Some business social media faux pas are legendary. Like the time Kenneth Cole joked that the “uproar in #Cairo” was over the fashion designer’s new spring collection. Or when the Epicurious recipe website suggested Americans rally against the Boston Marathon bombings by eating whole-grain cranberry scones.

We’re going to assume you are a smart enough marketer to avoid capitalizing on tragedies with tactless or tasteless self-promotion. But even smart business social media marketers make mistakes. A common one is to put writers in charge of the company’s branded social media pages, with no input from graphic designers.

This is odd, given the fact that every visitor to your business social media page starts by scanning the visual elements: the giant banner at the top, followed by the photos and images that accompany the posts. Like it or not, the quality of the visual presentation makes a powerful first impression about your brand’s sophistication and quality standards.

Cast a critical eye upon your company’s social media pages to determine if a facelift is in order. Is the square profile image crisp and meaningful? It follows your posts wherever they get shared online. Does the rectangular banner feature a blurry image or a slogan that is strangely placed or cut off? Even worse, are you still using the default banner?

If your eye tells you it’s time to talk with a graphic designer, here is some advice to guide that conversation.

  • Do maintain branding consistency in social media banners with logo placement, colors, fonts and supporting imagery. Fortunately, most major social media sites have adopted a square-shaped profile image and rectangular banner image, meaning two main concepts is all you may need, no matter how many different social media sites you use.
  • Don’t assume that all logo and banner boxes are the same size. The pixel height and width vary from site to site. And Twitter displays the images differently, depending on the device being used. The only sure way to avoid having banner words cut off on Twitter is to use a word-free image. To make sizing easier, consult The Ultimate 2015 Social Media Image Size Cheat Sheet.
  • Do consider aligning the banner image with the site. It is easier, but not necessarily better, to have the same image on all of your pages. But your company may benefit from displaying a different aspect of its personality on a consumer-focused site like Facebook than it does on a business-focused site like LinkedIn.
  • Don’t use your banner as a billboard ad. A banner shouting out your latest offer is tacky and an instant turnoff to visitors. Of course your company is using social media to get attention, but to be successful, you have to earn the attention by engaging your audience with content that is useful, interesting or entertaining.

Need help designing your business social media pages, website or brochure? Call Kim Landry at 484-829-0021 or email [email protected].

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