Social media experiences are hard to analyze and there are other aspects that determine whether a social media campaign is successful. However, they can be prioritized by relative influence and these common triggers are among the most important aspects:
- Visual – Everything you can see.
- Audial – Everything you can hear.
- Conversational – Everything that helps you share and connect with other people, products and stories.
- Emotional – Everything that arouses feelings or emotions.
- Usability – The degree to which a social media channel is appropriate for a purpose.
It’s worth noting that some of them are totally out of our control; usability is one such example. In this situation, design becomes paramount to experience creation, because it takes care of the visual as well as emotional aspects of the experience, and sometimes even conversational aspect, too.
But what kind of experience can you create with design in social media? Design is pretty subjective, isn’t it? Well, yes and no. There are certain experiences that brands create in social media and some of them stand out from the others. The resounding element that makes any visual experience better than the others is creativity.
Now let’s look at some social media content ideas to inspire your creative explorations and help you create a unique experience for your community.
Cinemagraphs are a blend between photography and video in which minor and repeated movement occurs without interruption. Why are they so popular? It’s a new, exciting way to convey information, whether it’s a brand message or an emotion.
You might argue that GIFs have been used by the industry for years, but cinemagraphs are not GIFs. Cinemagraphs do not compromise on artistic quality. They are characterized by the same qualities that define fine art and photography: composition, focus, expression, lighting. GIFs are widely used as a medium to convey a story, while a cinemagraph is a story in itself.
In the barrage of static images and videos that populate our newsfeeds, cinemagraphs certainly catch the audience’s attention.
Infographics were initially created as a way to present data-heavy information visually. Numbers, graphics and analytical data fit the infographic layout perfectly, while making it easier for people to decipher the information.
However, 2017 saw some extremely creative uses of infographics. From blog posts to tourist guides and lengthy lists, it turns out almost any type of information can be communicated through an infographic. This year, infographics will evolve into something a bit more complex and will be used for all sorts of purposes. It’s time to stop seeing infographics as a tool solely for analytical and educational agencies, and find some new, creative uses.
Almost any industry can utilize infographics, including relatively less data-driven ones like fashion, jewelry or travel.
3. Visuals Created Around Real-Time Events
Generating excitement is hard; tapping into the excitement that’s already there is easier.
Brands love to insert themselves in the middle of an action. It’s so easy to post a picture and a couple of call-to-action lines celebrating the event and reap the benefits of the existing attention of an audience. But the audience is already used to this social media marketing tactic and likely expects something different by this point.
If you want to gain the attention of the audience, you need to put in more effort. Brands are finding new ways to join the conversation through graphic design. They don’t simply ride the event’s wave, but instead incorporate the message into the brand’s own narrative. This type of real-time social media marketing shows the audience that you care about them more than about your own bottom line.
4. Images Combined with Illustrations
Another way to disrupt the habitual mental pattern and make others pay attention is to combine two types of visuals into one. For example, a photo and an illustration.
While this might be a risky endeavor, brands are doing everything they can to break through the clutter of advertising and informational noise. These graphics work especially well when you need to convey abstract concepts and ideas.
5. Design-Driven Interactive Content
Facebook quizzes are undergoing a design remake. They have become more visually compelling and employ some UX tactics as well.
Quizzes are super engaging by nature, but in order to drive real engagement, they have to be beautifully designed. Even though the Facebook quiz creation app is easy to use and intuitive, few brands have been paying enough attention to design. Those who do, however, will gain a competitive edge in the information-overloaded Facebook feed.
6. Paid Ads that Tell the Story
Brands use paid ads as a way to promote a product, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult to make an impression online. Customers are simply ignoring the barrage of sales messages they receive on a daily basis.
As we move towards the permission and conversation marketing era, many brands choose to use paid ads as an invitation to the brand’s world rather than a sales instrument. From a graphic design point of view, this means visually compelling paid ads that tell the story and engage the audience on a deep, emotional level.
7. Magic Realism Photography
Magic realism is a photography style that portrays a series of imaginative events using real characters and objects. These images carry a “wow” effect, force the user to stop scrolling and gather likes in no time.
8. Solely Visual Content
Graphics combining images and text are a universal way to convey information in social media. And the majority of these graphics still work just fine.
However, we’ve seen brands switching to highly visual content, where fonts are embedded into an object and photographed. Even though it relays the same message, these photos are a great way to speak to the audience without saying a single word. This trend will remain prevalent.
Keep each of these examples in mind as you aim to leverage all five types of social media experiences we listed above. Unfortunately, we can’t yet smell or touch experiences created for us in social media, but this might indeed become possible with the arrival of virtual reality. Until then, the five dimensions of the experience will help you engage your social community.
If you need some more social media content inspiration that will wow your audience, check out these 15 go-to sources for content marketing ideas.