Social Media is the newest means of mass communication, the fastest growing and the most competitive!

The use of social media has quickly become a proven and successful means for many businesses but the fast evolving world of technology makes it a full time job just to keep up, let alone keeping ahead of new ‘fangled’ developments.

In the good old days you sold your products and services via television or printed newspaper/magazine advertising, word of mouth and referrals. Services you wanted/needed were found through the telephone book or yellow pages – have you seen the new micro sized yellow book recently?

The web changed everything, there are probably more unused defunct web sites on the world wide web than were in existence in the early years! Today the competition for position on the first page of Google ensures more headaches than all the hangovers in the country on a sunday morning!

SEO is the top consideration in most peoples minds for beating off the competition, however there are a few other ideas that can help raise profile and presence. With a little thought and just a little bit more creative talent your on-line image or profile can be built upon using a strong memorable branding.

Here are the graphic elements you need for social media, to get an egg – I mean an ‘edge’!

I don’t talk to an ‘egg’, even hard boiled!

If you don’t have an ‘Avatar’ or profile picture dotted around on several forums you really need to get that attended to before reading any further! People want to communicate with a ‘face’! Sometimes you can get away with a logo, cartoon or a fictitious image, but the personality has to be big and the trust doesn’t develop as easily and quickly.

Facebook, the third biggest country in the world, a personal page leads on to the ‘fan’ page or ‘business’ page and for those seriously promoting their wares a ‘banner’, or now ‘cover photo’ is essential.Facebook offers a free platform to a huge audience, who can’t afford to miss that opportunity?

The advertising is geared to the reader, targeted by very clever algorithms. Page ‘likes’ are the biggest sort after reward. The most attractive and interactive pages attract substantial traffic which in turn leads to customers, sales and – yes, increased turnover!

The ‘Cover Photo’ is the ‘headline’, the initial introduction for your business, the shop front. Designed well it portrays you and your business, informs and impresses. Advertising in its purest form. Create a banner using your logo, your company colours and images of your products, you have no links for ‘click thru’s’ but information is essential. Easy to read and tasteful, not ‘in-your- face’ and packed from edge to edge with sales jargon.

Attractive and provoking will be memorable.

If Facebook is not your first love, or even if it is, ‘Tweeting’ for business is another option. A Twitter background is another opportunity for getting your brand ‘out there’. A little trickier to produce and as with Facebook the dimensions change frequently – probably to keep us Graphic Designers in business!!! A branded Twitter background can be very attractive and expresses a lot about the way you view your overall social media profile. Coca-Cola will not have a generic background or any of the big business’ or organisations, so step up and see what you can achieve.

WordPress blogging is a serious business, from the origins of article blogging, it now is one of the most popular platforms for web design. Easy to use and versatile. Can be easily upgraded and configured to your personal needs. If not brave enough to play with ‘code’ bespoke banners can be uploaded to give your wordpress template an unique look and personal identity. Design your banner in keeping with your Facebook and Twitter pages, keep the consistency tight but play with your branding, flexibility is an important advantage of good branding, the benefit is recognition.

Think about your ‘mobile’ banners, they need to be optimised for the small screen, each phone screen has slightly different dimension requirements.

To really enhance your websites and business pages, think DETAIL. Widgets, icons and buttons add to the overall design and look of the page.

Good design needs to be planned, not just thrown together…

Typefaces and colours need to be consistent. When creating elements for the pages consider the shapes you are using and how they compliment the images or the layout. Widgets and icons add interest to a page and do a ‘job’ at the same time. A ‘Click Here’ button in complimentary colours can draw the attention and encourage an action to lead the voyeur onto the desired page or article. Simple but effective and enhances the professionalism of your business.

Finally, a simple and often overlooked opportunity, an email or forum signature. A simple but attractive branding component that can be as damaging by being either overdone or forgotten. Making it too big and too detailed, adding too many sales messages can cause deletion faster than spam! An email with no contact details or blank just gets lost. Used wisely its memorable and useful to the recipient, and signs off with a positive professional goodbye.

Good graphic design is essential to develop a brand that works throughout all media on and off-line. It doesn’t have to be expensive but you get what you pay for in most instances. If you do anything ‘on the cheap’ thats what you get. For professional results pay a professional, being creative is a talent but knowing how to use it comes from experience and training.

Angie Phillips of A.N.G Creative Design, based in Essex, UK, helping you communicate your message to your clients and generating more leads and sales.


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