15 Rules For Designing Social Media Images

social media image design tips

Do your social media images need a helping hand.

Are you looking at other peoplex images and wondering, how can I do that?

Here are some tips to help you stand out and be more unique.

Some are practical and some are psychological.

But they will help your social media images stand out and get more attention

1. SOCIAL MEDIA IMAGES ARE USED TO SLAY ZOMBIES

social-media-images-are-used-to-slay-zombies

I keep going on and on about this, but it’s so important.

People turn into zombies when they are on their mobile phone.

They lose their sense of time, where they are and all but the basic brain functions turn off while they surf social media.

I defo do it, and you do it to.

You go into a trance and zone out – it’s what this type of media is designed to do!!

Our job is to recognise this and provide an image that is different to the standard, boring images that people use.

It helps us stand out and be different.

Different always gets noticed.

Getting noticed slaps people in the face and brings them out of the trance long enough to read your post.

And that’s what we are trying to achieve – get their attention in and around the noise of social media

Images are an easy way to do this.

2. USE BIG BLOCKY TEXT IN YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA IMAGES

use big blocky text

Think of what people are doing on social media?

They are zombies flicking thru on habit, bored and looking for a dopamine hit?

If people struggle to read your text because you have used a fucked up font then they will flick past your post.

You will have lost that opportunity to engage with them.

Fonts that require any effort at all to read should be burned in font hell – I hate them.
Use big, chunky, blocky fonts.

Yes they are unsexy, but they are easy to read, and if they are easy to read then people will read them.

0.5 seconds is what it takes for someone to flick past your post.

Don’t have some font that requires effort to be read as people will make an instant unconcious decision that its too much effort to read it.

And they will flick past you quicker than you can blink.

In short – DON’T DO IT.

Go for the unsexy, big, chunky and blocky font.

3. THINK OF THE WAY YOU DISPLAY TEXT – IT HAS A HUGE EFFECT ON THE OUTCOME

THINK OF THE WAY YOU DISPLAY TEXT

Instead of banging your text on your image with little thought.

Take a couple of minutes and split it up so it makes sense and provides the most impact

Are you gonna have it over 2 lines or 3, how much space do you have to play with?

Can you split up the text into mini sentences so each sentence has some impact?

It DOES make a difference and takes very little time to do.

Look at these examples

THINK OF THE WAY YOU DISPLAY TEXT – IT HAS A HUGE EFFECT ON THE OUTCOME

THINK OF THE WAY YOU DISPLAY TEXT
IT HAS A HUGE EFFECT ON THE OUTCOME

THINK OF THE WAY
YOU DISPLAY TEXT
IT HAS A HUGE EFFECT
ON THE OUTCOME

3 different ways, which one feels the most comfortable to read??

4. DON’T USE TOO MUCH TEXT IN YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA IMAGES

dont use too much text

Don’t use too much text

This is a really common mistake.

We are not trying to write a novel, or sell with our images – that is not their job.

It’s not what we need them to do.

It’s so easy to keep adding text so your readers can “understand you better”

The images job is a pattern interrupt plain and simple.

No more and no less.

It’s there to stop people long enough so they come of of their trance and read your post

This is where you can write a novel and sell your stuff, not the image.

Also a huge block of text on an image subconsciously looks like hard work.

On zombie mode the brain does not like hard work so it decides not to read it.

And flicks right past your post and onto something that is easier to do.

Can your readers be fucked to read a pile of words crammed together on an image?

It looks and feels wrong.

I like a max of about 25 words per image.

And this is at a push as well.

Be as concise as you can and remember the image is a pattern interrupt.

It does need text, but be careful you don’t machine gun too much up there.

5. USE CONTRASTING COLOURS IN YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA IMAGES

Use contrasting colours

Contrasting colours help your image and text to stand out.

It should be fairly easy to get this right but all too often I see a palette of wishy washy colours that does not help either the image to stand out or the text stand out from the image.

Someone flicking thru social media has 0.5 seconds before they flick past your post.

If they have trouble seeing all the different aspects then they will flick past and you have lost them.

A great use of contrasting colours is to use a highlight colour to pick out certain words in your images.

Words that your audience relate/aspire or /are used heavily in your niche are great to highlight and realy help to pull your image out of the background noise.

Do some experimenting here to see what works for you and more importantly how your audience react to what you design.

6. MARK YOUR TERRITORY IN YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA IMAGES

Mark your territory

This helps to stop people ripping off your images and passing them off as their own.

It’s so easy to save an image from and blast it up on your social media.

It just so tempting.

If someone does this and you have your website address or social media handle on it atleast you get some benefit out of it.

Think of it like a dog marking its territory to put off other dogs from wandering onto their turf.

Do the same.

Mark your images as yours.

It won’t stop the theft but if it happens (and it will) you will get your deets infornt of a new audience.

I used to put up my social media handles on my images, and it worked well.

But I decided to experiment with putting my website address on.

I never thought it would make a difference, after all I was just marking my territory, right?

Page views went up massively over night and I was able to attribute it to the extra traffic coming social media through google analytics.

Do it, put your web address on your images and keep an eye on your analytics and see how much of a difference it makes.

7. PATTERN INTERRUPTS RULE

PATTERN INTERRUPTS RULE

Pattern interrupts rule

This is the job of a social media image.

It’s a pattern interrupts job, to take people from the unconcious autopilot that is zombie mode and snap them back into fully concious humans that are able to read your post.

We do not need to use images to sell.

We do not need images to tell the full story.

Look at what your competitors are putting out, then do the opposite.

Most people copy the big guys in an industry, the problem with this is everyone ends up looking very similar.

They end up blending into the social media noise.

And it can be very hard to stand out when you camouflage yourself to look the same as everyone else.

It feels scary to be different, we are programmed to follow the crowd and not make waves.

Different seems dangerous.

But different gets attention.

Attention is what we need to allow our audience to find, interact and engage with our posts.

In this case different is good.

It helps your audience find you.

8. BE LAZY – HAVE TEMPLATES YOU CAN CHANGE FOR YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA IMAGES

have templates you can change

There is nothing more soul destroying than staring at a blank screen and waiting for inspiration to strike.

Especially if you have 5 or 6 images to make.

That seems like a whole load of hassle to me and, to be honest, when that happens I start making excuses and fuck off to find something more interesting and less mentally taxing.

Templates are a life saver as 50-60% of the image is prebuilt and just needs text and an interesting pic to make things happen.

You can knock out a lot of images really quickly with templates, it’s so important to designing social media images.

You can go a step further and indetify maybe 4 or 5 parts of your business that could have different templates?

If you are a fitpro – nutrition, technique, mindset, example workouts, transformation pics.

Thats 5 different templates and it also focuses your mind into creating these 5 styles, so when you are writing its easier to get subjects as you have 5 different areas to work on.

Do it, make this one of the first things you do.

Seriously, build the templates today

Cut your workload, make designing your images easier and buy me a pint next time you see me!

9. PEOPLE READ LEFT TO RIGHT – TOP TO BOTTOM

PEOPLE READ LEFT TO RIGHT - TOP TO BOTTOM

In the western world we read from left to right and from top to bottom.

It’s how we have been taught, what we are used to doing and what is comfortable for our brains to process.

ie its fucking easy to do.

Because of this I like to put the important info on the right hand side of all my images with the contact deets (remember – mark your territory) directly below this.

It makes it more comfortable to read and less jarring to look at.

So image is generally on the left – text on the right with contact deets below.

A lot of design is feel.

Does this image feel right or does it feel “off”??

If something feels “off” people are more likely to flick past it and move on to something else.

Sounds airy fairy and nonsense?

Do it.

People glance over your image so fast.

It takes 0.5 seconds for someone to decide to focus on your image or to fuck it off and flick past.

Make it as easy as possible to digest in that 0.5 second?

Or have everything jumbled about all over the place contradictory to how we normally do tbings?

0.5 seconds

Left to right – top to bottom

Give yourself the maximum chance you can for your pattern interrupt to work and stop people to read your post.

10. DESIGN YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA IMAGES AND COOL OFF

design and cool off 2

It’s super easy to get your designs done and blast them up on social media without checking them over.

I do this often………

The problem is when you are designing you get sucked into how the design looks as opposed to trivial things like spelling, punctuation and does the text make sense?

There is nothing worse than some wanker correcting you incorrect use if their/there/they’re – block those fuckers immediately – We must get that sort of wankerism out of the gene pool 😀

Take 5-10 mins away from your screen and go for a walk, have a coffee and let your brain relax.

Go back to your images and quickly check them over.

Is everything spelled ok?
Punctuation good?
Does it make sense?
Does the image feel right?
Is it balanced?

Do this and you should stop 99% of those niggly mistakes that slip through when you are in a rush and you design and post without properly disengaging and checking your images over with a clear head.

11. IF IT’S SHIT, YOU CAN ALWAYS DELETE IT – BE BRAVE

if its shit

There is nothing more likely to stop creativity dead in its tracks than fear.

  • Does this look silly?
  • Is this professional enough?
  • Does it make sense?
  • Is this rubbish?
  • Will this bomb?
  • What of no one likes it?
  • What if I get negative comments?
  • Etc etc etc

Social media half life, the amount of time your posts disappear from your feeds and stop getting likes and comments is really quick.

A few days on facebook? A week on insta and Linkedin?

Especially of you are posting daily.

So if you design something and its shit, which happens to us all.

You have 2 choices – delete it or ignore it and know that in a few days it will have disappeared from your feed and be forgotten about.

I have designed a fuck load of social media images where I have thought that they were brilliant and a kick in to go viral.

They bombed……..life goes on.

Take note of it and either tweak it or don’t do it again?

12. DROP IN A HAND GRENADE EVERY NOW AND THEN

hand grenade

Sometimes your audience can get used to what you are posting.

And your pattern interrupts become less effective.

Or people get bored of your message.

Drop in a hand grenade?

A contentious image/post/language/subject that you know people will get arsy about and comment on?

It takes a little bit of guts to do this but the engagement is phenomenal.

People love to hate and are more likely to comment on something they hate than on something they love.

You don’t have to be a dick about it or do it often either (once a week/twice a month will be more than cover it) but polarising posts and opinions are what social media is built on.

Hand grendes are different to the standard, boring shit that people use.

It helps us stand out and be different.

Different always gets noticed.

Getting noticed slaps people in the face and brings them out of the trance long enough to read your post.

And thats is what we are trying to achieve – get their attention in the noise of social media and hand grenades are a hugley effective way to do this.

13. REPURPOSE YOUR OLD POSTS TO MAKE SOCIAL MEDIA IMAGES QUICKER

REPURPOSE YOUR OLD POSTS

Social media moves quickly and posts are very quickly forgotten about..

Social media half life, the amount of time your posts disappear from your feeds and stop getting likes and comments is really quick.

A few days on facebook? A week on insta and Linkedin?

Especially of you are posting daily.

You will have a lot of posts that are effectively dead and getting very little views and no attention any more.

Posts that have got good engagement, contain good information and that you have spent countless hours crafting and creating.

– Dig them out.

– Pull out blocks of text no more than 25 words long.

– Create templates for these to go on.

– Create an image using the template and the blocks of text you have expanded on.

– Expand upon the image in the post text – don’t have to be a long form post but it needs some words to back it up.

Voila, new content created, from old content.

It is super hard to keep coming up with new topics/ideas/angles on a daily basis.

Especially if you have multippe pages/groups and different social channels.

Infact, it is down right impossible,

Repurpose all your posts, save yourslelf time and heartache in new subject matter (dont stop looking for new subject matter) and use existing ideas and concepts to flesh out your social feeds.

Its super easy, can be made into a system so your VA can handle and keeps the flow of posts coming hard and fast from you.

Without needing too much thought or effort, which often stops people from producing new content.

14. LOOK AT THE SOCIAL MEDIA IMAGES YOUR COMPETITORS ARE PUTTING OUT

LOOK AT THE SOCIAL MEDIA IMAGES YOUR COMPETITORS ARE PUTTING OUT

If your not standing out on social media, you are gona have a hard time separating yourself from your competitors.

Have a look at your competitors social media, do it today and check out the type of images they are using in their social feeds.

It’s more than likely they are using very similar formats if not exactly the same.

What this does this do for them?

Very little is my guess.

They will just blend in with all the noise on social media and find it hard to generate new engagement.

And there are so many posts trying to get your attention.

The best thing you can do for your visibility on social media is………

………the opposite of what your competitors are putting out.

This will help you generate thumbstopping social media images that get you and your business attention.

Don’t blend in, thats social suicide.

Stand out, be different in the way you use images in your social media feeds.

It’s the easiest way to get people reading your posts.

And if people are reading your posts you then have a good shot at educating them, informing them of what you do and selling them your products.

Is that not why we post so much on social media?

15. USE CAPITAL LETTERS IN YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA IMAGES

Capital letters are easier to read at a glance.

This is why newspapers use capital letters for their headlines, especially for the front page.

We have already talked about how quick people decide to read your post or not.

Around 0.5 seconds.

This is a very quick glance.

If they have to think, they are gone.

Capital letters stop them thinking as they are easy to read at a glance.

So use them.

In a social media image they are not shouty, so don’t be scared or use that as an excuse not to.