It can be frustrating and time-consuming creating on-brand social or marketing graphics. It’s all too easy to lose track of time fiddling and not get the results you want; your time is valuable and should be used as effectively as possible.
If you’re a business owner who is too busy or lacks the know-how or desire to create your own marketing visuals, outsourcing your social media is a viable solution. However, in order for your freelancer or VA to perform a good job, you’ll need to be able to brief them on both your brand strategy and visual brand identity, which can be difficult because many entrepreneurs are confused about both.
So, whether you’re doing it yourself or hiring someone else to do it for you, here are a few pointers to get you started.
1 Brand strategy
Your visual brand identity should be influenced by your brand strategy. Your graphics should ooze your personality, appeal to your ideal customers and reflect what you offer. If you haven’t put the groundwork in and nailed your brand roots, it’s time to get to work! Read about what is a brand and why do I need one here.
2 Complete a visual brand audit
Collect samples of all your current digital and printed marketing collateral and check if they all accurately represent you and feel consistent. Look at your Instagram grid; does it give you the right brand vibe? Before you start working on new graphics, look for anything that feels out of sync and bring everything into alignment.
3 Check your fonts
An easy trap to fall into is to use a pick and mix of fonts across different platforms. Choose two or three which accurately represent your brand and stick with those. Google fonts are free to download and can be used for both commercial and personal use. They can be found across most platforms and can be easily shared with others.
Check that the colours you are using in your graphics match your brand colour palette. Your brand colours should reflect your personality, what you offer and appeal to your ideal audience. They are part of what helps you create a mood for your visuals. Make sure you’ve nailed the exact colour recipes you need (e.g. #234567) and stick to them. Read more about colours here.
Incorporating brand colours into your images will help your graphics feel consistent and on-brand. Think about props such as mugs, notepads, clothes and accessories. Also be mindful that the lighting, subject, quality and mood matches the feel and vibe you want your brand to display. Be careful not to break copyright rules so check the fine print whenever you source images from search engines or digital platforms.
Your graphics need to have space to breathe within the overall shape of your design. Avoid taking fonts too close to the edges and watch out for tight spaces in your placement of text, images and icons. Making space in your design will make the graphic easier to read and look more professional.
Focus on the purpose of your graphic and take away anything you don’t need. Keeping your design simple makes it easier for your audience’s brains to understand what you’re trying to communicate. If you have a big library of visual brand assets, don’t feel like you need to use everything at once. Less is more.
8 Consider the visual hierarchy
In every graphic there will be some elements which hold more importance than other; for example, headings are larger than subheadings which are in turn larger than a box of text. This helps the viewer see what you want them to see first and creates a flow through the design for the eye to follow. If you have a call to action, make this pop out using a contrasting colour.
9 Think of your graphics as a whole
If you’re a big Instagram user consider bulk creating your graphics in advance so you can see how they work together in a grid. Use simple graphics or images to break up more detailed ones to allow your grid room to breathe. TIP: If you’re a Canva user, create a new design which is 3240 x 3240px, add a 9×9 square grid, and drop your social graphics into the squares. Play with the order until you get the right balance.
10 Create templates
To ensure a consistent visual look as you move forward create a set of templates which cover the topics you want to communicate such as quotes, testimonials, sale, top tips and different content. Use these templates every time to need a new graphic. Not only will they save you time but will also maintain the look you want.
If you’re outsourcing your graphics, make sure you share your brand style guide to ensure that everything created stays in line with your brand vibe. Include some examples of graphics you’ve made yourself or others you like to help communicate what you need. Ask to see concepts first and be honest and open about your feedback. Communication is key; no one knows your brand as well as you do.
If creating your graphics still feels overwhelming, or you need templates created to use yourself or to give to your VA then this is where Jill can step in and take the pain away! Book a free discovery call here.