How to use Graphic Design to Create Social Media Content!

In today’s world, we are surrounded with information. Whether self-created or coming at us, much of it is communicated visually and it’d be fair to say that many people have a voracious visual appetite. Because of this, how something is communicated then becomes very important. 

Let’s talk about how this can play out on social media. A post can be just a post (“Blah…ok, hmm. Pass”) or a post can stop you in your tracks and really engage you (“Wow! I would love to be there right now” or “Yes, that’s totally me!”). A key factor in getting you that second reaction is graphic design. Striking the right chord with viewers from the first glance is crucial.

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines graphic design as, “the art of profession of using design elements (such as typography and images) to convey information or create an effect also a product of this art.” That last bit there about creating an effect, that’s what we’re going for. It’s our job as graphic designers, to help you shape visual content to create an effect—impact your viewer in a particular way. The kind of an effect you’d like to create is up to you and the story of your brand. 

If you’re reading this blog, then I’d venture to say you’re familiar with the types of visual content but just as a refresh, here are a few examples: illustrations, photography, videos, animation, quotes and infographics. Each one of these forms of communication can be enhanced by great graphic design. Here are some design elements to take into consideration when creating posts:


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www.instagram.com/anna.laura

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—Color: Do you have a theme for certain types of posts? Do your photos have a tint or mood to them? Do the colors marry to the tone of voice of your brand? Have you considered complimentary colors or are you sticking with a more homogeneous palette? 

—Contrast: The difference between light and dark in an image. High contrast images will have bright highlights and dark shadows, bold colours, and show texture in the subject. Low contrast images will have a narrow range of tones and might therefore feel flat or dull. Adding in an element of contrast can help your post stand out. This can be done with any element of design. 

—Typography: Make sure your text is easy to read on a phone since the majority of viewers will be seeing your posts there. More succinct posts, in terms of text as “image” is preferred. Font choice can really affect perception so make sure the font you choose is correct. Are you looking for something bold, feminine, quiet, friendly, hard, child-like, handwritten, old, modern, etc.? There is a font that will evoke that; thereby enhancing your message.

—Style: Create a style for your brand. Another way to look at this would be you could create templates or guides of how certain types of posts, let’s say quotes, could always look. The benefit of this is two-fold: one, the viewer learns to know what the content is and two, when looking at your feed as a whole they get a visual break or pause for their eyes as there is some continuity in the visual medley. 

Ultimately, a design needs to communicate. I believe it should be simple yet powerful, logical yet emotional, and informative yet inquisitive. 

Your design choices allow individuals to know who you are and in the case of most of you, you’d like them to identify with you and be part of your tribe. If you’d like to stand out against the masses, use the skills of a talented graphic designer to help you hone in on creating strong, effective messaging. Nail down your brand, your story, your aesthetic so there is no doubt what you’re all about. 

Hope you found that helpful. If you need help, Mara knows how to get ahold of me :)

Best,

Jessica

Guest Blogger

http://jessicasudalnik.com




WHAT IS SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO)?



PEOPLE ALSO SEARCHED FOR...

Why is search engine optimization important?
What does SEO do?
How can search engine optimization help your business?
How to do SEO for your website?
How does search engine optimization relate to social media?

These are all fantastic and vital questions! I’m glad you asked! You’ll need to know a bit about each one, especially if you are looking at using internet marketing to boom your business.

Every website should be generating high volume leads/reaches that turn into a high volume of customers.  That is the purpose of a website after all. The good news? Every website can!

In this blog I am going to answer the above questions and hopefully send you on your way to becoming an SEO master.


WHAT DOES SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION MEAN?

Search Engine Optimization can be defined as:

“The process of maximizing the number of visitors to your website by ensuring that your site appears high in the results given by a search engine.”

Let's break this down a little bit further.

SEO is “everything you gotta do to get your site to show up when people search for your  product or similar companies.”

Example time!

 Let’s pretend that I own a dog walking business in Los Angeles, California. We’ll call it Scruffy Trotters. And I’ve built a beauty website for it. So, I sit back and wait for the money to flow… except it isn’t. No one is coming to my website!

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A little voice chimes in my head “well of course no one is coming to my site, they don’t even know it exists yet!”

But I am in luck. There are three fantastic and provenly effective ways to drive customers to a website.

1. Social Media Marketing

This is Mara Edwards specialty. Using social media websites and apps (such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, etc.) you are able to build huge audiences and generate new levels of interest in your website, business or product. Mara and her team utilize social media to create business. This is one of the best ways to promote in a digital world. 104 million people use Instagram every day in the United States alone. That’s a lot of potential customers!

The next method of driving potential customers to your website is…

2. Online Advertising

This is a highly effective way of driving in potential customers to your website. But watch out, this one can also lose you some money too. There are a lot of ways to waste a quite a bit of money very fast in online advertising if you don’t know the ropes already. 

It’s important that you know the do's and don'ts before you dive in. A lot can be said about the massive benefits of online advertising as well. I'll cover that in a different blog as there is a lot to say on the subject.

If you are interested in diving right into Online Advertising and generating immediate sales, you will want to contact Mara and she can have you work with one of her Online Advertising Brokers to walk you through your first steps.

The third, and I would say one of the most vital ways to increase traffic to your website is called…

3. Search Engine Optimization – SEO for short.

When we're about search engine optimization, we're talking about websites like Google, Yelp, Bing, Yahoo, etc. These websites have billions upon billions of listings on them.

And they use certain programs to determine what websites to show when people are searching for a certain term.

GOOGLE RESULTS, MADE SIMPLE

Let’s keep going with the Dog Walking example. But now let’s say that I am a potential customer. I have a dog and I live in LA and I want to get it walked. Scruffy Trotters is the perfect company for me. Only one problem, I’ve never heard of it.

So, I go to google and I do a search for “Dog walkers in Los Angeles”.

I wait about half a second and then google tells me that it found about 175 million! results for dog walkers in Los Angeles. That's a lot of results. Now, the very first thing you're going to see at the top of the page is a few advertisement.  This is where your ad would go. And can be it can be a very profitable to place ads here. But again, there is an exact system on how to make the most money out of your Google advertising or social media advertising. And I don't recommend just jumping in without doing a fair amount of research on it first or getting someone to help you avoid the pitfalls.

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 After the advertising section you will see the organic search results. By “organic” we mean the ones that are not paid for but occur only because of SEO. This is where you want to be. Getting to the first page of google is the goal of most online businesses. But being anyone in the first five pages will produce an increase that you can feel.

(BONUS FACT – Another abbreviation worth knowing about it SEM – which stands for Search Engine Marketing. SEM = SEO with the addition of paid advertising. SEO is the subject of generating traffic to your website through search engines. The term SEM includes both that and the subject of internet paid advertising. Hope you have enjoyed today's bonus fact.) 


I personally know of one company that spends nearly nothing on advertising, but by use of skilled search engine optimization has gotten themselves onto the first page and maintained on the first page of Google for quite some time. Their company is thriving and expanding just from clients that find them on google.

Now that we know what SEO is and why it is vital, let’s take a look at how to do it.

HOW TO ACTUALLY DO SEO

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Before we dive straight into the how, we first have to clear up another important term… And that is “keywords”.
Keywords are those words or phrases that show search engines and potential customers that your site is THE ONE they are looking for. These are the magic words that bring customers in to your website first. They tell google and bing that your website should show up before someone else’s. Basically, they make or break your SEO.

Scary right? Doesn’t have to be. And I’ll show you why

Keywords are different depending on what type of business you are in. Sticking with our Dog Walking company, we would want to use keywords related to the walking of dogs. You might want to use words on your website like “dog” and “walking” and “pet”. These are pretty evident. What may not be quite as evident is how important it would be to use words like “inexpensive”, “Los Angeles”, “best dog walker”, and “pet health” as phrases.

In SEO, you want to fill up your website with all of these terms in a way that makes sense and communicates your message correctly. It is very important that you do not just spam these terms around your website. Google will knock your rating down for that. But don’t be discouraged from using the right keywords often and everywhere. Post blogs, update pages, add content constantly. And that’s the HOW of SEO.

HOW TO CHOOSE KEYWORDS
Half the battle in SEO is choosing the right keywords. This part is going to require some digging and will change regularly so it’s important that you update often and post new blogs. 

Obviously each every company is going to have their own keywords. People search different things depending on the type of service or product they are looking for. You wouldn’t use the same keywords in a car sales business as you would in a car wash business.

In order to choose great keywords you have to ask answer two questions.

1. What specialties or unique qualities does my company have?

2. What words/phrases are my potential customers searching?

The first question you will have to answer on your own. Put some good thought into it and discuss it with your staff.

To answer the second question, you have some good tools at your fingertips. They take a bit of getting used to but you can’t SEO without knowing what people are searching for. I’ll cover them more thoroughly in another blog, but here’s a quick list to get started.

SOME USEFUL TOOLS

1. Google keywords and autofill

Searching on Google is one of the best ways to locate keywords. Try it out by searching for something related to your company. Example: Search for Dog Walkers in Los Angeles.

At the bottom of the page you will see a section entitled “Searches related to...” This is a great way to find out what others are searching for and use these keywords on your website.

2. Buzzsumo.com

Buzzsumo is an awesome website that helps you find out what topics are currently popular on social media and on the internet, what's getting the most searches and views.

3. AnswerThePublic.com

This is one of my personal favorites. They use Google and Bing and their massive database to help you predict what searchers are going to ask.

Who uses search engine optimization?

That’s a question that’s been floating around. And the answer is everyone! If you own a business or want to sell a product, you need SEO.

You always judge a man by his actions not his words. But that is not true of search engines. Search engines always judge a website based off their words.


How much does search engine optimization cost?


The answer to that can vary very widely. But on average an expert will charge between $80 to $130 an hour. Further, the average is about $800 to $1500 per month to have someone working on retainer. You can also do search engine optimization yourself for relatively no financial investment. This requires a bit of training and practice and quite a lot of writing but with a bit of a fumble and a bumble and a tumble you can make your way through.

The right words matter.  If your website has 10,000 words on it, and only 10 to 20 are the right words, you are in trouble. Try something more in the range of 500-1,000 of the right words. Now we are really cooking.

When you pay a professional, you are paying someone who knows the rights words to use or how to find them. It’s a constantly changing game and so it’s important you keep up-to-date with the latest in SEO techniques.


SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION AND SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING

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Search Engine Optimization is directly related and connectable to social media. They work hand-in-hand. In fact, whatever company is handling your social media marketing should also be familiar with SEO.

Mara Edwards has on her team SEO professionals that can not only help boom your business through social media, but can also make sure that they are posting interesting and keyword heavy updates.

Thanks for reading! Be sure to check back in for regular updates and blog posts. And don’t forget to subscribe to the mailing list!

Until next time,

Forrest Will