Keep scrolling, keep scrolling, keep scrolling. STOP! That was cool. What was that?
Does that sound like how you browse through your social media feeds every day?
What, though, makes you stop that endless scrolling? Most likely it was an image that caught your eye. Was it a cool photo of the mountains? Or a quote in a different font? Or a smiling face? Many people call those “”thumbstoppers” because, well, they make you stop that thumb scrolling that you’re so used to.
There are numerous aspects to creating a thumb-stopping image that are important to draw attention to your post. For business owners, these images may make the difference in whether you’re attracting new customers or not.
The Social Ginger’s graphic designer, Hunter Glotz, says “people tend to question the legitimacy of your business less if things are looking nice, clean, and consistent. It’s a good reflection of your business practices.”
There’s a lot to cover when talking about social media graphics. These tips and FAQs will make it easier for you to navigate through and better understand why social media graphics are so important.
Take Inventory of What You Already Have
It’s very likely that you already have photos saved on your phone or transferred to the Cloud. Before seeking out new content, take a look at what you already have.
Do these photos help tell the story of your business? Do they feature things that you haven’t shown off in a while? Will they work as stand-alone images, or would you want to use them with your favorite quotes?
If you don’t have photos of your business, it’s time to take some! Using your smartphone, take photos of your business, products, employees, the sign on your door — anything that represents your brand.
Once you’ve taken inventory, it’s time to explore how to use them, as well as creating templates for new graphics.
Create Social Media Graphics With Ease
If you want to create thumb-stopping images, you need to keep in mind that your photos alone are not what will get people to stop on your post. You will likely want to add a logo to your photo, you may want a text-only image with a fun fact about your business, or you may want to show off a client testimonial.
This is where creating social media graphic templates will come in handy.
A free tool such as Canva is perfect to create templates for your business. These templates will really help to create a new wow-factor for your social media posts. Canva allows you to create graphics and/or images in a variety of sizes for each of the different social media platforms.
We recommend you create templates that match your brand colors, upload your own images or pick from stock images that represent your brand.
? Tip: Creating templates help you with planning ahead and always having a go-to plan for your social media strategy. Templates could include quotes, client testimonials, educational or informational graphics, and photo collages.
Pick A Font That Works for Your Brand
You may have heard about “serif” and “sans-serif” fonts, but what does that really mean? Our graphic designer Hunter says the general rule of thumb is to remember that serif fonts are easier on the eye in print and sans-serif fonts are better for digital.
“Serifs are little decorations on the letters — whether a pointed edge or a curl of some sort,” Hunter says. “One of the most well-known serif fonts is Times New Roman. Meanwhile, sans-serif fonts are without them. Think of Helvetica as a good example.”
No matter what direction you choose, it’s important to consistently use the same one or two fonts across the board. Dedicate yourself to what you’re using and stick with it.
Should I Avoid Certain Fonts?
While there are some exceptions, Hunter suggests staying away from fonts that mimic handwriting. These are usually called “Script” fonts.
“Unless you pay big money for a really nice one, they rarely end up looking realistic, due to the
lack of variation in letters like real handwriting has,” Hunter says. Some examples of script fonts to avoid include Chalkduster, Pouty Pro, and Papyrus, which was once featured in a hilarious “Saturday Night Live” skit:
Also, for another example, see the graphic below. It’s a cute dog, but what’s the message?
What’s the difference between a PNG and JPG?
You have very likely heard about a PNG or a JPG file, but what’s the difference?
Hunter explains: Both JPGs and PNGs are image file types. The difference is the compression of the images. There are pros and cons to both.
JPGs use a compression type that mixes complex colors in photos. These files tend to be more compressed, meaning smaller file sizes. They’re ideal for websites because the page can load it easier and quicker. However, with more compression comes more of a chance that the photo or design becomes overly pixelated, which can be a bad look.
On the other hand, PNGs use a form of lossless compression, meaning you’re less likely to run into those pixelated problems. PNGs also offer transparent backgrounds, so you can overlay your graphic overtop of an already-set background color, which can be very helpful for
a logo, for example.
In the end, the general rule of thumb is that people tend to use JPGs for actual photographs, and PNGs for graphics.
What Does “Low Res” and “High Res” Really Mean?
Have you ever posted a photo or graphic to social media only for it to look weird? Or what about someone asking you to send them a “high res” version of an image or graphic? What do these terms really mean?
High-resolution vs. low-resolution is the difference in the size of the graphic and the PPI (pixels per inch). Low resolution images do not look good when they’re enlarged, as you see in the example below.
Hunter says that lower resolution images work better for websites and some digital media due to the smaller file size (72 dpi is the industry standard). High-res images (300 dpi being the industry standard) should be used whenever something is being printed or has the potential to be scaled up.
Avoid Copyrighted Images and Wrongly Attributed Quotes
Have you ever come across an image that you LOVED and wanted to use that for your business? Before you save that image, STOP! You can’t just take any image off another post or the internet that you saw and use it as your own.
“Copyright is very important for content creators, inventors, or anyone making anything original,” Hunter says. “It’s something that the Founding Fathers found important enough to put it in the Constitution!”
You can check out our blog from earlier this year on sites that have both free and paid options for photos you can use, but Hunter urges you to read the fine print on those sites.
“Many ‘free’ images and graphics require attribution (aka giving credit) to the author,” he says. “If they’re not attributed you could be given a ‘cease and desist’ notice, or worse, a lawsuit.”
You also want to be careful when using quotes. Don’t be the business that finds a great quote and doesn’t say who it came from or attribute the wrong person. When in doubt, use Google to research the quote and make sure you get the proper credit. If a quote is “anonymous” or “unknown,” use that in the graphic so your fans don’t think it’s something you made up.
Want Help With Your Social Media Graphics?
We understand this may be a lot to digest, but The Social Ginger can be your partner to create professionally branded graphics for your business.
Hunter can create customized graphics for you using your logo, colors and font. We also have a guided tour of Canva available.