How a graphic designer can make your brand's social media look amazing
Learn how to get a stunning social media profile created
It's been said many times that if your business isn't online, it doesn't exist. That's pretty accurate. But increasingly, if your business isn't on social media, it also may as well not exist.
Now, it's one thing for your business to have a social media profile, but it's quite another to actually make it look professional. For that, you need to find an expert.
What elements do you need for a good social media profile?
The specifics features of social media profiles differ from platform to platform, but there are some common features. Some of these common features include profile pictures, cover images, posts and photos. Together, all of these make a visual impact on your audience.
Getting your social media profile right is mandatory in today’s digital landscape. Your profile could be the first impression you make on some would-be customers, and you want it to look professional. A perfectly optimized social media profile can be a great way to kickstart your marketing campaigns and improve your brand's image.
So, let's dive deeper into some of the visual assets you'll need to get right.
A well-designed profile picture
Your profile picture is essentially what your viewers get to see whenever they open your social media profile. The profile picture essentially communicates the identity of your brand. Most companies use their logo as their profile picture, and this is definitely your best bet. A picture of you hanging out with your friends isn't going to communicate quite the same level of professionalism.
Let's take a look at how your profile picture is displayed on different social media platforms.
First and foremost, you're going to need a good logo. If you don't have a professionally designed logo, or your logo is in need of an update, you can check out our guide on getting a logo professionally designed.
Next, you're going to need to make sure it's properly sized. Each social media platform has different size requirements for profile pictures.
Profile picture size requirements
Facebook: Business profile pictures need to be a minimum of 180x180 pixels, and they need to be square. If they're not, Facebook will crop them to fit a square. That's bad news if your logo gets cropped off.
LinkedIn: Your LinkedIn profile photo needs to be a minimum of 200x200 pixels, but we'd recommend at least 400x400. Again, it needs to be square.
Twitter: Twitter profile photos have to be a minimum of 400x400. They'll display at 200x200. And square. Are you noticing a pattern?
Instagram: Your Instagram profile photo should be at least 110x110px. And that old, reliable 1:1 ratio.
Now that you know the proper size, let's talk about the supported file types. After all, if you have a graphic designer work up a logo, it's important to know the file formats you'll need it in.
Facebook: Facebook accepts JPG, PNG, GIF, BMP or TIFF file types. Don't worry about all those acronyms, though. For best quality, you'll want to go with either a JPG or PNG. PNG will give you the best image quality, but can result in a bigger file size (which could cause your profile to load slower on some browsers). But if you keep the dimensions to 180x180, a PNG should be fine.
LinkedIn: LinkedIn accepts JPG, GIF or PNG. Our same advice holds true here. Go with JPG or PNG.
Twitter: You guessed it. JPG, GIF or PNG.
Instagram: Instagram will accept JPG, PNG, BMP or non-animated GIFs. Which should you use? A pat on the back for you if you guessed JPG or PNG.
An engaging cover photo or header image
This element goes by different names on different platforms. On Facebook it's your cover photo. On Twitter it's your header photo. On LinkedIn it's your company cover image. On Instagram, it doesn't exist.
Whatever you call it, the header image can be extremely valuable digital real estate. The header can be used to keep your audiences updated on the latest events or your list of services. It can be used to show off your latest advertising campaign. Or it can just be a nice visual element that represents your brand.
Let's look at how you can use header images on different platforms.
Social media header images size requirements
Facebook: The cool thing about Facebook cover photos is you can use video. The minimum size is 400x150, but upload your photo 820x312 or more. That's what it'll display at on desktop, and you don't want it to stretch and pixelate. For videos, you can use MP4 or MOV files, and for photos you can use JPG, PNG or GIF.
LinkedIn: The LinkedIn company cover image is a bit of a weird shape, so you'll want a designer to create something specific to LinkedIn. The minimum size is 1192x220, but be on the safe side and go larger, because it displays at 1400x245. Again, you can use JPG, GIF or PNG.
Twitter: Twitter gives you a lot of space to work with for your cover photo, so you want to take advantage of it. The recommended size is 1500x500, but Twitter is a bit sneaky here. They crop off 53 pixels at the top and 53 pixels at the bottom. So you still want a 1500x500 image, but you should make sure you've got that 53 pixels of padding at the top and bottom of the image so nothing important gets cropped out. You'll also need to keep in mind that your profile photo is going to overlap your header image in the bottom left corner, so don't put anything important in that area either. Oh, and you can use a JPG, PNG or GIF.
Great looking posts
Your posts are how you're going to regularly communicate with your audience. You want more than just text updates. You want them to be visually appealing and engaging. It's worth getting a designer to help you.
That doesn't mean you need a graphic designer to do every single post. But for important updates, offers or marketing campaigns, a graphic designer can make your social media posts stand out and give your brand a boost of credibility.
So, let's look at the different post requirements for some social media platforms.
Social media photo and video post size requirements
Facebook: Facebook allows you to post images or videos. If you want to post an image, the best size is 1200x630. For video, it's all about aspect ratio. Facebook allows video in either portrait or landscape. Our advice? Most users browse Facebook on mobile, and landscape orientation is terrible for mobile. Go portrait. For portrait, it's a 9:16 ratio. For landscape, it's 16:9.
LinkedIn: Again, you can post still images or video on LinkedIn. While LinkedIn isn't quite as dependent on mobile as Facebook, 57% of the traffic still comes from mobile devices. It's up to you if you go portrait or landscape with your videos, because it's a relatively even split. For shared videos, it's a 1:2.4 for portrait and 2.4:1 for landscape. For a shared image, you'll want it to be 1104x736.
Twitter: A Twitter in-stream photo needs to be a minimum of 440x220. Twitter also allows landscape or portrait videos, but they really mean landscape and square. Landscape videos display at 16:9, while "portrait" videos display at 1:1. Wanna keep it simple? Go square with your Twitter videos. We'll tell you why in a second.
Instagram: Ah, Instagram. Making it hip to be square. All photos on Instagram display at a 1:1 ratio. You should upload them at 1080x1080. Now, Instagram does offer a few options when it comes to video. There's the landscape, which is a 16:9 ratio, the square video at 1:1 and the vertical video at 4:5. But if you want to simplify your social media posting, you can use a square video for your Instagram and Twitter. Nice.
How to get a graphic designer to make your social media profiles look great
This might sound like a lot, but setting up your social media profile to look visually appealing doesn't take as much work as you might think. Sure, each social media platform has its own unique image types (we haven't even gone into LinkedIn hero images or Facebook highlighted images), but you don't need all those to get yourself set up initially. We'll cover them in detail in future posts, but getting your brand's social media set up really comes down to getting a designer to produce the following assets:
Logo: This is what you're going to use as your profile picture. Get a designer to produce a great logo for you, and then ask for the logo as a JPG, PNG and the original PSD file. Make sure it's a 1:1 aspect ratio and larger than 400x400. You can size it down accordingly, but you won't be able to size it up without losing resolution.
Facebook cover photo or video: Look, if you really want to make an impact, go with a video. Find a great motion graphics designer to put together a video advertising your brand, and make sure it's not dependent on audio (most people aren't going to listen to the audio). Yes, you could get a designer to do a still image and then use it on Twitter and Instagram as well, but if Facebook is going to give you the option to use video, you should take advantage of it.
Header image: Ideally, you should get a designer to work up a header image you can use on both Twitter and LinkedIn. This is a bit tricky since they're different aspect ratios. But, if you can get a 1500x500 image where the most important visual elements are in a 1400x245 area, you can use it for both. And considering Twitter is going to crop 106 pixels off the height and overlay your profile photo in the bottom left corner, that shouldn't be a tough task.
Ad hoc posts: When you have an important message to get across, get a designer to put together a visual asset for your social media posts. A good designer should be able to lay out the same design to fit each social media platform's different size requirements.
So there you go. You can get started with a great social media presence with just three main designs, and then hire designers occasionally to produce visually stunning imagery for your posts. Not too tough, huh?
Make sure you remember that your social media profile is the perfect reflection of your brand. Put your best foot forward with a professional looking profile, and you'll build your brand's credibility and make a great impression with your customers.