social media design tips
10 minutes read

Social media posts are now, more than ever, very important hooks in a marketing campaign.

It is a fact that all these platforms are more than ever part of a market that brands want to explore. But the market is changing rapidly, thus making it hard for companies to adapt with ease. 

The competition is getting stronger, the market is getting wider, so brands need to step up their game. So let’s get straight to the point and go through the ten design tips to keep in mind while creating your social media posts. 

1. S-t-r-a-t-e-g-y 

Before you start thinking about how your social media posts should look, you should think about your marketing strategy. Define your positioning, brand story, and purpose.

All of your social media content, and not only, should reflect your strategy. Every marketing activity, such as seasonal campaigns, email campaigns, social media posts, and so on, should reflect & be in coherence with your strategy. The basis of strategizing relies on positioning. There are four big types of positioning: leadership, against positioning/competition, new category/attribute, and niche positioning.  

  1. The leadership positioning refers to a “number one” type of attitude. Most brands that adopt this type of strategy/positioning refer to themselves as the number one, the first, the original, and so on. This type of positioning lets the audience know that a higher price is expected.
  2. The against positioning refers directly to a type of strategy that makes a reference to the brand’s direct competitor/s. This type of positioning usually includes the name of the competitor’s brand in their positioning statement. If that’s not the case, the expression “compared to other similar brands” will probably show up.
  3. The new category positioning refers to a revolutionary characteristic that the product has. This implies, of course, that no other similar brand has it (at least not yet). The most classic example in this case is Volkswagen and their famous minivan. Right before that happened, there was nothing similar to it. Think about Dove and their cream shower gel. A totally new category of products that combined shower gels and moisturizing creme in one product.
  4. The niche positioning is, as the name suggests, the type of strategy that admits or calls for the audience it refers to. This strategy shouts out loud that the product is not for everybody. By buying a product that adopts this kind of strategy, you automatically admit that you are part of a certain community/group of people similar to a certain area of interest. Old Spice addresses the manliest men alive, while York sustains that “it’s not for girls.”

Grab a pen and a paper and choose a direction, a path, a strategy. After you’ve done that, you can think about starting your strategy for your social media campaign. How? Start by keeping in mind the next criteria points that we will discuss below.

2. Choosing the Right Channels

Before you decide on a certain or multiple social media channels, you should ask yourself a very simple question. What platforms does my audience use?

Think about it, if you have an audience that doesn’t use Instagram and still make efforts in that area, that is just wasted time and work. There are two easy ways of finding out which social media channels you should go for.

1. Buyer persona

The first one would be conducting a buyer persona survey. This survey will help you know your audience a little more in-depth. You will be able to get to know them a bit more on a personal level like: knowing what a regular day looks like for them, what publications they follow, how do they define success, what are their fears and goal and most importantly for our case, what social media channels are they using.

2. Social media analysis tools

You can use certain social media tools to find out which channels are worth keeping. A quick analysis in Sprout Social will help you decide which platforms are worth keeping, considering you are already active on multiple platforms.

If that’s not the case and you’re new to this social media thing, take a look at Pew Research Center. This tool will give you an idea about the channels that your potential audience is using, according to specific demographics given.

Every social media platform comes with certain requirements, such as size images, specifications, and types of photos. I’m sure you’ve all heard of carousel images, profile pictures, stories, and more.

Instagram Story Audience Targeting

Establish the social media channels you want to be present on and do a little research regarding all these. Meanwhile, check out a few size specifications for the most popular platforms in one of our previous articles about social media ad sizes.

After choosing the right platforms for your brand and audience, you have to know that there are certain specific types of posts for each individual social media channel. Think about the famous Stories feature, made famous by Instagram and further adopted by Facebook as well, after its major success.

On the other hand, Facebook has its famous carousel ad type of display. The carousel allows brands to show multiple images in a slideshow kind of display. Those slides are eventually linked with certain pages or part of the website, ultimately gaining up to 10 times more traffic.

Before posting on any social media channel, consider its specifics (like the ones exemplified before) in order to make the best of it. All of this, considering you already narrowed down your platforms according to your audience.

3. Color Palettes

Trend Alert: Bright color schemes are the new black. These modern gradients allow you to blend colors with ease while having a vibrant impact. Go for supersaturation, reproducing richer colors as a statement for unconventional.

Go in-depth with the meaning of your color scheme. Each color that you choose triggers emotion from the consumer. Colors and shades set a certain atmosphere. So, keep an overall brand image color palette and blend them in different combinations.

color scheme palette for social media

Besides, your social media graphic design can be spiced up by contrast. With an accurate balance between lightness and darkness, you will have the possibility to play with nuances. If you’re unsure what colors would work best for you, check out 30 examples of color combinations and read more about the best color palettes in our previous article.  

Trend alert: Experiment with minimalism and asymmetry. However, since minimalism means less is more, you need to consider adding an attention grabber. Whether it’s a pop of color or asymmetry, your design must be effortlessly sophisticated.

asimetric design social media post

4. Graphic Elements

I know what you must be thinking. Shapes, lines, illustrations, or any other geometric assets are so 2000 and late. Well, I’m here to tell you they’re not.

The real reason for using these visual tricks is to guide the eye. Structuring your social media pictures is way easier if you do it the right way. Use arrows, boxes, or shapes to pinpoint the most important information. If not that, you can use them to guide the eye in the right direction of your banner’s story. Take a look at Intercom’s Instagram page.

graphic elements in social media visuals

5. Coherence. Good Vibes Only

You know how people say, “That is so you!” It’s actually because each individual has their own personality, and according to that. We are acting a certain way, have certain opinions and values. Thus, our behavior will turn out to be very much alike in similar situations.

Alright, now back to our piece of cake. Your social media page should have a personality. Now, this personality should be reflected by all the components of a brand profile. Design, types of posts, frequency, descriptions, hashtags, colors, etc.

starbucks profile coherence

Imagine your social media banners like your personal daily outfits. They are a small part of you and reflect your overall style. When it comes to social media posts, the reaction you’re going for is a “stop scrolling” type of thing. All of your visual materials should be in coherence with each other, and in time, your brand’s personality should be contoured better and better.

6. Texterity. Or How to Master Copy

Text is no longer a separate section of your banner ad but tends to be part of the design itself.

Trend Alert: Use text as an overlay or even overlap your copy in order to create that magnetizing drawing in effect. Go BIG and go bold.

When it comes to the most popular fonts of the year, we have two major trends for you. Ironically or not, these two trends situate themselves at opposite ends of the spectrum. The first one is geometric fonts, while the second one (if you didn’t figure it out yet) is handwritten fonts.

For the first category of fonts, we have to mention that they are mostly characterized by the complete absence of serifs while being influenced, well, by geometry, clear straight lines, shapes triangles, circles) and more. The major and most important advantage that you’ll get by using this kind of font, besides being in style, is clearness. Your social media marketing images will be easy to spot and understand, even in a quick glance.

The second category includes handwritten fonts. They can be extremely representative and distinct. Like our personal handwriting, this font says a lot about your brand or product. These fonts can say a lot about you, especially since they are less formal, charming, and seems more casual. However, keep in mind that the fonts that you’re using should reflect the same style. You can’t allow yourself to play tic-tac-toe with your fonts, or else you’ll confuse your audience. 

7. The Count of CONTENT

Speaking of brand personality, the content needs to reflect your brand’s character as well. Certain visual elements can make your content more representative. For that, it’s essential to point out custom illustrations.

Trend alert: Custom illustrations follow your brand’s mantra while being friendly at the same time. Put your bets on a perfectly tailored and in sync imagery copy.

illustrations social media cover

8. Format

Social media visuals are setting the bar really high. These platforms not only allow you to integrate classic visual formats such as JPG, JPEG & PNG, but they also have allowed formats such as MP4 & GIF.

Trend alert: Add movement to your social media graphics. Go the extra mile and make videos or GIFs, be your profile or cover picture. Your social media marketing images will now have an interaction attribute. Not sure about it? Take a look at Narcos.

narcos video social media cover

Moreover, there’s no need to stop there. Embedding links is not that out of the ordinary anymore. Think about adopting new approaches, such as posting a GIF instead of a classic profile image or posting a shot animated banner as your cover.  

9. A/B Testing

Whether you’re considering any of the suggestions above or not, think about telling your brand story. That is the most important thing of them all. I’m sure you’ve all heard of A/B testing. Before you determine your social media design style, you need to test different approaches and see what works best for you. Test distinct techniques, color combinations, concepts, and methods of execution until you slowly study your audience’s reaction.

Take a look at Ikea’s tweets to see what we’re talking about.

Version A:

ikea ab testing social media

Version B:

ikea social media ab testing

These two social media post versions use the same visual, only it’s framed differently. You can easily achieve this using an image cropper like the one in Creatopy. It will help you identify which image composition has a bigger visual impact and resonates best with your audience.

It might be hard to believe that experimenting with something as simple as cropping can lead to different engagement rates, but it happens more often than you think.

Don’t fall for the “I know what these kinds of people want” type of line, but test for yourself until you’re happy with the results. Marketing isn’t marketing when it’s based on assumptions but on facts and experience. Don’t panic; it takes time to create that scroll-stop effect we’re all looking to obtain. But practice makes perfect, so keep on trying.

10. Ease Your Work With Creatopy

You probably already think this is too much information, so this extra tip is actually the most important one. If you’re getting a little overwhelmed by this, we’re here to tell you that Creatopy is your secret weapon in this social media posts battle for engagement and conversions. Having said all this, here’s how Creatopy’s amazing features can help you out.

Sizes. We have preset sizes for all major social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and more. Create social media visuals without worrying about sizes. From stories to headers, thumbnails, ads, or covers, we have them all.

Content. Take advantage of all of our awesome fonts. Personalize fonts by changing their color, size, line height, letter spacing, boldness, and so on. If you still don’t find anything suitable for your brand, feel free to upload your own font and save it in your brand kit, along with other assets.

Images and templates. Tons of high-quality stock photos are waiting for you and thousands of social media design templates to start from. Choose one of our professional images or get started with a template from domains like fashion, lifestyle, education, health, sports, automotive, holidays & events, ecommerce, food, real estate, travel, software, and more.

Format. You have unlimited options when it comes to exporting your social media visual assets.  

Easy-to-use editor. A cloud-based professional banner maker that helps you create any type of social media visual (and not only) in a matter of minutes. No coding or design skills needed. Take a look at our free social media templates pack you need to take off.

Need we say more? Now that we’ve shared our little secret tips and trends to consider with you, it’s high time you tell us yours. Feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comments below. Stay tuned for more industry goodies are coming your way.

Illustration by Anita Molnar

Creative copywriter by day and rock singer by night.


    1. I came to your site and have analyzed your post. There are excellent details you posted here. I enjoyed reading your blog, and it is both instructional and enjoyable.

    2. lovely marketing tip that you share with us.
      Can you provide more information about marketing ?

    3. Hi, Raja! I’m glad you enjoyed it. There are more great articles to come, so stay tuned!

    4. Hi, Hasan! Keep an eye on our blog for more marketing tips and tricks. Thanks for reading!

    5. Thanks for all the great ideas! I have found motivational quotes to be very helpful. Thanks.

    6. Thank you, Ideas that Work! I’m glad you found this piece inspirational. Stay tuned for more!

    7. I really like the idea of using Social Media platforms I think I’m gonna try this. Also I liked the free templates for social media I will learn more from it.

    8. Hi Claudia
      I really loved to read your article on creative social media posts design. So informative and insightful post. Thanks for sharing. Keep it up.

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