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In the constantly-moving sea of content that is a social news feed, how can you rise above the others and, in addition, keep it up?

Like TV shows or tacos, the more we’re exposed to, the higher our collective bar of expectations becomes. (Remember when you were a kid and thought Taco Bell was the bomb until you tried real Mexican food? Ah, sweet ignorance.) To exceed that higher standard of quality, it’s becoming harder than ever to effectively use the social graphic tools of the past: for instance, stock photography, stock assets, and pre-made templates from Canva or Adobe Spark.

While there’s still a time and place for stock, it won’t help you emphasize those big moments when your content needs to especially stand out, even from your regular content. In those cases, follow these tips to stand out in any feed.

    1. The Power of Original Content
      Humans are extremely visual creatures, and the visual part of a social post is what catches the eye first. When you’re working with stock, you’re taking something broad and neutral, and then afterwards you try to fit your brand and content overtop. But when an asset is created strategically for your concept from the get-go, it clicks immediately, because all aspects of the photo or illustration encapsulate your message. The News space, where the social feed is highly competitive for users’ attention is far ahead of the curve in terms of original illustration work made specifically for singular concepts. Here are some examples from Wired and Dropbox:Wired Backchannel Illustrations
      (Collages courtesy of Venngage) Dropbox Illustrations
    2. Make it Move Move Move
      For an even bigger oomph, add motion to your original photography and illustration– not only is this more eye catching, but we are still at the beginning of the trendline towards saturation with motion graphics. Images used to make your content stand out in a feed of mostly text content; today, motion graphics can help you stand out in a feed of still images. Here are some powerful pieces of branded original creative by Dropbox and Ebay, as they venture on redefining their visual styles:
      Dropbox Gif
      Ebay Gif
      And here are stellar examples of custom animated illustrations for The New York Times and NPR by Sean Lewis:

      Madeleine L'Engle Illustration by Sean Lewis
      Online Harassment Illustration by Sean Lewis

    3. Serialized Consistency
      Of course, it isn’t easy to continue to generate original and new ideas when social content can be so ephemeral and constant. One great strategic answer to this problem is to cater your social content to a couple of themed series. Rather than reinventing the wheel every time, define your messages and create a framework that remixes recurring elements for a consistent look. For Melitta USA, Spark Growth created a distinctive new style for serialized content:

      An added benefit will be that once you have visuals that are consistent with one stream of content type, your audience will start to recognize and anticipate that series, ensuring you get the message across faster and faster.

    4.  All Hands On Microcopy
      Microcopy has a critical part to play to immediacy of any communication, whether that text appears on the a social graphic itself or directly around it. How many words does it take to express your message and hook a user? And how does that look on the page? For best results in this fast moving world, we believe the entire interdisciplinary team around social creative should be able to contribute to writing. Social analysts, designers, and strategists will each be thinking in a different way than writers, and that expert perspective can be invaluable.


Finding it difficult to make social media content that stands out? Let’s talk about how we can help you!




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