effectively and consistently, such as with tech giant Apple, a company’s typography can become an integral part of its branding.
5. Using Too Many Stock Images
Utilizing stock imagery can be a tremendous time and money-saver when designing online and social media content. The downside is that the consumer may have seen the exact same image a hundred different places on the Internet—possibly even on your competitor’s website. We aren’t saying that brands should never use stock images, but they should be sure that their images are as unique as possible by making uncommon choices or customizing the images using overlays or filters.
6. Blasting the Same Content Across All Social Media Channels
Posting the identical content across all of your social media channels fails to consider the differences in feed displays, user behavior, and the design requirements of each platform. Creating consistent yet unique versions of your content tailored to each platform ensures that your information appears fresh and relevant, and can help to increase consumer engagement.
7. Failing to Create Visual Consistency
Each social media post should feel distinct. However, there needs to be visual consistency to create a solid brand identity. This can be accomplished by using a few key design elements and themes throughout your posts. For example, sports giant Nike uses its iconic swoosh logo in all of its posts. It also uses images that convey a triumphant tone. The color and positioning of the images may vary, but the tone creates a common thread throughout their posts.
Good social media design depends on the successful blending of both large and small elements. Not only must brands consider fonts, images, and formatting requirements for their social media networks, but they also must remain aware of the variances of each platform and its consumers’ behaviors to ensure that they’ve created a unique and memorable brand identity.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Anthony Del Gigante, Chief Creative Officer at MDG Advertising