Social media design has become an important aspect of digital marketing.

Text-only posts no longer have as much impact in Facebook marketing, or even LinkedIn.

Which is why images used on social media need to be carefully considered and designed with the audience in mind.

We look at nine common social media design mistakes that marketers still make and the ways that you can avoid them.

1. Brand Identity

Brand identity is a tricky part of marketing—it encompasses obvious branding elements such as brand logos, but also more subtle elements like brand voice and tone.

There is also a visual harmony that should be reflected across a brand’s social media—which doesn’t mean using the same images, but a similar theme.

Consistency in social media design and visuals make a brand more recognizable and memorable, but this continues to be an area where marketers still make mistakes.

For instance, if your brand is using illustrations, including photographs may feel jarring for the audience.

In the same vein, the overarching emotion you are trying to convey should be consistent—are you trying to come across as humorous? Then your visuals should reflect that.

Inconsistency in the way you portray your brand identity on social media will lead to customers confusing you with another brand, or forgetting about your brand entirely.

2. Stock Images

Using stock images is a bit like outsourcing your visual content—you leave your visual identity in the hands of someone that doesn’t have a personal connection to your brand.

And that is a mistake that can derail your social media strategy.

Stock images had their run in the early part of the 2010s—with a little bit of investment, businesses had access to thousands of unique images.

Unfortunately, everyone joined the stock photo bandwagon—from brands to universities, aspiring graphic designers to customers.

With the same images being used across a variety of platforms to illustrate numerous kinds of content, the uniqueness of stock photos has been lost.

Using stock photos on social media no longer has the impact it used to—they don’t make your posts attractive, instead they look repetitive and generic.

Despite stock photos being a convenient resource, marketers need to avoid relying on them as heavily as they still do. 

3. Being On-Trend

Social media trends change from year to year, and this has an impact on the kind of designs you can use to attract audiences.

For instance, according to the latest graphic design trends, social media visuals in 2020 will be more muted than they have been in previous years.

Additionally, quirky illustrations will be taking over the social media sphere.

Marketers need to be cognizant of the changing trends so that they can create imagery that will be relevant for that year.

4. Complicating Designs

Minimalism has become the name of the design game in the past few years. This means limiting the elements in your social media designs to a few key items.

This can be a challenge because some brands have a lot that they want to pack into each design, whether they are social media images or videos.

But as tempting as it is to add as much as possible in a single design, marketers should avoid making this mistake.

Your imagery should have plenty of white space, and clearly defined items, and not be overcrowded.

Remember that your audience doesn’t have time to look at everything on their social feeds—they’re scrolling through and looking for the next best thing.

If they come across a complicated design, they won’t stop to study it—they will dismiss it because they don’t have the time to decipher it. 

5. Resizing Images

This is a massive mistake that marketers make—failing to resize images for the different social media platforms. 

LinkedIn image sizes are different from Facebook and Twitter. Instagram now incorporates more sizes, but is still optimized for the square frame.

Even when marketers are sharing the same post across multiple channels, the images used need to be resized for optimal visual appeal on each channel.

Wishpond have included the various image sizes in their social media marketing plan breakdown, and it is highly recommended that marketers take note of them.

Incorrectly-sized images will not display properly on other channels, and important visual elements will be lost in the process.

6. Mobile Approach

If brands aren’t taking mobile marketing into account for their social media strategy, they are making a mistake.

Social media is more often accessed on mobile phones, rather than on laptops or desktops. This means that your design needs to be clear, clean, uncluttered, and optimized for small screens.

If you are adding text to your visuals, make sure the writing isn’t too small—you don’t want your audience peering at their screens trying to understand what is written on your design.

Keep mobile use in mind when you design for social media and you will be able to reach your audience more easily.

7. Overuse of Fonts

As we have mentioned, font use needs to be well thought out when creating social media designs. Readability is necessary for improving engagement and reach on social media.

But it is also an important step in your SEO checklist—the better it is for people to read your content, the more likely they are to share your content and improve your SEO.

Keep your font use to a minimum in your social media designs—one font should be enough.

You should also avoid writing too much text—the visual is meant to attract your audience—you can always add text in the captions and comments.

8. Grammatical Errors

If you are including text in your social media design, you absolutely must ensure that there are no grammatical errors.

In a social media design—which is created to draw the audience’s eye first—grammatical errors tend to get magnified.

Even the smallest errors can be easily noted, and that will badly impact how your brand is perceived by your audience.

Use online proofing tools to check your text content before you publish your social media posts.

9. CTA Placement

Many brands include a marketing call-to-action (CTA) in their social media designs—’buy now’, ‘read more’, ‘download today’, ‘more details’ are CTAs people often see.

While the CTA itself needs to be well-planned so audiences are encouraged to click on the post, where you place the CTA is also important.

Including a CTA at the bottom of your image may work if you need your audience to take in the entirety of the visual before acting.

But that formula doesn’t work if your CTA is what you want to use to attract audiences in the first place.

Think about what action you want your audience to take and place your CTA accordingly.

Final Words

The above nine social media design mistakes happen far more often than marketers would like to admit, which is why marketers and designers need to be vigilant.

We have outlined how you can avoid making these mistakes so your social media designs can be impactful and help you gain leads.

About the Author:
Ronita Mohan is a content marketer at Venngage, an infographic maker and design platform. She writes extensively about marketing, being productive, pop culture, and the importance of diversity.
Twitter: @Venngage.