The thing about creating a cohesive social media presence is that it helps boost your credibility and gets people excited about following and interacting with your brand.
Ask yourself this: are you more likely to follow a brand or business with a messy, disconnected, all-over-the-place social media presence…or a brand that follows certain “guidelines” and stays cohesive and organized throughout their platforms?
We might know the answer to that…
Choosing a color palette, sticking to an aesthetic, using a specific logo, and even writing in a certain tone of voice all come together and coexist within the idea of branding. They’re what identifies your brand and sets it apart from others, gives it a specific meaning, and keeps it alive inside a person’s mind.
A few examples of brands who have achieved global status through powerful branding strategies – online and off – are…
These brands’ visual identities – their colors, fonts, tone of voice, logos, characters – immediately come to mind as you read their names, right? That’s the magic of branding.
👀 And do you wanna hear a secret? You don’t have to be a multi-trillion-dollar company to achieve the level of cohesive branding that these companies have…
It just takes a pinch of passion, a dash of time, and a “want” to make it all come together.
Oh, and the best part? You don’t have to be a design wiz to do it all, either.
Where to begin when creating a cohesive social media presence and post design
Before you get started with creating an online presence that WOWs people coming into your profile, website, etc. you need to create a specific set of guidelines that you want to follow throughout your journey.
Here are a few things you can take start by defining:
- A color palette (3-5) for your logo and graphics
- An aesthetic (light & airy, moody & dark, bright & bold, toned down, etc.) for your photos
- A set of fonts (for titles, subtitles, and longer text) you’ll use throughout
- The brand tone of voice (for all communications)
- Your logo (primary, secondary, and small icons)
Once you have an idea of these, you can begin testing and playing around with different combinations of them to see what you like, what you dislike, and what works best for you and your brand.
A good practice is to keep track of your chosen guidelines somewhere so everyone on your team is on the same page when it comes to working together on positioning and boosting the brand’s online presence. A great way to do so is by creating a “Brand Guidelines” PDF book handbook with examples of each element outlined above as well as specific examples – these can also be sourced from other brands as inspiration! – of visual pieces of content you think will perform well.
Now buckle up as we get into the more “technical” side of cohesive social media post design.
5 tools to create cohesive social media post designs
Although we’re not here to force your hand into becoming the next McDonald’s (unless that’s your thing), we are here to help you play the big leagues when it comes to creating an online presence that doesn’t leave people scratching their heads when they check you out on multiple platforms.
Through a cohesive social media post design, you too can become a reference for audiences in specific industries.
READ: How Developing a Brand Voice Can Help Your Business Succeed
But where do you start? And do you need to become a fully-fledged designer to achieve this level of connectedness between the content you create? What if you don’t know the first thing about color palettes? And what happens when…
Slow down, y’all.
We know not everyone is a 5-star graphic designer (we’re not, either). That’s why we’ve rounded up 5 of our favorite apps and tools to help you create a streamlined and cohesive social media presence that involves post design and beyond.
Let’s dive in!
1. For all your graphic design needs: Canva
Does anyone else hear angelic choirs when you think of Canva? Just us? Ok 😬
Canva is the holy grail of design for small businesses, social media managers, entrepreneurs, advocates…the list goes on. Basically: they cater to everyone and anyone. And the best part…it’s free!
Canva’s free subscription offers a wide range of fonts, graphics, colors, and even TEMPLATES 👏 to help you create visually stunning content without any deep technical knowledge of design. Most of these templates are also 100% customizable, which means you can switch up fonts, colors, and smaller graphics to use your own and have them align with your brand guidelines.
Looking for more templates? Molly’s Template Shop is filled with beautiful templates you can plug into Canva for a more refined and unique look. Completely customizable, they’re a great way to save time when creating social media graphics for you and your brand! Buy them here.
A few pieces of content you can create using Canva are:
- Graphic social media posts like quotes, tips, how-to lists, etc.
- Instagram & Facebook stories – using both photos and videos!
- Instagram highlight covers to keep an organized feed
- Reels templates for more engaging videos
- Social media platform banners (for Facebook groups, LinkedIn pages, etc.)
- Infographics to share along with a specific blog post or on their own
- Pinterest “pins” and graphics
- Social media templates for ads
- Business cards
- Flyers and posters
- Pitch decks and presentations
Canva is also great at staying up to date with everything that happens online – like the emergence of a new format or a sudden change in direction (we’re looking at you, Instagram…) – which means the content you can create using their templates will always be on-track with trends, platform changes, dimensions, and more.
2. To find rights-free stock photos: Unsplash
Although Canva also gives users the ability to search for images online, the free version only allows for so much. That’s why we prefer to use websites like Unsplash to search for and download freely usable stock images.
We then take these images, upload them to Canva, and use them with our templates to create different versions of social media graphics and spruce up our feed.
When it comes to licensing, Unsplash allows for these photos to be used:
- Free of charge
- For commercial and non-commercial use
- With no permission needed
This makes the platform a great place to find content for small businesses that can’t afford to hire their own photographers or purchase expensive licenses.
Looking for videos, too? We suggest checking out Pexels!
There’s also a great resource available for diverse stock photography that ensures you’re creating a more welcoming space for everyone by going “beyond the binary” of traditional stock websites. Created by Vice, check out “The Gender Spectrum Collection” and, as they write on their site, “go beyond the clichés” to help “better represent members of these communities as people not necessarily defined by their gender identities.”
3. To watch your feed come together: Planoly/Plann
Once you’ve created a set of graphics and settled on some photos, the next step is to bring them together in one place to actually see what they’ll look like on your Instagram feed.
Enter popular planning tools like Planoly and Plann.
Designed to help you plan out your feed visually, you can upload your Instagram posts in a certain order and move them around via drag-and-drop until you’re pleased with how they look as a whole.
READ: Why Your Business Needs a Story Toolkit for Efficient Marketing
Why does this matter? Because this collection of posts is the first thing people see when they visit your profile – and, as we all know, first impressions are extremely important. Tools like these take the guesswork out of figuring out how to organize your feed in order to create a cohesive social media post design schedule that keeps your content engaging and valuable for potential customers coming in.
4. To keep all your links in one place: Linktree
When it comes to creating a streamlined collection of social media platforms, one of the most important things is that people know where they can find you and what you offer on each of these places.
Most platforms – like Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and even Twitter – are designed to let you use one (singular) link that takes people to:
- Your website
- A blog
- Your store
- Another platform
But what if you have more than one place you’d like people to visit? That’s where tools like Linktree come in handy.
With Linktree, you can store all your useful and important links under one single link (say link one more time…) and allow people to choose where they want to go and how they want to connect with your business outside of a specific platform.
Even better, these “link trees” can be updated easily to add links to time-sensitive websites like challenges, sales, speaking sessions, etc. Plus, it also provides you with analytics to see what links people are visiting more often and how they’re performing in comparison to each other.
If you’d rather stay away from third-party apps, you can also create a page on your website that leads people to the different places you’d like to take them. Having these quick links available is a great way to direct traffic from your website to other pages within itself or to outside links – two things that can help boost your SEO and presence.
5. To organize a social media strategy that makes sense: A content calendar
This one’s a biggie.
Having a cohesive social media presence doesn’t just mean having an Instagram feed that looks good or a LinkedIn page that stays up to date with your business ventures. It also means establishing a connection between the platforms you’re present in, whether that’s two, three, ten…it doesn’t matter.
You don’t want people who visit your Instagram page to be confused when they reach your Facebook page and the colors are different, the visuals don’t even feel the same, and the copy sounds off…right?
That’s where a Content Calendar comes in. A single document where you and your team keep track of when, where, and how certain pieces of content will be published, a Content Calendar can help you keep track of everything that needs to go out into the world: from social media graphics to blog posts, status updates, stories…
READ: How Small Businesses Can Effectively Create & Use a Content Calendar
Having a Content Calendar is a great way to make sure the content you’re sharing on your platforms is aligned with each other and doesn’t take users on a rollercoaster journey that ends up in confusion.
However, it’s definitely worth highlighting that not all platforms are the same. This means copy-pasting captions won’t (always) do the trick. Although your brand voice should remain consistent, the specific language you use on Instagram isn’t necessarily the same language you’d use on Twitter or LinkedIn.
Keep this in mind when writing your content and scheduling it into your Content Calendar!
The low-down on a cohesive social media post design
When it comes to building a cohesive social media presence, post designs are one of the easiest ways for users to get to know and distinguish your brand from the rest.
And how can you make that happen? By creating a set of brand guidelines that you and your team can follow in terms of design, copy, and posting strategy.
Once you’ve settled on these “brand identifiers” you can start to create, organize, and publish content that connects with your audience and adds value to their day.
Here’s a brief rundown of our favorite tools for cohesive social media post design and creation:
1. Canva for designing specific pieces of content
2. Unsplash to find rights-free images you can use
3. Planoly/Plann to visually organize your Instagram feed
4. Linktree to keep all your important links in one place
5. A content calendar to organize a cohesive social media posting strategy
What other tools have you used to create a cohesive look and feel for your social media platforms? Drop them in the comments below!
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