By Hannah Bretherton Hjorth

August 11th, 2015

Hey I’m Hannah—a visual designer here at Falcon Social.Hannah-blog-image

The news on my end is that Falcon Social is adjusting where we are headed visually as a brand—we got some snazzy new colours and iconography.

 

Falcon Social brand colours and icons

Our colour palette before and after and some of our new icons

We’re still a young company and brand, but we’re evolving rapidly, as is the world around us. With our visuals, we want to match this fast pace, and if we can, be one step ahead.

Here at Falcon, we’ve been revising our social media visuals across the board, giving them a much-needed refresh. We thought this would be a great opportunity to point out the most important elements of creating a strong visual brand identity on social media. Allow me to elaborate…

What are visuals?

Every image on any of your social profiles—be it your Twitter profile photo or content you post on Facebook—becomes part of your visual identity. The most vital aspect of this is using the correct (sometimes elusive) dimensions for your cover and profile imagery. There are many guides out there – a quick Google search turned up this one and it’s pretty helpful. You can also scour the ocean of infographics to stay updated, since dimensions change fairly often.

Why get visual?

As a designer, I could give you lots of compelling arguments justifying my job title, but here are some stats instead:

  • 95% of B2B Buyers prefer short content formats (Demand Gen Report)
  • Tweets with images receive 150% more retweets than those without (Buffer)

Nuff’ said really.

Visualize your team

A strong visual identity is just as important as finding your voice on social media. Visuals are key in helping people recognise and remember your brand. A brand should be aligned on all its touchpoints—both in written but also visual tone. Everyone in your organisation is not (and should not become) a designer, yet there still needs to be a common direction in all brand communications. The key is consistent collaboration between content creators and the design team.

Here at the Falcon Social office, our design and content teams sit very close to each other, which enables us to have quick check-in conversations about how our written and visual assets align. Are we going for a quirky tone or something more personal? Do we show our own people in the images? Do we want to use cheesy stock or is it hurting our brand? These are all things we can decide on together.

Remember, the quality and consistency of your visuals contributes to how people perceive your brand. Does your current structure support this kind of collaboration? If not, explore how you can get your creatives together to make sure your ideas align.

Get personal

A brand is a living, breathing thing, which adapts to its surroundings and has its own personality—this should be reflected in your online presence. Your social profiles belong to another arena than your company website—social channels lend themselves to a more personal tone, which customers are seeking more and more.

Social channels lend themselves to a more personal tone. It’s been proven that customers respond to a more human presence on social channels, so treat your visuals on social as a chance to let your brand’s personality shine.

"When brands focus on authenticity, personality and connecting with their audience—they elicit more brand engagement."

We decided that it was definitely time for a change in our social imagery. It started out with the replacement of our profile images across channels so they were aligned with our new main brand colour, this lovely blue:

Visual brand identity

The next step is to update our cover imagery across channels, which proved to be a challenge. So what have we learned from the process so far?

Change is good

Change and evolution shows that there’s a living, breathing organisation with actual humans at the helm behind the shiny facade. Keeping your social media visuals updated beyond routine content shows that you have your finger on the pulse. A cover photo is important real estate, utilise this to showcase upcoming events or even be seasonally toned images – again showing the human element of the company. Everything within measure though – we wouldn’t advise changing your social profile imagery too often. Do it with purpose and intentional timing to avoid making your brand look like it has a personality disorder.

Keep your stakeholders happy

Not always an easy task, but a vital one. As social imagery is the crux of your brand identity, all parties must be aligned on the direction – much like the process of a website redesign. I highly recommend involving key stakeholders in a brainstorming session early on in the process – get on the same page conceptually and work from there.

If you can, involve your Chief Marketing Officer, Content Lead, and Graphic Design Lead.

Look around

Be careful to not just use a blanket solution for all your social media channels – what works on Facebook may not work well on Linkedin, where the tone is very different and much more business. Be sensitive to the media you are on—is it all about sharing a brief, pretty snap of your company’s life or is it about sharing some valuable content with a specific group of people?

For example, people searching your Twitter profile are looking for a quick glimpse into your brand personality so your window of time is limited. Your header image should immediately communicate who you are and what you’re all about. On LinkedIn however, people are likely looking for a more in-depth look at your profile, and the header image should encourage them in that search.

Create a system

And all the creatives let out a cry of either joy or frustration. Looking over our various social channels, we noticed a pattern in the feeds – it was hard to discern various types of content from each other – what was our own content, what was a link to someone else’s content, what was a promotion for a downloadable asset? If we were confused, our audience probably was too.

Imagine the visual systems of signs in a train station that guide you to the right destination – visuals orientate your audience. We decided to create a similar system for our content, guiding the user to the article of page they need to find.

falcon social content image designs

4 examples of the way we differentiate images for social

So the essence of all this is: Strong and consistent visuals are the key to engaging a social audience that values interesting and easy-to-grasp content. The best way to create powerful images that are on-brand is to ensure your team is constantly collaborating.

Check back on our social profiles soon to see our refreshed look and let us know what you think about them!

Have you come up with some cool new visuals recently? Share them with us on Twitter and Facebook!

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