The importance of visual content is undeniable, so social media freelancers should know how to build a strong social media image.
A total of 1,074 images are posted on Instagram per second. Your followers are bombarded with all kinds of content as they scroll through their feeds daily. What you decide to post on your social media profiles can either help you stand out or keep you in the last spot of the algorithm.
Take a look at the numbers below:
Without a powerful social media image, you can quickly disappear from your followers’ feeds.
If you’ve been managing your social media pages for a while but haven’t been seeing results, you might need to revisit your strategy.
In this article, you’ll learn the importance of building a strong image on social media and a step-by-step guide on how to do it.
Having an audience of billions at your fingertips may sound exciting, but that also means that competition is extremely tough. Businesses and content creators are constantly competing for likes and followers.
While more prominent brands have the budget to hire celebrity influencers or produce blockbuster ads, as a freelancer, you’re likely dealing with a more conservative budget and starting from scratch.
Your job is to build a strong social media image to help you cut through the noise and stand out from the crowd. All of this is a lot of work and that’s why social media managers are paid between $50000 to $75000 annually.
Building a brand on social media is a long game of consistent quality content, clear messaging, and a distinct tone of voice. With all of those combined, you can expect more followers and an uptick in engagement which result in business growth.
With a strong social media image, you can transform passive followers into loyal brand ambassadors.
Here are 10 ways for social media freelancers to build a strong social media image.
Knowing your target audience can help you determine what tone of voice and type of content will perform best. Always create content with an audience in mind. Don’t make the mistake of trying to capture everyone.
Tens of billions of dollars are wasted on ads yearly due to wrong targeting. While trying to capture as large of an audience as possible might sound ideal, this may result in generic creatives and a confused audience. Therefore, it is critical to spend wisely so that you get the best ROI.
Defining your exact target audience can help you create more effective messaging and impactful content.
To have a better understanding of your target audience, you can:
Your audience insights tab on Instagram shows you the age range of your followers, their genders, and their most active times. If you use Meta Business Suite, you can find more detailed information such as page likes, Facebook usage, and purchase behavior.
Knowing the correct image sizes for social media platforms might seem like something you can do last minute.
However, not considering this while producing content might result in cut images or blurry results.
Always optimize your content for the platform. This means if you decide to cross-post or repurpose your content across your different social media accounts, you’ll have to create a special one for each.
Otherwise, incorrect sizing can cut important elements of your photo and result in decreased engagement.
Take a look at the handy chart on social media image sizes for the top four social media platforms: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Content creators can help give the accounts you’re managing a significant boost in following and engagement. Today, it doesn't take much time or effort to find people open to work on social media and partner with a content creator with your ideal audience, and they can help you generate results.
Plus, if you work with a content creator who people consider an authority in your niche, they can help build trust with your target audience and boost your credibility. This is because over 60% of consumers trust influencer recommendations over branded content.
Sparkling water brand La Croix regularly taps on content creators and influencers to post about them on their respective pages. This technique helps the brand better connect with its audience and gather high-quality, relatable content that can be reposted.
Pro tip: If you work with content creators to build a strong social media image, it's a good idea to sign up a photography contract that gives an outline for expected services, sets terms, and gets legal permission to use their content for your business purposes.
Having a cohesive social media feed entails nailing down your brand personality and “vibe.”
Keeping your posts and content consistent will help strengthen brand recall and differentiate you from competitors.
In terms of visuals, this means using the same color palette, font, or TikTok filters across all your social media platforms. Voice-wise, you need to maintain the same tone and personality as seen in your captions, posts, and direct messages.
Think about it: followers may feel connected to your brand simply because they like your content and how it makes them feel. So your feed shouldn’t just be visually stunning. It should also reflect who your brand is and what it's all about.
Skincare brand Glossier achieved cult-favorite status thanks to its highly relatable brand voice on social media. On top of the splashes of Millenial pink that tie its feed together, the brand shies away from the typical high-fashion editorial shoots. Glossier keeps its Instagram grid full of user-generated content and minimally edited photos.
Pro tip: If you lack visual content to create a cohesive feed, you can rely on an AI image generator to make the most out of a new technology and create never-before-seen visuals that match your social media profile style and identity.
You can’t succeed in social media without the help of graphic design tools. As a freelancer, you might juggle multiple social media profiles and brands, including editing images and creating posts from scratch.
Thankfully, there are many graphic design tools and apps that you can access straight from your phone.
Having graphic design tools at your disposal allows you to access default brand colors and fonts to ensure you always create a strong social media image that fits your brand identity, whether you need to make a logo, branding social media posts, or a banner. It’s also incredibly helpful if you don’t have design experience, as these tools already come with pre-made editable templates that you can easily make your own.
If budget permits, it’s always a great idea to work with a team of graphic designers to make the most out of your time. Building a strong social media image is not something you can do in a month or even a year. It requires a ton of experimentation and consistent, high-quality work.
Graphic designers can help you produce unique and eye-catching content that’s ready for posting, while you can manage your time better and focus on engaging with your audience. With the help of graphic design services, you can also ensure that you have a variety of content at your disposal, avoiding repetition and keeping your creatives fresh.
Travel app Airbnb attributes much of its success to the talent of its design team, so much so that it created a page where admirers can learn from their techniques.
Design plays a crucial role in decision-making. With powerful design alone, you can build a loyal client base.
Succeeding in social media requires a lot of trial and error and the initiative to keep trying new things, like converting an MP4 video into a GIF.
Aside from having a go-to filter for your brand, it’s important to experiment with thumb-stopping visual effects. After all, your audience’s attention span is getting shorter and shorter.
Instead of posting regular stills, try using video overlays or contrasting photos. Add texts to your image to keep your audience on your post longer.
Since social media is constantly evolving and adding new features, you need to keep up.
By experimenting more with visual effects, you can build a stronger visual identity that isn’t just recognizable but is also unique. You can now add music to your still images on Instagram. Include a song in your post to add more personality and increase your thumb-stopping ability.
And if you use in-build Instagram filters or presets for creating eye-catching visuals, it's better to prevent Instagram account hack and therefore make sure you can protect your visuals.
Pro tip: If you're good at Photoshop and you create social media images yourself, consider checking BrushGalaxy to find brushes for artists to use in order to add creativity to your visuals.
Encouraging user-generated content (UGC) doesn’t just help you fill up your content calendar, it can also strengthen your social media image. UGC can make your brand more authentic and relatable because it shows that real people engage with you and have had positive experiences with your company.
When you encourage UGC, your customers are more inclined to share the content with their networks, increasing brand awareness and promoting loyalty. This also gives you access to your customers' audience, who are likely to be interested in your products or services.
As a photo-sharing app with a strong focus on visual content, Instagram is a great place for getting user-generated content. With the right Instagram tools, you can find fan-made content with ease and ask authors for permission to repost it.
Sports and leisure brand Outdoor Voices encourages its followers to share photos of themselves wearing Outdoor Voices products by using the hashtag #doingthings. Now the brand is known for the hashtag and has over 200,000 UGC on Instagram—that’s free content and promotions!
Pro tip: To help your clients encourage user-generated content, you can invite clients to create dynamic QR code that encodes information, branded hashtags, and perks on sharing fan-made content and therefore make the process easier. Moreover, clients can always edit the code and keep it relevant and up-to-date without changing its view.
What better way to drive a point forward than to say it over and over again? Of course, repurposing doesn’t have to mean being repetitive. You can repurpose old social media posts by creating a different version.
For example, if you posted a still image of a product in the past, you can breathe new life into it
by adding creative overlays and effects.
You can also look at old blogs or other forms of content and make bite-sized versions on social media. Take inspiration from news sites that post carousel or single-image versions of their long-form articles. Check out the example below:
Repurposing existing or old content can strengthen your social media image simply because your followers will begin to associate certain messaging or imagery with your brand. Moreover, it's easy to use a caption generator that quickly creates captions for your repurposed posts.
The only way to find out whether you’ve successfully built a strong social media image is by reviewing your post performance. Are you seeing constant improvement? If not, it could mean your content is not resonating with your audience.
A/B test your creatives, including your images and captions, to find out what works and what doesn’t.
As a social media freelancer, you know it’s a never-ending process of monitoring and testing whether you see positive results or not. However, you can turn to Iconosquare and get access to advanced analytics that allow you to monitor social media post performance with ease.
What is more, you can create a custom dashboard to monitor metrics that matter most across 5 social media networks.
Analyzing social media content performance gives you an advantage of delivering wonderful results. When you have a strong social media image for your clients, it's easier for social media freelancers to get referrals from satisfied customers or even find clients on social media platforms.
You need a strong social media image to stand out on platforms with billions of users. But building a strong image doesn’t just mean posting great photos and content. Your approach has to be holistic, from your style, to the way you caption your posts and punctuate your sentences.
With these tips, you can get on your way to building a memorable brand that everyone will want to follow.
Advanced analytics for Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and TikTok. Peace of mind scheduling, time-saving reporting, and visual statistics for all your social media!
Every week, Emily interviews top brands, renowned influencers, and hidden agencies with one goal in mind: to understand what happens backstage of their social media strategies.Listen to esm2