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Everything You Need to Know About Branding on Social Media

By Rebekah Radice

11 min read

When you think of visual marketing, what comes to mind? More than likely, it's the vibrant, eye-catching images that filter through your social feeds. They’re the ones that capture attention and drive action.

So, what do you need to know about branding on social media? Here's how you can get started.

Did you know that:

  • 50% of users have re-posted a video or photo they came across online
  • Content with an image receives over 94% more views (which equates to nearly double the views) than content without images.
  • Tweets with images get 150% more retweets than those without images.
  • 60% of consumers are more likely to interact with companies whose images appear on local searches.

Visual marketing is a powerful way to connect and interact with your audience. But it hasn't always been that way. Visual marketing has evolved, and with it, so must your online strategies.

The good news? There's no need to go it alone.There are many examples of businesses and brands using visual marketing right.

Just look at brands like Starbucks, Constant Contact, Marketo, Nike, and Chobani, and you’ll see how they’re putting visuals to work.

top visual marketing brands

What They Have in Common

Each one has created a massive appeal through strong visual content. Companies with a strong visual presence dominate on Instagram to, Facebook, Pinterest, and Vine. And it’s no surprise that this type of content has struck a chord and found an audience.

In an online world where content moves at a lightning pace, visuals captivate entrance and create an instant connection. In fact, images are the single most important tool when it comes to your social media content optimization.

According to the Adobe 2014 Digital Marketing Optimization survey, more than 80% of respondents point to images as either “very important” or “important” in relation to their marketing optimization on social media.

visual marketing optimization

But how can you use them to optimize your social media content and audience experience?

Understand the Types of Visual Content

  • Quotes
  • Data (infographics, etc.)
  • Longform (ebooks)
  • Video
  • Gifs/Memes
  • Behind the Scenes
  • Tips and How-To’s
  • Questions

For me, combining each suggestion above works best. It keeps my content fresh and fun, never stagnant. But what works best for me may not be the case for you.

For example, Chobani makes delicious Greek yogurt. It’s one of my favorite morning treats and a great addition to any meal.

create visual content

Following Chobani on Instagram gives me a ton of recipe inspiration. But one look at their social media content and it’s easy to see that Infographics might not feel on-brand.

The bottom line? Determine what type of visual content feels like the right fit for your business and then identify how you will use it.

Step 2: Once You Know the What, Now Figure Out the How

Now it's time to dig into how visual marketing will support your business. Like anything else, knowing what you're looking to achieve before you get started eliminates the "throw it at the wall and hope it sticks" strategy.

  • How does this support your overall goals?
  • How will it create conversions?
  • Who will you make your audience care about it?
  • How will it make your audience feel?

Step 3: Know the 3 Keys to STRONG Visual Content

Key #1 - Consistent Color Range

Color impression accounts for 60% of the acceptance or rejection your product or service. That’s huge!

While there are many factors that affect how and why consumers buy, a recent Kissmetrics study shows that color plays a major role in the decision-making process.

Understanding the psychology behind each color will help you get inside the head of your consumer.

  • Black conveys a message of power and authority. It speaks to a stylish and timeless message, imparting a sleek, formal, luxurious, or classic experience.
  • Yellow is seen as fun, joyous and optimistic. Brands like Nikon, Subway, and Best Buy bear the brand of a bold, deep yellow.
  • Orange is my brand color and one that embraces every aspect of my business. It’s cheerful, inviting, encouraging, friendly, and confident. Orange makes me happy!
  • Red is a color that is emotionally intense. When we see red we think of “strength, adventure, energy, and love.” It is extreme, exciting and vivacious with Coca Cola, Virgin, and Pinterest embracing this vibrant hue.
  • Blue makes us think of tranquility. It promotes a feeling of calm, and can symbolize loyalty. When we think about blue, we think of the words “unique, trust, reliable, or clear.” Brands prominently displaying blue within their logo are Facebook, Dell, HP, and Oreo.
  • Green causes people to think about nature. It’s calming and refreshing. Green symbolizes balance, growth, and freshness and can also speak to financial stability, as green is the color of money.

Choose a Color That...

  • Best represents your company's social media promotional strategy
  • The feelings you want to impart, and
  • The action you want them to take
color psychology buying behavior

Key #2 - Choose a Font that Matches Your Message

Fonts play a critical role in telling your brand story.HubSpot found that using 3 font styles makes it easier to read content. I would increase that to 4 and find those that feel like you.

When determining font, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is my company fun, silly, entertaining, serious, inquisitive, playful, or straightforward?
  • Is my content fun, silly, entertaining, serious, inquisitive, playful, or straightforward?

Your essence is wrapped up into your branding. The fonts you choose play a big role in helping align who you are with the perception people receive.

Key #3 - Create Harmony in Every Design

Harmony is what happens when every aspect of your design is synergistic. Nothing should stand alone or contradict the key takeaway of your design.

It's finding the perfect balance and harmony within every element. Make them work together, complementing one another, rather than competing or detracting.

Step 4: Create Visual Content Your Audience Will LOVE

Now that you know why visuals are so important, your next step is to make images your audience loves to share.

Get Branded

Create branded cover photos that are consistent with your website, blog and offline marketing. Peg Fitzpatrick is an excellent example of streamlining all online properties into one consistent look and feel.

create a branded cover photo

Create Images That Speak Your Audience's Language

Design social media images that have your target market in mind. Know why your fans and followers hire your business (what "job" are they hiring you for) and the problems that you solve.

Now be that solution through visual marketing just as one of my favorite food bloggers, Pinch of Yum does in all of her designs.

create images for audience

Repurpose Your Content

You don't always need to reinvent the wheel for your social media visual content. Look to your evergreen content and determine what can be repurposed into new media.

Design an:

  • Infographic
  • eBook
  • Webinar/Presentation
  • Podcast
  • Livestream (Blab/Periscope)

Build Thought Leadership

Use visuals to establish thought leadership and build credibility within your industry or niche. Take quotes from your past articles, videos or presentations and create quotable social media graphics.

How to Use Quotes in Your Business

  • Ensure that your color palette, font, and graphics match your company's look and feel.
  • Know the goal of every quote you post. Is it for entertainment, elevating thought leadership, or driving followers into your latest opt-in offer?
  • Find a style that works for your brand and each social network. What’s receiving the most traction and interaction? Now duplicate that over and over.
  • Create an easy-to-use template in Canva. that allows you or anyone on your team to drop in text without the need to reinvent the wheel each time.
  • Look to companies with an established visual presence for inspiration. Rob Russo with Bold Brand Fast is one to check out for a consistent brand image and message. You can see his latest tweet or Instagram post and instantly recognize the brand.

Step 5: Tackle Each Social Network Visually

Every social network is unique. Your visual content should be too. Design your graphics with each social network image size in mind.


instagram image size


facebook image size


pinterest image size


twitter image size


google plus image size

Step 6: Use the Right Tools

As a business owner or entrepreneur, it's not enough to create captivating visuals. You need to find an easy way to design them without spending a ton of time.

The five tools below are designed to ignite and inspire your visual design efforts allowing you to increase awareness, engagement, and visibility...in less time.

Step 7: Promote, Promote, Promote

Can you believe that 56% of marketers are flying by the seat of their pants without any content plan in place? No plan, no matter the industry, always equals imminent failure. Get strategic and create a promotional strategy.

How to Create a Promotional Strategy

Strategy ideas:

  • Share across ALL social channels
  • Get Branded (partner and co-brand)
  • Build mutually beneficial relationships
  • Boost your posts
  • Join blogger and outreach websites/groups
create a promotional strategy

Final Thoughts

The key to building a solid visual brand is to keep it fresh, relevant, and exciting. Consistently take stock of your visual marketing and your message. Identify the needs of your audience and determine whether your visual content is still hitting the mark.

Bottom line: if you want to create differentiation through visual marketing, it's going to take a commitment. Analyze, assess, and tweak. Have fun testing what works, striking what doesn't, and creating a visual brand that stands out online.

Rebekah Radice

About Rebekah Radice

Rebekah Radice, co-founder of BRIL.LA, has traded narcissism for purpose. When not driving growth, you'll find her tricking family into thinking she's Emeril Lagasse - likely covered in marinara. The spotlight was fun, but impact is better. These days she's using 20+ years of brand brilliance for good.