While your salon or restaurant is closed or operating at a reduced volume, here’s some ideas of what you can do to generate revenue. Your clients care about you and everyone is looking for ways to help each other and to support businesses. Provide your patrons, clients and fan club with the information they need and want to support you!

Online Gift Cards

Set up online gift cards on your website or online booking. If you don’t have a website or online booking set-up, no problem, you can use the SquareUp option below. See resources below for options on setting up online Gift Cards.

Gift Card Promotions

Once your online Gift Card is set up, advertise a Gift Card promotion to encourage larger Gift Card purchases:

Examples:

Salon Gift Card Promotion Ideas…

“Purchase a $100 Gift Card for future services and receive a FREE Deep Conditioning Treatment upon redemption.”

“Purchase a $300 Gift Card and receive a complimentary Olaplex treatment upon redemption.”

Restaurant Gift Card Promotion Ideas…

“Purchase a $100 Gift Card and receive a free appetizer upon redemption.”

“Buy Your Staff Lunch: Buy a Gift Card for 25 Lunches for $250 (Regularly Valued at $275)”

Salons: Accept Pre-Payment for Future Services

Instead of canceling your services with no recourse, re-phrase your client communications and ask clients to pre-pay for future services by purchasing a gift card.

Advertise Your Gift Card & Promotions! Communicate your new online Gift Cards option and promotions to your clients through email, text and social media posts. Your clients are looking for ways to help, and they will appreciate you extending this option to them.

Restaurants Add Food Delivery Service.

While being quarantined, consumers are dying for ways to change things up and many areas have very few food delivery options. Give your patrons the solution they need to get your amazing meals by adding food delivery. No driver, no problem.

Here’s links to popular food delivery services that will deliver for you.

https://get.grubhub.com/

https://www.ubereats.com/restaurant/en-US/signup

https://get.doordash.com/

Resources for Gift Card Set Up:

Here’s a list of popular gift card options for 2020.

SQUAREUP

Benefits:

-Works with any website or without a website

-Easy to set up

-No additional fee/ No double fee

Some Gift card platforms charge their own percent fee, in addition to your payment collection fee.

https://squareup.com/us/en/gift-cards

Salon Online Booking with Gift Card Option

Booksy

https://booksy.com/blog/gb/2019/11/18/3-new-ways-to-drive-revenue-for-your-business-with-booksy/

Booker

https://blog.booker.com/the-booker-blog/how-to-create-great-customizable-gift-certificates-this-valentines-day

Vagaro

https://support.vagaro.com/hc/en-us/articles/204348080-How-to-Sell-and-Redeem-Gift-Cards-On-the-Desktop-Version-

StyleSeat

We were unable to find info for StyleSeat Gift Card set up. If it’s not available use SquareUp. 

Best Gift Card Options for WordPress Websites

WooCommerce- Plug-in Software for WordPress with a great Gift Card function. 

Benefits:

-Accepts PayPal and most payment options

-No additional fee

https://wordpress.org/plugins/pw-woocommerce-gift-cards/

For assistance with WooCommerce set up on your WordPress website contact our WordPress design partner Jefferies Designs https://jefferiesdesign.com/ 239-601-2833

Compliments of Gibranna LaCava, Digital Advertising Expert, Social Butterfly Marketing

 

One of our most frequently asked questions by our clients is,
“Why should we feature our tenants/ stylists/ employees in our social media?” Simple.
A strong social media strategy is not created around me, me, me, sell, sell, sell, sell.
Please put some thought into whether your social media is adding value to the potential audience you are trying to attract. Are you just selling to them?

In a sea of social media, straight selling is a dead end. You will not stand out from your competitors, you will not be respected by your audience, your potential clients and you will not create a thriving community or raving fans in your social media.

We firmly stand behind our strategy of featuring tenants/ stylists/ employees weekly for MANY reasons:
Featuring Tenants/ Stylists/ Employees Shows Potential Tenants/ Clients:
-Your business does more to promote their business than any other salon suite
-You are grateful to our tenants and care about their success
-You will help them to succeed
-You are proud of your tenants and their services regardless of race, color, ethnicity, level of success
Featuring Tenants Helps the Tenants:
-Get exposure to their business
-Encourages them to leverage the power of social media, leading by example
-Gives them a post to share, since many do not have the resources to create nice posts
-Sets a higher standard for their social media
Do you want to stand out, be better, be more than your competition? Then be that!

-Gibranna LaCava, Digital Advertising Expert

Social Butterfly Digital Advertising is thrilled to announce we have moved our headquarters to Boulder, Colorado and are proudly providing video ad creation, social media, digital advertising, google ads and more in the Denver, Boulder and Colorado Front Range areas. We also provide digital advertising to large organizations and franchises throughout the US.

With our new location, we are excited to have the ability to offer in person photo and video shoots to create authentic video ads for Facebook, Instagram and Google advertising to our Denver area clientele.

For more information or to schedule a digital advertising consultation contact owner and Digital Marketing Expert, Gibranna LaCava gibranna@socialbutterflyadvertising.com

The number one question our ad agency gets is, “How can I get more clients for my salon or beauty business using social media?”

Well, that depends. If you’re a brand new start-up with a limited marketing budget, you can get a lot of new brand awareness, clients and followers using Instagram. Instagram is especially effective if your target audience is ages 18-35.

If you’re a seasoned salon owner, with employees and multiple locations, you are likely using Instagram already and know many of the tips mentioned below. You are ready to take your business to the next level with highly effective, targeted paid ads. We would be happy to manage your ads for you, please contact our office. If this doesn’t describe you, read on for some great, do-it-yourself tips.

Apps for Instagram: Here’s an article with a full list of the best apps to edit photos for Instagram.https://mashable.com/article/best-instagram-editing-apps/#J1rl_4BtNiqq

Content: We always recommend using authentic content, especially for salon and beauty businesses. Stock photos are very run of the mill for salon, skincare and med spa businesses and won’t attract attention unless they are professionally designed. To capture great content use video and pictures of your business, you working with your clients and pictures of your products displayed and video of you performing procedures and services. Try capturing your treatments using the time lapse feature on the iPhone.  Use a Beauty Ring Light to hold the iPhone for you to capture video. For longer service and treatment videos experiment with the time lapse video feature which captures a 20 min treatment and speeds it up into a 2 min video. Instgrammers love behind the scenes videos and pictures.

Frequency: We recommend posting at least 3 times a week or more. Our agency motto is “Quality over Quantity”. A great time to post is 7-8 pm. The volume of Instagrammers are on Instagram in evenings and at night.

Geolocation: Always use the pin on map function and tag your location in your Instagram posts. Instagram’s Geolocation is powered by the Google Map Business Listing, is your business listed on Google? If not visit https://www.google.com/business If your location doesn’t come up yet on Google, tag the salon suite or shopping center your business is located in.

Hashtags: Use the following 3 types of Hashtags.

Brand, Location & Service

  1. Brand Hashtags #yourbusinessname or #yourbusinessinstagramhandle
  2. Location Hashtags ***Location Hashtags will get you the most local followers & show to potential clients. #city #citystate #county search on Instagram to find more location hashtags. Each post should have at least 10 location hashtags
  3. Service Hashtags: Examples #balayage #botox #fillers #prp #microneedling (these will show your post to other skincare or salon people using these hashtags nationally if they are not attached with a location, so use these sparingly) 
  4. Hashtag and tag any product lines or distributers. example #coolsculpting #redken

*Tip: Add all the location hashtags you frequently use to your “Notes” app in your phone, so you can easily copy and paste into each new post.

Happy Instagramming!

  1. Go to https://mapsconnect.apple.com/ and log in with your Apple ID and password. If you don’t already have an Apple ID then you will need to create one at https://mapsconnect.apple.com/getappleid.
  2. Once logged into Apple Maps Connect, click on “View My Businesses”
  3. Click the “+Add” button in the top right and you’ll see the next screen below.
  4. Enter your business name and location then click the search button.
    • If your business isn’t found then you should click on the “Add New Business” link and follow the instructions from there.
    • If your business is found then you should click on the blue “Claim This Business” button and and follow the steps there. This may automatically initiate the verify by phone pop up to display, but you can simply click on “Not Now” come back to that in a few minutes.
  5. Next fill inn all necessary business information, correct the location of your map marker and select up to three appropriate categories.  Be sure your correct hours of operation are displaying and also make sure your company website along with your other social media and other listings are entered.
  6. When you’ve finished with all your entries, Apple Maps will give a chance to review all the details.  Make sure everything is how you want it to be and click “Submit to Apple” to initiate the phone verification process.  You’ll receive a call at the phone number on your Apple Maps listing, so be ready for it.
  7. Once verified, it will take some time for Apple to review and approve any edits.

Apple Maps Connect has a helpful FAQ to help you through this process, so be sure to to look it over if you have any difficulty.

Twitter has just made a big change to the way tweets work.

From today, Twitter is cutting back on what types of content will use up its 140-character limit.

Now, @names in replies, media attachments (like photos, GIFs, videos, and polls) and quoted Tweets will no longer be counted against the valuable 140 characters that make up a tweet. This allows for richer public conversations that are easier to follow on Twitter and ensures people can attach media to tweets without sacrificing the characters they have to express themselves.

Twitter first announced this update back in May but didn’t quite confirm a date when these changes would reach Twitter’s 300m+ users. However, today the company confirmed the update has been rolled out. 

twitter-update

What’s changed? Full details on Twitter’s 140 character update

This update has been much anticipated by many Twitter users and on their blog, Twitter shared the full details of what’s changed:

  • Replies: When replying to a Tweet, @names will no longer count toward the 140-character count. This will make having conversations on Twitter easier and more straightforward, no more penny-pinching your words to ensure they reach the whole group. [Editor’s note: It appears this update hasn’t quite been rolled out yet]
  • Media attachments: A URL at the end of Tweets generated from attaching photos, a video, GIF, poll, Quote Tweet, or DM deep link will not count towards the character limit (URLs typed or pasted inside the Tweet will be counted towards the character limit as they do today).
  • Retweet and Quote Tweet yourself: We’ll be enabling the Retweet button on your own Tweets, so you can easily Retweet or Quote Tweet yourself when you want to share a new reflection or feel like a really good one went unnoticed.
  • Goodbye, .@: These changes will help simplify the rules around Tweets that start with a username. New Tweets that begin with a username will reach all your followers. (That means you’ll no longer have to use the ”.@” convention, which people currently use to broadcast Tweets broadly.) If you want a reply to be seen by all your followers, you will be able to Retweet it to signal that you intend for it to be viewed more broadly.

twitter_may24

How ‘new’ tweets are displayed

The diagram below, shared by Twitter on their dev blog, shows the high-level change to Tweets:

tweet-structure

This diagram shows that when displayed to users, @mentions, URLs and media will all appear outside of the tweet itself, leaving a full 140 characters to play with when composing the text for your tweet.

Also, when a tweet is posted in reply to another account, the name will be displayed in a format similar to below graphic, giving the feel of a threaded conversation (when a Tweet is in reply to multiple people, the name of the person whom the author is directly replying to should be prioritized):

tweet-reply

5 Ways to Make Full Use of Twitter’s 140 Characters

1. Provide more context in replies

One huge benefit of this update is the fact that user @names will no longer count against your 140 characters. Now, whenever you start a tweet in reply to another user, you still have room to say everything you wanted to in your tweet, without having to consider the length of their Twitter handle.

This opens up more space to provide additional details that previously may have taken a couple of tweets. For example, if you’re responding to a customer service question, you could share your reply in 140 characters, but also add a GIF saying “Thanks for reaching out” or a screencast video to further explain how to fix their support issue.

2. Utilize visuals more often

Visuals are a great way to stand out on Twitter. Studies have shown that visual and media attachments on tweets are a big factor in boosting engagement and retweets. One study by Twitter found that photos average a 35% boost in Retweets and videos get a 28% boost:

However, until now, it’s been tricky to convey the message you’d like in your tweet text and also include a media attachment in 140 characters.

When these changes are rolled out, Twitter users will be able to utilize the full 140 characters to share their copy and still include media, without infringing on that limit. For marketers, this means more opportunity to include stunning visuals, videos, product demos, and more within our tweets. For customer support teams, it also provides the chance to share additional content such as screenshots and screencasts to help customers with their support tickets.

3. No more need for the .@ to begin tweets

These changes bring an end to a long-standing Twitter peculiarity where tweets that began with usernames were visible only to users who followed both the person tweeting and the person named. This lead to many users beginning conversations or tweets that mention other users with a ‘.’ before the @name, for example:

tweet

This quirk has always been a little confusing for some of Twitter’s users, both new and old. And Jack Dorsey hopes this change will help to make Twitter a bit easier to grasp: “Unfortunately those rules are hidden, and then they find out later,” Dorsey said to The Verge. “So then they have to learn this weird syntax that kind of looks janky. So we want to take that away first and foremost to remove some of the confusing aspects of the service.”

4. Quote yourself to share longer thoughts

It’s become fairly common to break up a tweet into a couple of sections to fully elaborate and share thoughts. However, with Twitter’s quote option, you can share two tweets that are intertwined and easy to follow – meaning users won’t have to scroll in the timeline of visit your profile to see the first part of your tweet. This gives you 280 characters to play with.

How does it work? Simply share your first tweet, and then quote that tweet and add the rest of your message in the 140 characters available to you in the second tweet.

5. Opportunity for better conversation

Twitter, at its heart, is all about conversation and connecting with others. One of the most important factors in this update is that we now have the opportunity for better conversation on the platform. With usernames not counting against character counts, we can fully embrace the 140 characters available to us to express ourselves.

Previously, having a conversation with two or more participants could become a little difficult as usernames could take up anywhere from 5-20+ characters, leaving little room to get your thoughts across.

In an interview about these changes and how they’ll benefit conversations on Twitter, Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, told The Verge:

“Generally, we want to make sure we’re encouraging a whole lot more conversations on Twitter. This is the most notable change we’ve made in recent times around conversation in particular, and around giving people the full expressiveness of the 140 characters. I’m excited to see even more dialog because of this.”

How this update affects Buffer

Here at Buffer, we’re keen to ensure everything works as it should when Twitter roll these changes out. The updates have a significant impact on tweets, and we’re working to have these changes in place when Twitter open these character count adjustments up to the public.

Over to you

It’s incredibly exciting to see these changes come to Twitter and I can’t wait to see how everyone begins to make the most of their 140 characters alongside all the great media-based content that’s shared on Twitter.

I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on these updates in the comments below: What are you most excited about? Will these changes affect how you use Twitter? I’d love to continue the conversation with you. 

YouTube, the Google-owned video network, boasts over a billion users — almost one-third of all people on the Internet — and every day people watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube and generate billions of views. On mobile alone, YouTube reaches more 18-34 and 18-49 year-olds than any cable network in the U.S.

What’s amazing, though, is that only 9% of small businesses in the U.S. are actively using YouTube, and my hunch is that figure would be pretty accurate worldwide, too.

So why aren’t businesses investing in YouTube?

In short, because video is harder to produce than a blog post or an image.

Or at least that’s the perception many of us have.

In reality, though, video is becoming much easier and cheaper to create. This means there’s a huge opportunity for your business on YouTube.

If you’ve been debating getting started on YouTube or have maybe experimented a little and not yet found your feet, this post is for you. Throughout this post we’ll dive into:

  • The basics of getting your account set up
  • How to create a YouTube channel
  • How to create the perfect channel art
  • Top tips for optimizing your channel.

Ready to start? Let’s go.

youtube-feature

How to create a YouTube channel

Creating a YouTube channel using your Google account

If you have a Google account, you can watch, share and comment on YouTube content. However, Google accounts don’t automatically create YouTube channels. Getting a new channel set up is a simple and quick process, though.

1. Go to YouTube and sign in

Head over to YouTube.com and click ‘sign in’ in the top right corner of the page:

youtube-sign-in

Then log in using the Google Account you’d like your channel to be associated with:

google-account

2. Head over to your YouTube settings

In the top right corner of the screen, click on your profile icon and then the ‘Settings’ cog icon.

youtube-settings

3. Create your channel

Under your settings, you’ll see the option to “Create a channel,” click on this link:

create-a-youtube-channel

Next, you’ll have the option to create a personal channel or a create a channel using a business or other name. For this example, we’ll choose the business option:

youtube-channel

Now, it’s time to name your channel and select a category. The channel options available include:

  • Product or Brand
  • Company Institution or Organization
  • Arts, Entertainment or Sports
  • Other

youtube-channel-name

Note: a new Google+ page will also be created for your brand. 

Congratulations! You’ve just created a new YouTube channel 🙌

youtube-channel-complete

Next, let’s fill out all the information and create some channel art to get your page looking awesome (click here to jump to the next section).

How to create a YouTube channel if you don’t already have a Google account

If you don’t already have a Google account set up, you’ll need to create one before you get started on YouTube. To do this, simply follow the below steps:

  1. Head to YouTube.com
  2. Click ‘Sign In’
  3. Now, choose the option to create a Google account
  4. Follow the steps to create your Google account

Now, you’re all set up with a Google account and can follow the above steps to create a YouTube channel.

How to create YouTube channel art

YouTube channel art is essentially YouTube’s version of the Facebook cover photo. Channel art features in a prominent place on your YouTube channel, which means it’s absolutely vital for any YouTube channel to use customized art to share your personality or more about your brand with your audience.

Here’s an example of Gary Vaynerchuk’s YouTube channel art:

gary-v-youtube

Gary is well-known for his public speaking at conferences and for sharing all he knows about marketing and building businesses with his audience. This is reflected in his cover photo, which displays Gary in mid-flow giving a presentation at what seems to be a large event. The inclusion of his handle @garyvee helps users to identify him on other social chanels and his signature branding makes the art feel personal.

Here’s what you need to know to create striking YouTube channel art…

The perfect sizes for YouTube channel art

The best place to start with your channel art is with the optimal image size that works across multiple devices. For the best results, YouTube recommends uploading a single 2560 x 1440 pixel image.

  • Minimum width: 2048 X 1152 px. This is the “safe area”, where text and logos are guaranteed not to be cut off when displayed on different devices.
  • Maximum width: 2560 X 423 px. This means that the “safe area” is always visible; the areas to each side of the channel art are visible depending on the viewer’s browser size.
  • File size: 4MB or smaller recommended.

YouTube also supplies a Channel Art Template in both PNG and PSD formats to help your figure out the perfect layout for your channel are and how it’ll look across platforms:

channel-art-template-fireworks

Here’s an example of how I used this template to create some channel art for the Buffer YouTube account:

buffer-youtube-channel-art

And here’s how it looks across various platforms:
channel-art

2 top tips for YouTube channel art

1. Ensure any text and logos are within the safe area

The text and logo safe area is the 1546 x 423 pixel space at the center of the YouTube channel art template. This is the area that will be displayed on YouTube when your channel is viewed on desktop screens.

Be careful to ensure any important information such as branding, text, taglines, and key images are within this space so that it’s always displayed as part of your channel art across every device.

2. Consider your channel links

YouTube enables you to add links to your channel and these are displayed in the bottom right corner of your channel art. For example, check the bottom right of the channel art below:

channel-links

When creating your channel art, it’s important to think about the space these links take up and ensure you don’t have anything important (such as logos) occupying that space within your design.

How to add art to your YouTube channel

If you’re just setting up your YouTube channel, you’ll notice the channel art space is blank with a clear call to action to add your art:

blank-channel-art

Once you’ve clicked this link, you’ll see a popup window that gives you the option to upload your own custom channel art. If you’d like to, you can also choose to use one of YouTube’s templates from the “Gallery” or choose to upload one of your photos from Google+.

upload-channel-art

Adjusting the crop

Once you’ve uploaded your channel art, YouTube allows you to adjust the cropping of your image so that you can ensure it’s all lined up correctly.

This crop screen is very handy for checking how your design will look on various platforms. The clear section in the middle of the grid shows you the content that will be displayed on mobile and desktop and the rest of the image shows the image that will be displayed on TVs.

art-adjust-crop

Once you’re happy with the way your cover art looks, click “Select” and your channel art will be added to your channel and saved.

Changing your current channel art

If you already have some channel art in place and would like to update it, head over to your channel homepage. From here, move your mouse over your cover art and you’ll notice a little edit button appear in the top right-hand corner:

edit-icon

Once you’ve clicked on this icon, you can update your channel art.

This video from YouTube also explains how to add and edit your channel art:

How to add your channel icon

Each channel also has space for a profile icon.Your channel icon shows over your channel art banner. It’s the icon that shows next to your videos and channel on YouTube watch pages. The key here is to select something that will look good at very small resolutions –  many brands opt to use their logo here.

Your channel icon should be 800 x 800 pixels and one of the following formats: JPG, GIF, BMP or PNG file (no animated GIFs).

To update your channel icon, head to your channel homepage and hover over your current channel icon until you see the edit icon appear. Click on that icon and you’ll be able to upload a new icon:

edit-channel-ico

5 ways to enhance your channel

1. Optimize your description

YouTube gives you a space on your channel to write a little about your brand and the content you share on YouTube. The description is limited to 1,000 characters, so you have a little room to be creative here.

The copy in your channel description won’t just appear on your channel page. It’s indexed by search engines and can also be featured across YouTube in suggested channel categories. A good tactic is to include some relevant keywords and CTAs within the opening lines of your description.

2. Add links to your channel

channel-links

We briefly mentioned channel links earlier in this post and I’d love to share with you how to add these links in 4 super-quick steps:

1. The first step is to head to your channel homepage and click on the ‘cog’ icon next to your subscriber count:

settings-icon

2. Next, you’ll see a Channel Settings lightbox appear. Here you need to toggle on the option labeled “Customize the layout of your channel”:

channel-options

3. Now that you’ve enabled customizations on your channel, pop back to your channel homepage and you’ll now see the option to “Edit Links” under the settings menu on your cover art:

edit-links

4. Click the “Edit Links” option and you’ll then be taken to the “About” section of your channel. Here you’ll have the option to add links and choose how many are displayed over your cover art:

edit-links

3. Add a channel trailer

As soon as visitors land on your channel, you want to give them a picture of the type of content your channel covers and why they’ll want to subscribe and check out your videos. A channel trailer is the perfect way to do this.

A short, to-the-point channel trailer can be a great way to introduce people to your content. A channel trailer should grab attention as soon as it starts and also represent the type of content you create on YouTube.

It’s also important to think about the description you add to this video as it features prominently on your channel homepage.

(These trailers only appear for people who are not yet subscribed to your channel.)

Here are a couple of great examples:

Gary Vaynerchuk

SoulPancake

4. Add your contact details (email address)

If you’re using YouTube as a business or a creator, it can be great to have your contact details on hand for anyone who is interested in your work. YouTube has a section on each channel profile for you to list your contact details for business inquiries.

This can be found under the “About” section of your channel. To find it, go to your channel homepage, click “About” from the navigation and then scroll down to “Details.” Here you’ll see the option to share your email address:

email-address

Over to you

Thanks for reading. It’s been great fun to dive into how to create a YouTube channel and I hope you picked up one or two tips from this post. If you create a YouTube channel of your own or already have one up and running, I’d love to hear from you and learn from your experience in the comments below.

Do you have any tips to optimize your YouTube channel? 📹

Humans are, by nature, very visual beings.

In the brain itself, there are hundreds of millions of neurons devoted to visual processing, nearly 30 percent of the entire cortex, as compared with 8 percent for touch and just 3 percent for hearing.

Each of the two optic nerves, which carry signals from the retina to the brain, consists of a million fibers, compared to the auditory nerve carrying a mere 30,000.

That’s all to say that social media images are a vital part of your content reaching the maximum amount of people, people who are very visual beings!

Marketers that have dabbled in creating engaging images for social media know just how tough and time-consuming it can be. I’m no expert, but I’ve learned a thing or two about creating social media images after lots of practice (and mistakes!), and I’m excited to share with you my favorite social media design tips and principles to help enhance your social media images.

Let’s dive in! 


Enhancing Social Media Images

Social Media Design Tips: 11 Principles & Tactics to Enhance Your Images

At Buffer, we create all of the images for our blog posts and social media without much outside help — and there are a ton of images! On average, every Buffer blog post has five custom images, and some have way more.

To create these, we rely on 11 simple design principles to help make the image creation process easy. We’re excited to share those with you in this post and how you may be able to apply it to your own workflow.

Got any favorite social media design tips or principles that we’re missing? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!


11 Design Principles and Social Media Design Tips

1. Color

90% of snap judgments made about products are based on color alone

Color is one of the most important and complex aspects of any social media design. It helps to set the mood, create an atmosphere, convey emotions, and even evoke strong individual experiences from someone’s past.

In a study on the impact of color on marketing, researchers found that up to 90% of snap judgments made about products can be based on color alone, depending on the product. Other academic studies on colors in marketing have pointed to the fact that it’s more important for colors to support the personality you want to portray instead of trying to align with typical color associations.

For example, this Help Scout graphic highlights the power of color in conveying personality in a piece of content that reflects positively back on the brand. On the Help Scout Blog you’ll see consistent, eye-catching colors that come off as fun, yet insightful.

HelpScout Color Marketing Examples

The second example from the brand Loulou & Tummie highlights the use of color to market to a specific audience. Loulou and Tummie are known for their eye-catching vector work and the use of color to tell a story and evoke emotion.


Loulou and Tummie Design Inspiration

Use colors in your social media images that guide your audience through a story. Do so by considering which colors help to tell a specific portion of that story. The principles of color theory are a great place to start and can be used to create a sense of harmony within your images.

Here’s a quick rundown of how different colors affect our brain and how they’re often used in storytelling and marketing:

red Red = Energy and urgency

orange Orange = Aggressive

yellow Yellow = Optimistic and youthful

green Green = Wealth and relaxation

blue Blue = Trust and security

pink Pink = Romantic and feminine

black Black = Powerful and sleek

purple Purple = Soothing and calm

2. Balance

The 4 different types of balance (including the one you’re probably thinking of)

The art of balance in the world of social media image design is a tricky one to get the hang of, but well worth the effort. A great way to think of balance is to imagine that each element of your design has a “weight behind it.”

Put another way: If you were to place the image on a balance scale, would it tip to one side?

It’s also important to remember that different elements carry different weight; balance does not have to be split right down the middle. There are 4 varying types of balance:

  1. symmetrical
  2. asymmetrical
  3. radial (picture a spiral staircase)
  4. crystallographic (picture a tray of donuts with different toppings)

All of these can make for a beautiful social media design.

Take for example, this stunning graphic from artist and illustrator George Bokhua:


Pink Lotus - George Bokhua

This image demonstrates the beautiful use of symmetrical balance and the feeling of harmony. Symmetrical balance is great for illustrations, drawings, blog graphics, photographs, and much more.

On the other hand, there’s asymmetrical balance like shown in this image example:


Asymmetrical Balance Example

Asymmetrical balance creates tension through contrast and can be visually interesting when done correctly. Because it’s abstract, there is no symmetry; there are no perfect mirror images.

One place we find balance to be important is in choosing stock images. The collection of photos at Unsplash is a great example of a photo collection that excels by taking balance into account, like with this image:



canyon


If you’re creating an image of your own, in order to balance the weight in your image, play around with different things such as size of items, lightness and darkness of items, warm and cool colors, texture, quantity of objects, isolation of objects, and orientation (vertical/horizontal/diagonal) of objects.

3. Lines

Straight lines imply order. Curved lines hint at movement.

Lines are the visual elements of your image that help to guide the eye to where you want it to go. Straight lines work to give the image a sense of order and tidiness while crooked or curved lines may give the image a sense of organized tension and movement.

Paying close attention to the use of lines throughout your image can help guide your audience along a visual journey, stopping at the most important and intentional elements along the way.

Let’s take a peek at this incredible example of the power of lines from Muti:


Illustration of Lines in Graphic Design from Muti

The use of clean diagonal lines throughout the illustration takes your eyes to different areas in a quick and efficient manner. Almost creating “sections” in the image with different cities as multiple focal points.

Now compare that to the curved lines of this illustration from the same artist, Muti, and how it creates a sense of motion. That motion leading you around the graphic until you land back at the center focal point:


American Express Graphic by Muti Studio

When adding lines to your image, pay close attention to where they draw the reader’s eyes. Aim to create a logical path that the reader can follow along with until they come to the point that you intended them to.

4. Typography

Traditionally, serif fonts are best for print and sans-serif for web

Typography is an art. Selecting the perfect font or set of fonts that work seamlessly together can bring your social media image to life. It also has a big impact on how your design is received by people and, ultimately, the message your brand intentionally (or unintentionally) sends across.

When selecting which font or fonts to use in your design one of the most important aspects to keep in mind is readability. 

Graphic designer Paul Rand may have put it best when he said, “Don’t try to be original, just try to be good.”

Whether you choose a sans-serif font or a serif font or any variation in-between, make sure that your audience can read your message. Here are a few pro-tips for using fonts:

  • Limit your design to a maximum of 3 typefaces
  • Use font sizing that fits well within the medium that you are publishing to
  • Traditionally, serif fonts are best for print and sans-serif for web
  • Kerning is a great technique to use in your titles

And for those that are curious about other typography terminology, this nifty infographic will help!


Typography Principles Inforgraphic

5. Contrast

Add contrast with colors, shapes, and sizes

Have you ever heard someone say that an illustration or design “really popped“?

What they may be referring to is the contrast in an image. Contrast provides differentiation between elements, making one stand out or “pop” more than the other elements.

The use of effective contrast is a great way to enhance your social media images. Without contrast, your design runs the risk of being “flat.” But with too much contrast, your design can become cluttered and nothing will stand out.

Here are my 3 favorite ways to add contrast to an image without under or overdoing it.

Add Contrast with Colors

One of the easiest ways to implement contrast into your image designs is through the use of colors. For example, playing light colors off of dark colors, or vice-versa. In this image, I used a white font in contrast to the dark background making the wording both readable and visually appealing.


Color contrast example

Add Contrast with Shapes

Another way to easily add contrast to your image is through the use of shapes. This beautiful graphic from Canva helps to highlight just how well the conformity of symmetrical shapes can play alongside the asymmetrical nature of organic shapes.


Contrast Shapes and Design

Add Contrast with Sizes

In its simplest form, contrast can easily be added to enhance your social media images by making certain aspects of the design bigger or smaller than others. It can also mean adding more weight (like bolding a word) to elements.

This restaurant advertisement draws the audience to the name, “1913,” first and then to other areas of the image such as the word “restaurant” and eventually to the picture of the food in the background.

Size Contrast in Social Media Image Design

6. Scale

Zoom out on a concept, or zoom in with your font choices

Scale, by definition, refers to the deliberate sizing of various elements within your design. “Scaling” helps to bring certain elements into focus and allows your readers to make sense of a concept.

Think for a second and try to imagine your life in number of months or even days. Can you imagine it?

This wonderful illustration by Tim Urban illustrates the powerful effects of scaling.


Human Life in Months - Wait But Why

Scaling also works well for more concrete social media designs. Take a look at the image below:

 


Social media design tips from Buffer


In this visual, I’m aiming to draw you towards the quote first with a scaled-up font size. Once I’ve gained your curiosity from the quote, I’m hoping your eyes naturally move right to the balloon. And finally, you’re drawn to the message of the graphic, “Happy Teachers Month.”

Did it work?

7. Proximity

Group similar items together to declutter and organize

Proximity is paramount when creating a sense of organization within your design. Similar or related elements are best grouped together to create a relationship between them. The goal is to group items together to declutter your design and “tidy things up a bit.”

You can put the principle of proximity into action by connecting similar elements together. One easy way is by physical placement of the objects near each other. The other way is to connect them in other visual ways with the use of similar colors, fonts, size, etc.

This simple example shows how proximity can be used to help us perceive objects as being related. The circles are spread out, each being perceived as its own object.

Example of Proximity 1 - Social Media Design

Then, once we bring all of the circles in close to each other, they appear to lose the feeling that they are separate objects. It is perceived to be more of a whole, singular shape.

Example of Proximity 2 - Social Media Design

When put into something like a social media design, proximity can help to bring elements of a product or concept together through spacial relationships.

8. Hierarchy

Place the most important elements in the biggest fonts

It’s quite likely that you’ll be working with multiple elements in your social media design. And chances are each of those elements will be important to your overall message. Hierarchy is a great social media design tip to make sure that you’re getting your most important message across first.

Taking full advantage of the hierarchy design principle starts with an understanding of your goals. Establish the most crucial message as the focal point and then use the other design principles in this article to make it stand out.

Once that’s in place, you can start to build your second or third pieces of information in without taking away from the overall goal.

A great example is here in this travel advertisement. The image draws the reader into “travel” and then leads them to the secondary messages.


Example of Hierarchy - Social Media Design Tips

It even works for simple social media designs such as quotes. The main focal point being the quote itself followed by any secondary information such as author or source.


Social Media Design Tips - Hierarchy Example


 9. Repetition

Always use the same set of fonts, colors, and logos

One of the easier design elements to enhance your social media images is the principle of repetition. Repetition is an important part of the process because it helps to establish and strengthen different elements.

It’s also what people often refer to as “consistent branding.”

Three things to always try and be consistent with in your designs are fonts, colors, and logos. Over time, repetition of these 3 elements will give you or your brand a unique and instantly recognizable look. Let’s check out a few examples to illustrate the simple use of repetition in design.

Remember this Apple advertisement? Catchy for its colorful and playful nature, the use of repetition in this image helps to create consistent association. It also does just what it set out to do and that’s give a sense of movement or dancing in the image.


Apple Ad, Repetition, social media design tips

Repetition is also important when building a personal brand. Take these beautiful business cards from Alan Murphy, for example. Whether you’re a big brand or a one-person shop, repetition helps you become recognizable over time.

Personal Branding Business Cards - Social Media Design Tips

10. Direction

People read in an “F” pattern, an “E” pattern, and a “Z” pattern

The way the human eye moves across designs, images, websites, and other visual elements is unique, but often consistent. That’s why it’s important to guide your audience along the “path” that you’d like them to follow in your image. In other words, create a deliberate “flow.”

Website design research has given us an inside look at how people tend to view websites when arriving for the first time. What they found was that we read in an “F” pattern, an “E” pattern, and sometimes a “Z” pattern. So placing important and eye-catching elements on the upper left and left side of your design is key.

Crazy Egg created a great infographic on data found from their eye-tracking experiments along with ways in which you can improve your design. Enjoy!


Crazy Egg Eye Tracking Social Media Design Tips

11. Space

Look for outlines in your images. Advanced tip: Try knolling!

I saved one of my favorite social media design tips for last and that is the use of space. Put simply, negative space or white space is the area surrounds other objects in the image. More often than not, what you choose to leave out from your image is just as important as what you add.

Try not to underestimate the power of simplicity in your design. Space can help bring a certain aesthetic quality to your image while also highlighting the most important elements.

I’d love to show you two examples of the wonderful effects of using space in your designs. The first is from artist, illustrator, and graphic designer Tang Yau Hoong who has seemingly mastered the art of space in design. Tang Yau Hoong intentionally and cleverly carves out shapes in negative space to create a mesmerizing feel.


Negative and White Space in Design - Social Media Design Tips 2

When adding shapes, fonts, or colors to your design, consider what shapes or outlines are forming around them and use them to your advantage. You may quickly realize that your design is taking shape in ways you hadn’t originally planned.

The second example is from the world of photography. Knolling is a technique that has really come on strong in the last few years. The white space surrounding each element really helps to bring out each piece individually.


Knolling Example 1 - Social Media Design Tips 2

Keep your images simple and use the space around objects to bring attention to important elements. I love this graphic from Cinch that really highlights the power of simple design.


Cinch, Graphic Design Example, social media design

“Designers and marketers know they have ‘achieved perfection’ not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

– Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Over to You

I hope you enjoyed learning a bit about social media design! It is truly amazing how small tweaks to images can have such a huge effect on quality and outcome.

Did I miss any of your favorite social media design tips above? I would love to learn from you! 

Please feel free to drop a comment below to keep the conversation going.

More Awesome Design Resources

Design Elements and Principles – Canva

8 Basic Design Principles to Help You Create Better Graphics – Adobe

Why Every Marketer in 2016 Needs to Be a (Part-Time) Designer – Buffer

Most people don’t read content online. In fact, eight out of ten people will only read the headline.

For content writers, that fact is alarming. But it also places extra importance on the headlines we choose for our content, as headlines have the power to influence readers even if they don’t read any more of the article.

I don’t believe the perfect headline exists, though. Not anymore, anyway.

The evolution of social media and search has also complicated the playing field. When we write a headline, we no longer think only about driving clicks from a single channel like our homepage; we now need to think about search and social, too.

In this post, I’d love to share with you what I’ve discovered about headlines, how they’ve evolved and what makes a headline stand out on Facebook, Twitter, and search.

Let’s dive in.

What makes an irresistible headline

One of my favorite headlines of all time is:

“How to Win Friends and Influence People”

win-friends

This headline helped to sell millions of copies of Dale Carniegie’s book of the same name. It’s brilliant. Short, simple and intriguing and makes me want to know more. However, if it were to be written again in 2016, it may sound a little different.

The evolution of headlines

It’s pretty safe to say that a headline determines how many people will read a piece. But, the evolution of social media has led content publishers to rethink their approach to headlines completely. As a result, the perfect headline no longer exists and we now must craft an eye-catching, clickable headline for almost every channel where our content can be discovered.

We now have to craft an eye-catching, clickable headline for almost every channel where our content can be discovered

It’s important to think about all the various places people may discover your content: search engines, Facebook, Twitter, your homepage, etc. And it’s very rare that one size fits all when it comes to headlines. What stands out on Facebook might not get any clicks from a Google search results page.

For example, in 2016, the famous “How to Win Friends and Influence People” headline may look something like this:

On Facebook:

12 Life Lessons to Help You Win Friends and Influence People 

On Google: 

Life Lessons: How to Win Friends and Influence People

On a homepage:

How to Win Friends and Influence People: 12 Lessons to Live By

Headlines change the way we think and set our expectations

First impressions matter. Even with the articles we read online. And just as we choose to make a good impression offline through the way we dress and our body language, the headline of an article can also go a long way to shaping the reader’s perception of what is to follow, as Maria Konnikova explains in The New Yorker:

By drawing attention to certain details or facts, a headline can affect what existing knowledge is activated in your head. By its choice of phrasing, a headline can influence your mindset as you read so that you later recall details that coincide with what you were expecting.

For instance, the headline of this article I wrote—”A Gene That Makes You Need Less Sleep?”—is not inaccurate in any way. But it does likely prompt a focus on one specific part of the piece. If I had instead called it “Why We Need Eight Hours of Sleep,” people would remember it differently.

Headlines affect our memory

Ullrich Ecker, a psychologist at the University of Western Australia has completed a couple of studies on how headlines that are even slightly misleading can affect how we read content.

In the first study, Ecker and his team discovered that misleading headlines affect readers’ memory, their inferential reasoning, and behavioral intentions. Essentially, if a biased headline influences you, that tends to be what you’ll remember no matter what you’re subsequently told in the rest of the article. 

In the second study, Ecker had people read four articles (two factual, two opinion). What’s interesting in this study is the difference Ecker discovered between headlines in factual and opinion-led pieces. Misleading headlines in factual pieces were easier to ignore, and readers were able to correct the impressions left by the headline. However, in the case of opinion articles, a misleading headline impaired the reader’s ability to make accurate conclusions.

In summary, the headline of your article can greatly affect what your reader takes away from it.

For example, if I had titled this article “The evolution of headlines” it’s likely that you may remember more about how headlines have changed as the internet has evolved. And the headline “How to write headlines for Facebook, Twitter and Search”  would likely put the reader’s focus on the section below, hopefully putting more emphasis on the actionable takeaways you can use from this piece.

As writers and content creators, we have a great duty to ensure our headlines best reflect the content of our articles. And give readers the best possible chance to remember the key points of our piece.

8 strategies to help you write great headlines for social and search

Writing great headlines is hard. And in this section, I’d love to share 8 headline strategies to help you craft headlines for Facebook, Twitter and search.

How to write great headlines for Facebook

Facebook is a huge traffic driver for many websites. (It’s been our number one or two social referrer for the past three years.)

And after recent algorithm updates, we’re now likely to see a lot less clickbait stories sticking around in our news feeds and seeing sustained engagement. This feels like a good move, but also raises the question: What kinds of headlines perform best on Facebook?

In order to dig a little further into what works on Facebook, Newswhip studied the various types of headlines that resonate with users on Facebook and that consistently receive high levels of engagement.

Here’s a quick summary of what they found to work:

  1. Conversational and descriptive headlines
  2. Headlines focused on personal experience
  3. Headlines that aren’t misleading

1. Conversational and descriptive headlines

Newswhip found that many of the most successful stories they analyzed had extremely descriptive headlines, or used language that reads in a conversational tone. For example:

business insider

These types of headlines tend to perform well because you are letting the reader know what they will gain from reading your content.

At Buffer, we also like to accompany our content with a descriptive status:

One trick I like to use for writing descriptive, conversational headlines is to think about how you would describe this story to a friend in a coffee shop and use the same, warm, friendly tone in your headline.

When it comes to writing in a conversational style, it often means forgetting a lot of what your English teacher may have taught you, too. If you’ve ever looked at a transcript of a conversation, you’ll notice it’s full of grammatical mistakes, half-finished sentences, and similar faux-pas. Writing in a conversational tone doesn’t necessarily mean writing as you talk. But instead, writing so that it doesn’t sound like writing.

2. Headlines focused on personal experience

Facebook has traditionally been a place for  personal stories and blogs, opinion articles, and other personal angled stories to flourish. And Newswhip found that first person posts and unique viewpoints tend to get people sharing heavily, especially if it’s a topic that they can relate to personally.

Here’s an example of a recent headline from our Open Blog that focused on personal experience:

family-leave

3. Headlines that aren’t misleading 

In the blog post accompanying their latest algorithm update, Facebook explained that there are two specific criteria they use to determine whether a headline is misleading:

  1. If the headline withholds information required to understand what the content of the article is
  2. If the headline exaggerates the article to create misleading expectations for the reader

For example, the headline “You’ll Never Believe Who Tripped and Fell on the Red Carpet…” withholds information required to understand the article (What happened? Who Tripped?). The headline “Apples Are Actually Bad For You?!” misleads the reader (apples are only bad for you if you eat too many every day).

This means the “You’ll never guess what happened next” headline formula will no longer be as successful on Facebook. And instead, we should switch to more detailed headlines that inform the reader what they’ll be reading about once they click.

How to write great headlines for Twitter

Tweets are just like headlines.

They need to attract attention and get the reader to read to click on the link. And while there’s no guaranteed formula for success on Twitter, we’ve found the best headlines and Tweets are the ones that state a benefit and generate curiosity.

Twitter is also a great place to share content multiple times and test out various headlines to see which ones resonate most with your audience. This approach helped Tami Brehse to increase her traffic by nearly 50% in just 30 days.

To give you an example of what’s working for us, here are a couple of our most-clicked tweets:

The best times to post to seven different social media sites: http://t.co/7gCkIRnePd pic.twitter.com/NuptU5DAkG

— Buffer (@buffer) July 23, 2014

The difference between knowledge and experience in one image: http://t.co/AH2zaR7gdM pic.twitter.com/SzgHdTJz9r

— Buffer (@buffer) January 15, 2014

Both of these examples have clear images to convey the message within the tweet, making it more eye-catching for people as they scroll through their feed. The images also give the reader a great idea of what the content within the article will be.

Both tweets also create curiousity and a knowledge gap for readers. This entices readers to click on the link and feed their curiousity.

Further reading: Check out our research into our most successful tweets and why they worked

How to write great headlines for search

Standing out in search is a completely different game to standing out on social platforms like Facebook and Twitter. With social platforms, you’re trying to grab the reader’s attention and stand out in their timeline. Whereas in search, the user is specifically looking for content focused on their search phrase.

Here are a few tips that have worked for us:

1. Front-load your title 

Google puts more weight on the words at the beginning of your title tag. And if you’re trying to rank for specific keywords, a good strategy is to place those keywords at the beginning of your headline.

If you wanted to rank for “social media tips”, then chances are that this headline:

Social Media Tips: 10 Ways to Grow Your Social Media Audience

… would be seen as more relevant to the topic “social media tips” than this headline:

Grow Your Social Media Audience with These 10  Awesome Social Media Tips

Of course, there’s much more that comes into play when it comes to Google rankings, but keeping your keywords as near to the beginning of your title as possible can help.

Here’s a real-world example. If you search Google for “Instagram stories” you’ll notice many of the results will have those keywords right at the front of the headline:

seo-headlines

Keep it short (between 50-60 characters)

SEO experts Moz explain:

Google typically displays the first 50-60 characters of a title tag, or as many characters as will fit into a 512-pixel display. If you keep your titles under 55 characters, you can expect at least 95% of your titles to display properly. Keep in mind that search engines may choose to display a different title than what you provide in your HTML. Titles in search results may be rewritten to match your brand, the user query, or other considerations.

Use your brand name

If your brand is well-known within your target market then attaching it to the end of your headline can lead to more trust and clicks. A study from Engaging New Project found that people react not only to the type of headline but also to the source of the headline.

If you’re a trusted source, it can be beneficial to share your brand name in search results.

How to create multiple headlines for your content

At Buffer, we use a really handy tool called Yoast SEO which allows us to set various headlines for different channels. This means every post we write can have up to four separate headlines at any one time:

  • Headline on our homepage
  • Headline for search
  • Headline for Twitter
  • Headline for Facebook

Here’s an example of Yoast in action:

yoast-seo

To write a custom headline for search, Facebook, and Twitter, you can toggle between the different Yoast SEO tabs by clicking on the icons at the left.

Over to you

Headlines are fascinating and probably the most important part of any piece of content. Right now, it feels like we’re in the midst of another evolution and moving away from some sensationalistic headlines that become popular with the rise of social media and towards more descriptive and detailed headlines.

Do you create multiple headlines for your content? What have you found works for each channel?

I’d love to continue the conversation in the comments below.