Content design is one of the most important portrayals of your brand. It’s an art. Your logo, fonts, colors, graphics, visual media, text, blog posts, and website are all crucial aspects that will affect the way your audience will perceive you. The design of your content will ultimately determine if your audience will take the time to read and engage with it. Content that has the highest metrics is shareable on social media channels. In your social media efforts, content design should be a top priority. Let's explore why and how you can optimize your content design for engagement.
The Science of Visual Engagement
Harvard researchers conducted a study with over two hundred participants measuring that colorfulness and visual complexity were the basis of users’ first impressions. Researchers found that the more elements a website has, the lower the rating it received from participants. They found that consumers prefer websites with “a moderate range of complexity” = people want a visual balance.
Media posts that are complex, busy, and hard to read do not receive engagement because they are too difficult for consumers to decode, store, and process, cognitively. This explains why bounce rates are high on unappealing websites and why some social media posts perform poorly. User-generated content is more important than ever in our saturated media landscape. Your content must engage the brain in order to drive social media engagement.
Brand Tone and Consistency
You should create a tone for your brand, establishing your voice, and your brand personality. Your content should have a rhythm to it and flow nicely. Visually and textually, this is important. For example, your Instagram feed should flow and each post should work together, creating a balanced canvas. Your text should compliment it nicely, and provide value. Visuals should flow nicely, guiding your consumer along. Your goal should be to build trust with your audience.
Consistency makes you dependable. Your content design allows you to frame your brand strategically, creating a specific image you show to customers. Consistent content makes you trustworthy. Consistently crafted content should have an underlying voice and should align with your brand personality. In turn, this will help create a loyal audience because they will come to trust you.
The Power of Color
Specific colors signal different impressions to the brain, which is why brands have color themes. Successful social media engagement comes from, memes, GIFS, short clips, infographics, and other graphics are created to catch your eye and elicit a response: engagement. This image below shows the different feelings colors evoke when we see them. Design can be equally as powerful as words because they subliminally send messages to the reader. You can use colors to help craft your content design. To read more about color, read this blog post.
The Lacoste clothing company recently launched a campaign that drove sales and social media engagement. The marketing campaign called “Save Our Species” launched May 22nd, 2019. In this campaign, they sold 3502 shirts with different endangered species in 9 cities around the world. It was great for business because it was an emotional type of marketing with great content design. People wanted to engage with the brand and several news outlets shared the campaign on their media accounts. Replacing the alligator logo, each city sold a different logo animal.
They posted short video clips that are shareable on social media platforms. The videos are clean, with minimal text, yet enough to explain the campaign in a meaningful way. Though all profits went to charity to conserve wildlife, this is an excellent marketing campaign that could drive lots of revenue because it has meaning and a story. Their content used green, which is known for peace, growth, and health. The content on their website for this campaign uses maps, videos, and graphics with green intertwining them all together. This is a great example of a campaign where great content design and great product design came together.
Accessibility and Readability Improve User Engagement
Infographics can help your brand communicate statistics, numbers, and data in a comprehensive layout. 65% of people are visual learners, so communicating information in a visual way is important if you want your audience to pay attention. Infographics are a brilliant and engaging way to explain data, charts, and statistics because they help information stick. The best infographics utilize color, negative space, proportions, and eye-catching graphics. Using infographics can help you become more accessible to your audience. They are sharable and will drive engagement on social media platforms like Pinterest.
To make your content design more readable, you can utilize white space. This will help you achieve visual balance and create contrast which is pleasing to the eye. White space helps improve comprehension, attention, focus, and gives the viewer/reader breathing room to digest your content.
If you want to appear sophisticated and professional, white space will help you achieve that. Some of the best examples of white space being used are brands like Apple, Glossier, Tarte, Medium, Shopify, and Google. White space also helps you create focal points in your content. That’s why memes and quotes on Instagram have great metrics.
Glossier and Tarte are good examples of brands that use these in their social media posts. They screenshot a tweet and post it on their Instagram, as do lots of influencers and brands. Reportedly, these memes that use a white or an off-white background are the highest performing memes, up 108%. This form of content is popular with influencers and various media channels on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s an example from Tarte’s Instagram:
They show up in many trending hashtags and start lots of conversations. If your content becomes something being shared by social media influencers and social media users, you will see spikes in your engagement metrics. This social media strategy is designed to increase engagement.
Glossier has an excellent content marketing design on their blog, In To The Gloss. Their content flows nicely, has great photos, and superb content design with white space and a sophisticated font style. Tools like MarketMuse can help you optimize your written content, and tools Cortex can help you optimize your social media activity using artificial intelligence and data to design successful content for platforms.
Avoid Marketing Faux Pas
Earlier we explored how Lacoste launched a successful campaign that produced sales by redesigning their logo (for a short period of time) and producing emotional content. This drove lots of press, great content, and engagement with their audience. It not only improved their brand awareness but also appealed to their target audience. But, it's important to remember that this marketing strategy doesn't always work.
Gap made a big mistake in October 2010, changing the logo/design of their content, they thought they were being innovative and unique, but their customers hated it. It lasted two days and they went back to their old design. Customers didn’t like how the design of their favorite brand had totally changed. Keep your content and branding consistent. You must stay in touch with your audience, and understand what is important to them if you want to remain relevant and increase sales. To avoid faux pas, be careful when promising free stuff, be aware of cultural misappropriation, and how words and symbols can translate. Each audience will interpret your media marketing differently, so it's good to research social media conversations in each culture you market.
A good graphic can tell a thousand words (using only a few.) The more direct and concise you are in your visual content design, the higher engagement you will see. Your content will stand out and your social media engagement will increase. By using colors, fonts, and designs based off of data, you can create content that will increase your social media engagement. Remember that the design of your content is an art. It should be carefully crafted for your audience to ensure they have the most enjoyable time reading your content. If it’s good enough, they’ll pass along your art too.
(now for a Simpsons GIF because, consistency)