Graphics put your brand in the spotlight when it comes to social media.

Photos, images and infographics take up a more space than quotes and texts on any social media newsfeed. So how can you leverage graphics to make sure your business stands out online? One simple step is to create a social media strategy that should undoubtedly include interesting and engaging graphics to be posted across each of your social media pages. Here’s how to improve your social media visual strategy.

Why graphics?

People are wired to respond to visuals better and studies have shown that more people interact with infographics and images than they do regular posts. Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr use images as their primary content; Google+ gives photo posts excellence real estate; and images posted to Facebook and Twitter get more engagement than posts without images. Social media users are far more likely to click ‘share,’ ‘like,’ or ‘favorite’ when it comes to visual content.

01. Optimise your images for different social networks

To maintain a social media presence, be sure to post regularly across a variety of platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google + and LinkedIn. Posts with images get a substantially more engagement than links and text so keeping your visuals looking their best is critical to an effective social media strategy.

For the most part, each platform requires images of different dimensions. To make this easy, Canva has a selection of social media templates formatted to the optimum size for each network. And for your own unique designs, it’s easy to create an original template using custom dimensions.

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02. Include your logo in your profile image

Using your logo as your profile image is a good general rule of thumb. Don’t be afraid to get creative and design a variation of your logo, as long as your audience can still immediately recognize the brand.

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Wallpaper* magazine uses its asterisk logo across its social media platforms.

03. Your profile image and cover photo should complement each other

And on that note of profile images, your cover photo and profile image should complement each other, whether that’s through color, imagery, mood or text. Applying a filter to the cover photo image can help achieve this harmony and balance.

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On Twitter, Kinfolk Magazine uses a consistent color palette and mood across its profile image, which features a magazine cover, and its cover photo or banner. When a new magazine issue is published it’s easy to up date the cover photo to suit.

A color picker tool can be used to create color harmony.

Tip: On Twitter, you can choose the page ‘theme color’ (click on Design under Setting). Choose a color that also complements the brand.

04. Use a consistent style of images

Pick images that are a) consistent and b) consistent with your brand. Consider:

  • What do your followers like?
  • What is the product or service you’re trying to sell?
  • If your brand was a person, what kind of things would it like to do and see?

These questions are a good guide to discover the personality and characteristics of your brand and to find images that suit. And when it comes to retweeting or sharing, choose images that also align with your brand to avoid inconsistency.

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For example, Lululemon Athletica consistently uses images on its social media platforms that depict outdoors activity, healthy eating, beautiful landscapes, positive faces and motivational quotes. These images resonate with its mission statement: Creating components for people to live long, healthy and fun lives.

05. Use consistent branding

Consistency is a key ingredient of brand recognition and success; think Coca Cola’s vibrant red, Cadbury’s rich purple, and Nike’s ‘Just Do It.’ Consistent branding can be achieved by using the same fonts, colors, or images in your social media designs.

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Notice the consistent color palette across Canva’s Twitter page. The ‘Under Construction’ image picks up the color of the words ‘can be’ in the banner.

06. Create a variety of valuable content

Value and variety are buzzwords when it comes to posting quality, shareable content. Don’t restrict posts to one or two templates and make sure everything you post is relevant and adds value to your site and for users. More valuable content gains wider reach across social media platforms, resulting in more potential traffic to your website.

Consider using:

  • Weekly inspirational quotes
  • Industry tips
  • Event posts
  • Company milestones
  • Competitions
  • Infographics
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Some tips for valuable content:

  • Encourage graphic sharing with a giveaway or competition
  • Jazz up an inspirational quote with your own design
  • Reinvent existing content and add your own spin
  • Interact with other graphics. It’s good karma.
  • Provide free information

Infographics are a great way to do this, providing lots of relevant and interesting information in an easy-to-understand graphic.

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Check out Canva’s library for hundreds of templates optimized for different social media platforms.

07. Create templates for consistency

Create templates so you have consistency across and within your social media pages and so have images ready to go when you need them.

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Pantone have used the same template for these two graphics keeping the font layout the same while the text and background color have been changed. Keeping certain elements consistent is also essential for brand recognition.

08. Make images easy to share

Make it easy for users to share, post, tweet and pin images from your website. Include ‘share buttons’ featuring the recognizable social media icons. When users share your images they’ll reach new users, boosting your brand awareness and brand recognition. That’s potential new users, followers, fans, clients, and customers without any legwork.

09. Make images share-worthy

Of course, users are only going to share good content so make sure all graphics are share-worthy. Monitor analytics and social media pages to determine what graphics get the most traction and interaction. And add a call-to-action to encourage users to share images.

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Leverage New Age Media

Keep in mind that the more original and resourceful an image is, the more likely it is that people will share.

10. Ensure graphics link back to your website

Every graphic posted to social media or your website should have a link back to your website or main port-of-call. Google algorithms have greater appreciation for unique content when it’s linked to a website, bumping your site up the search engine ranks.

11. Want to learn more? Check out the Social Media Marketing World.

Social Media Marketing World is the world’s largest social media conference held in San Diego each year. If you want to get involved either actively or by proxy, here are some great tips.

Connect before the conference

Social media is all about connecting online so take it to heart and connect with attendees before the conference. Email, tweet, follow and message attendees; join the Bizzaboo online community; or follow the Twitter stream. And stay up-to-date with the speakers by following their social media profiles.

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Network, network, network

Saying ‘hello’ to the people you sit next to and approach small groups with simple openers like, ‘may I join you,’ ‘where are you from,’ or ‘what brings you here?’ If you’re nervous, just remember that people like to talk about themselves and in most cases they’re probably waiting for someone to break the ice just as much as you. Have business cards to readily give out. Get involved in networking functions and other activities before and after the conference sessions.

Share your experience online

Share you experience across social media pages and add the relevant conference #hashtag so others can find you. It’s a great way to network, make new connections and potentially new friends. Whether it’s photos, quotes from speakers, or key takeaways, make sure your posts add value to the conversation and your followers. What could people learn from your experience?

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Be prepared

Have your phone, Internet access, notebook, pen, business cards, charger and whatever else you need at the ready. Get familiar with the conference schedule, look for any changes and updates and be on time.

Of course, have fun

Smile, have fun and enjoy the experience.

YOUR TURN

Graphics are a crucial and significant element of any social media strategy. Make sure your social media pages are looking sharp with a variety of high-quality, varied and valuable images to boost engagement and interaction.

Anna heads up several of Canva's content marketing projects, including her favourite: Design School. She's passionate about the way content can be used to create a meaningful synergy between businesses and their audiences. Say hello on Twitter @AnnaIsabella92.