The Secrets to Creating Amazing Visual Content for Social Media

The Secrets to Creating Amazing Visual Content for Social Media

Visuals sell! Be it static posts of surreal-looking desserts, carousels on fashion, or reels on travel and lifestyles, strong visuals on social media create trends, attract followers, and boost sales.

Why Focus on Aesthetics?

Social media platforms are literally a jungle full of visual and auditory stimuli designed to influence and persuade their audience and stay one with the ongoing trends.

Every influencer, creator, business, or artist is racing to create an online portfolio that best tells their stories and sells their products or services on global platforms.

What Do Visual Contents Do?

Let’s face it, visuals rule the social media world! Stats show that posts with images get way more engagement than text-based ones. And on Instagram, carousel posts are where it’s at, with an engagement rate of 3.15%.

Marketers know what’s up too – 54% say videos are the most valuable type of content for social media marketing. But don’t just take our word for it – consumers love visual content too. So, if you want to keep your followers scrolling, make sure your feed is a feast for the eyes!

Pick the Perfect Palate

Sticking to a particular palate of colors representing the brand helps the creators build their identity on social media platforms. It makes the brands and products instantly recognizable by the followers.

But before you choose your brand’s color palette, consider its relevance to your product characteristics and audience’s preferences. Your colors should align with your brand’s personality and the popularity of those hues among your followers.

Take – SKKN by Kim Kardashian as an example of targeting followers using a specific color palette. Kim’s brand is about beauty and luxury; her Instagram feed perfectly reflects that!

Perfect Palate

She uses a neutral color scheme, with shades of beige, cream, and soft pink, to create a sophisticated and elegant aesthetic that appeals to her followers. The color palette is consistent throughout her feed, making her posts easily recognizable and on-brand.

So, if you’re looking to target your followers with a particular color palette, take a cue from SKKN and keep it chic and classy!

Make Thumbnails Pop

Social media platforms often auto-select the first frame of your video as the thumbnail, but let’s be real, it’s not always the most captivating or informative image to invite followers.

So, take matters into your own hands and manually choose a thumbnail that grabs attention and accurately represents your video’s content.

Whether it’s on IG Reels, TikTok, YouTube, or any other platform, make sure your thumbnail is visually appealing and entices viewers to click and watch!

Sticking to the brand image, So Yummy gives out a mouth-watering vibe from all their thumbnails designed to lure in foodies with an appetite for good food. The brand’s behaviors are also focused through these thumbnails, telling you what to expect from atypical and unique reels.

Thumbnails Pop

Formula to Textual Cues

Spice up your text-based content with some visual flair! Take a cue from the magazine industry and showcase your text-based stories with captivating visuals.

Don’t let a primarily text-based industry hold you back from incorporating visual content into your marketing strategy.

Follow the lead of social media giants like Buzzfeed Tasty, who expertly use text captions on their videos to hook their audience with fascinating tidbits and anecdotes.

Formula to Textual Cues

Visuals Can Talk

Get inspired by popular social media pages like Gary Vaynerchuk on LinkedIn or, Xbox on Instagram who use minimal text on their pictures and videos to make their reels pop.

Visuals Can Talk

By keeping it simple, you’ll ensure your visual content captures the viewer’s attention and communicates your message effectively. Remember, less is more!

Visuals Can Talk

Power of HQ Visuals

To cut through the noise in today’s fast-paced digital world, brands need to make an impact. One surefire way to do that is by using high-quality photos and videos that captivate your target audience.

Power of HQ Visuals

To cut through the noise in today’s fast-paced digital world, brands need to make an impact. One surefire way to do that is by using high-quality photos and videos that captivate your target audience.

Check out popular social media pages like Nike on Instagram or Coca-Cola on Facebook, which use stunning visuals to promote their brand and products.

Or take a cue from Huda Beauty, who showcase the effectiveness of their mattifying products through high-quality photos.

Don’t have the resources to take your own photos? Stock image websites offer a vast selection of high-quality photos that you can use to create eye-catching visual content.

Understand Image Copyright

While you should focus on creating visually striking content that resonates with your social media audience, it’s also important to understand image copyright.

Misusing images can have severe legal consequences, so always review the fine print when using stock photos, templates, or illustrations.

For example, Airbnb frequently uses user-generated content on its Instagram page but always gives credit to the original poster in the caption. This not only ensures that they are using the content legally but also helps build a sense of community and trust with their followers.

Image Copyright

Similarly, on LinkedIn, companies like IBM and Microsoft often use graphics and visual content in their posts, but make sure to credit the source and provide proper attribution. This not only shows respect for the original creator but also demonstrates a commitment to ethical and professional standards.

In short, respecting image copyright and giving credit where credit is due is essential for creating visual content that is both impactful and legally compliant.

Brand Your Logo

Brand Your Logo

Brand it or lose it! Add your logo(when necessary) strategically to visuals that you plan to share. A small logo in the corner or outer frame can help reinforce your brand and prevent your content from being forgotten or misattributed.

Subtle branding tends to perform better, so consider a greyscale or neutral version that won’t clash with your visuals.

National Geographic is a great example of effective logo placement with their iconic yellow rectangle appearing in almost all their posts.

 effective logo placement

Brands such as Nike, Ikea, Mc Donald’s also incorporate their logo in most of their Pinterest pins, helping them get tens of thousands of reshares.

Don’t forget, good branding is all about being noticed without being obtrusive!

Size to Specification

Avoid committing a visual faux pas by using the right image size on social media. Poor aspect ratios and low resolutions can damage your brand’s reputation.

You can avoid this by sticking to each platform’s specifications and using our social media image size guide. High-quality images are a must, including proper pixel count and resolution.

For example, the fashion brand Zara consistently uses high-quality images with the correct aspect ratio on its Instagram account. Their photos showcase their products beautifully, and the visuals are always clear and appealing to the eye.

correct aspect ratio on Instagram account

Keep in mind the ratios too, as some platforms automatically crop previews based on this. So, make sure to use the right aspect ratio to prevent unwanted cropping and loss of important information while cropping.

Start Videos with A Hook

Capture your audience’s attention right from the start with an engaging hook in your videos for all social media platforms. Take a cue from fashion influencers on Instagram, who often begin their videos with an eye-catching outfit reveal or a dramatic entrance.

For Facebook and YouTube, check out vloggers who start their videos with a surprising fact or shocking statement to draw in viewers. And on LinkedIn, business leaders can begin with a thought-provoking question or a glimpse into their day-to-day work.

A good example of a brand that uses engaging visuals with hooks in its social media videos is Red Bull. Their videos often start with adrenaline-fueled stunts and action shots that immediately capture the viewer’s attention and keep them engaged throughout the video.

For instance, their video “Danny MacAskill’s Imaginate” starts with a breathtaking shot of a biker on a rooftop, and then follows him through a series of incredible stunts and tricks. By starting their videos with a hook, Red Bull is able to create a strong connection with their audience and keep them coming back for more.

Start Videos with A Hook

Use Free Tools & Apps

One way to get visually stunning content is by hiring a professional photographer or graphic designer, but if your budget is tight, there are plenty of free tools and resources available that can help you achieve that!

Take advantage of social media management platforms like Hootsuite, which has Canva integrated into its dashboard. This means you can access Canva’s extensive template library without ever leaving Hootsuite Composer.

Simply click on the purple Canva icon, select the type of visual you want to create and start designing!

Use Free Tools & Apps

Include alt-text in your videos and gain a loyal fan-following by creating visually accessible content that caters to a diverse audience.

This includes incorporating alt-text descriptions for visually impaired viewers and providing subtitles for all videos to aid hearing-impaired and non-native language speakers.

Descriptive transcripts are also useful for conveying non-spoken sounds and sights.

alt-text descriptions

Pay Attention to Trends

Being trendy is important to be relevant on social media and engage your audience. Whether it’s the latest trends on TikTok or the latest Instagram feature, keeping an eye on trends can help you create timely content which is the ultimate recipe for becoming viral.

Here are Social Media platforms that were able to take the internet by storm with trends:

  • Instagram Trends
  • Twitter Trend
  • TikTok Trends
  • Facebook Trends

However, posting at the right time is just as critical as creating great content. With billions of social media users worldwide, posting at peak times can maximize your visibility and ensure your content doesn’t go unnoticed.

Use Hootsuite’s scheduling tool and our guide on the best times to post on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and LinkedIn to streamline your posting process and reach your audience when they’re most active.

Pay Attention to Trends

Be Mindful of Representation

Are you representing diverse voices in your visuals for social media? Think about whether your images reinforce stereotypes or promote inclusivity, and factor in your audience demographics when creating your content.

It’s not just socially responsible, it’s smart marketing. If possible, diversify your team and seek feedback from a range of perspectives.

Mindful of Representation

Check out these inclusive stock photo libraries for inspiration, Refinery29, and Getty Images. There are thousands of libraries available for you to choose from on the internet. So you can choose according to your interest.

Conclusion

Visual content is key to catching people’s attention on social media, as the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text. To create effective visual content, follow these tips and optimize your social media pages for SEO to engage your audience, drive leads to your website, and guide them through the customer journey.

Tazim Ul Mulk

Tazim Ul Mulk

As a fervent writer and an enthusiast in the beauty of imagery, I wish to show the world the true meaning behind each image.