People absorb information through text and visuals, creating a mental memory of what they’ve seen, and felt. Your brand’s social media aesthetic is integral to how your target market perceives your brand. Not only that, but it also influences their decision towards following and engaging with your content.
As a business owner, marketing strategist or social media manager, do you sometimes wonder:
- If your social media looks as good as it should be?
- Are your Facebook and LinkedIn pages inviting to the viewer?
- Do your Instagram Reels and Stories feel relatable to your audience?
Let me ask you this: How are you making sure that your social media profiles and content represent your brand in every way?
Building a solid social media aesthetic is easy when you have a robust foundation. This guide takes you step-by-step on what you need to do to build a memorable social media aesthetic.
But wait, what is a social media aesthetic to begin with? It’s the overall look and feel of your social media profiles. It’s not just about the headers and profile images, but also the content you post on each channel. Your aesthetic encompasses all the social media visual content associated with your brand.
The easiest way to start with a social media aesthetic is to do it on Instagram and then expand it to other channels. That’s where the whole idea of a social media aesthetic began, so you might as well take advantage of the platform to build your own.
- Present social media graphic dimensions
- Create and resize content quickly and easily
- Engage your audience through visuals
A social media aesthetic has a unifying concept, depending on your brand style. Here are some we’ve seen being used by brands on Instagram and other social media channels:
- A unifying color scheme.
- Unique sets of branded illustrations that make appearances in different ways.
- Interesting way of laying out text on visuals.
- Only photography or only video.
- A background that connects between images to create a larger image (Instagram).
- Special use of emoji in their captions.
- Messaging tone that is unique to them.
- One person or a group of people that make appearances in videos.
- Visual content batching according to specific campaigns.
The social media aesthetic style you choose for your brand depends on the story you want to tell. Every example above has a brand guidelines foundation; the difference is how it’s used.
Also, you might not have the same aesthetic for all your channels. YouTube can look one way, and Instagram another way. The screenshot below is of the Samandishe YouTube channel.
As you can see, our Instagram looks different.
Start With Your Brand Identity
Hopefully, at this point, you already have a visual brand strategy set up for your business. It’ll make creating a social media aesthetic that much easier.
Don’t reinvent the wheel if you already have a brand guidelines document! Use all that work you’ve already done to build the social media aesthetic that mirrors your brand seamlessly.
The colors, fonts, brand images, and textures act as a library of building blocks to create your social media aesthetic and all the visual content you plan to share both internally and externally.
Use your Samandishe Brand Kit to organize your brand assets and the Samandishe Brand Wizard to create an initial batch of visual content to help you visualize an aesthetic that lives up to your brand.
Your brand identity will push your story into the visualization of your social media profiles. The why and how of your brand should be the foundation of every touchpoint so that the viewer has a good recollection of your aesthetic.
For example, take a look at the brand guidelines template below. Not only does the document show the essential components of the brand, but it’s also designed with the brand front and center. Take this as inspiration for your social media posts.
Research and Analyze Your Target Market
Now that you have a brand identity in place and a library of assets to help you build a social media aesthetic, it’s time to dig deeper into knowing who you’re aiming to reach and communicate with.
In your marketing analysis, did you create user or client personas? Use these as a starting point to learn more about how your target market spends time on social media. Browse the brand accounts they follow and take note of how they react to the content. What are they reposting or creating themselves?
Collect visual information from these sources to use as a reference as you and your team set up an aesthetic. Keep in mind that the initial aesthetic you come up with might change and pivot according to your market’s shifts and evolution over time. This is normal; remember that a social media presence must be agile and relevant.
Find Your Unique Angle
For your social media aesthetic to stand out from the crowd, you’ll need to find a unique angle for your brand while also being relatable to the other accounts in your niche.
Finding a unique aesthetic that doesn’t mimic others isn’t that easy when so many brands use the same stock photos, videos and designs. You have to create your own spin for it or source brand visuals that no one else will have.
Take a look at how your competitors manage their social media aesthetic. Have they put a lot of thought into it, or does it look messy and haphazard? Take note of the ones that look like they need improvement and compare them to those you think are well achieved.
Don’t just look at the social media aesthetic of brands in your industry. Look beyond that into complementary industries and even some that are different. Inspiration is best served in many flavors, so take your time.
Use your market research plus your brand strategy document to develop a group of words that describe your brand. You might even have these words from when you went through the steps of a branding strategy. If so, you’re ready to get going with the next step.
Create a Visual Mood Board
Next up, put together a mood board using your brand assets and new ideas that you gathered from your research. Creating a mood board with Samandishe is easy; you can use a template or start from scratch.
Imagine we’re starting with a blank canvas, but here’s a template to help you visualize what a mood board looks like.
This particular example shows a color palette and photos in that color story, plus a noticeable “easy-going” mood. Can’t you just imagine a whole Instagram feed in this mood?
Follow these steps to create the mood board for your social media aesthetic.
- The first content to go on the mood board is your brand colors. On the canvas, add a regular shape, like a square, and duplicate it as many times as you have colors. Change the color hex code on each square until you have all your brand colors on display.
- Now get those words you put together to describe your brand. Do an image search with those words and see what comes up. Look specifically at images with people, interesting illustrations, textures, and backgrounds. Download the ones that feel like they match the words and your brand’s vibe. Use Google to find more image results if you don’t find what you need in Samandishe. Try sites like Rawpixel and Freepik for searching.
- Add the selected images to the mood board. No need to use the full photo, try crops and frames to fit more visuals in the space. Mix photography with illustration, icons, textures, and video.
- Don’t go overboard with the amount of content you add. The idea is to get a feel for your aesthetic, not create all your visuals in one mood board. Remember what a mood board is for, to set the mood.
Outline a Voice, Tone and Messaging Identity
Before you go ahead and start designing headers and content for your social media aesthetic, you also have to work on crafting the perfect bios, descriptions and link options. Not all social media channels allow for the same number of characters in the about section. You’ll have to figure out a way to say the same thing differently.
The wording of your bios and descriptions is part of your aesthetic. Why? Visitors capture a sense of what your brand stands for, what you solve and for whom. This is where your copywriting skills will come in handy. Does your brand have a tagline or slogan? Now is a great time to use it.
Additionally, work on a voice, tone and messaging identity for all captions and post descriptions. For example, is your tone “business-friendly” or “disruptive and witty?” Have a clear idea before creating the content for your social media aesthetic.
Finally, choose a formatting style for your social media captions. What emojis can or cannot be used? How often should there be a line break? Will links be shortened? What are the hashtags that must be used? Remember that this, too, is an agile aspect of your communication; it will change and evolve.
Take a look at how Hubspot’s Facebook page looks at the moment with its pirate-inspired messaging.
Create Visuals in Your Aesthetic
It’s time to create the visuals to make up your social media aesthetic. Here’s a rundown of specific graphics you’ll need to start:
- Headers: One for every channel in the specified dimensions. Make sure all headers look similar to each other, so there’s no confusion between channels. If you wish to make them different, use similar color stories, textures and elements.
- Profile image: Your logo or photo. Make sure it fits inside a circle and looks crisp.
- Pinned post: Most social media channels have an option to pin one of your best posts to the top of the page. Create yours with this in mind; every person who visits your profile will see this post first.
- Link gallery: A link gallery is a destination where a visitor can go and find a selection of your best links. This is an excellent resource for Instagram, where posts, videos and reels don’t have links that visitors can navigate to. A link gallery is part of your aesthetic because you can choose how it looks. Our favorites are LinkTree, Shorby and Znap.
With all your channels ready and visually linked to each other, it’s time to start sharing content in your social media aesthetic. These are the main types of content you should be sharing regularly:
- Video: Post horizontal videos on YouTube, Facebook and LinkedIn and vertical videos in Stories, Reels YT Shorts and TikTok.
- Infographics: The standard vertical infographic is best shared on Pinterest, but infographics in other dimensions are great for all other channels.
- Carousels: These are social media swipe files that are great for telling longer social media stories that need tapping or swiping to see complete.
Make Reusable Templates
Nothing in marketing saves as much time as templates. A significant part of having a social media aesthetic is that it makes template creation easier. But the question is, when do you create templates? Do you create them at the beginning while you’re putting together the aesthetic for your brand? Or do you do it after you’ve seen how some content performs over others?
The best answer to these questions is a bit of both. Use the Samandishe Brand Wizard to automatically generate branded templates, which you can use as-is or edit as you like. The order in which you add the colors to the wizard will generate the templates differently, so try a couple of different color orders for variety. This initial set of templates can also inspire other designs in your organization, not just for social media.
Analyze your posts on social media to know which content style performs better, then create templates of this type from inside your Samandishe workspace. To create reusable templates, follow these steps:
- Give the project you want to turn into a template, a memorable name.
- Enter your My Brand section of your workspace and navigate to the Templates tab.
- In the Search box, enter the project’s name.
- When you find the project you need, tap to add it to your templates.
Repurpose Branded Content
A good branding strategy fits seamlessly with a social media aesthetic. When visuals in your blog, website, communication documents and beyond match each other, you can safely say that you’ve hit branding gold. Your brand aesthetic is interconnected both internally and externally. It should be easy to repurpose content from other places to use on social media. With minimal editing, the content fits easily with your social media aesthetic.
Build a Powerful Brand Identity
Your brand is so much more than just your logo. Download this guidebook to learn how to perfect your visual brand and your brand story to connect with your audience on another level.
Here are some ideas:
- Turn a blog post into a printable PDF, audio file or video.
- Create carousels with blog content.
- Make transcription PDFs of your videos.
- Turn your spreadsheets and tables into data visualizations.
- Use a long-form case study to create a series of social media posts.
- Take one infographic and turn it into a series of small ones.
- Remix user-generated content into your aesthetic.
- Design short videos with content from recorded webinars.
Use a Content Calendar
Create content in batches, so you know what it’ll all look like together once it’s posted. This is especially true for Instagram, where content is placed near each other. A great way to plan and visualize visual content ahead of time is by using a content calendar.
The Samandishe Content Calendar is right inside your workspace. It’s easy to schedule branded content made with Samandishe to your social media channels. No need to download and upload to another tool. Filter by channel to see what you have planned and get the most out of your efforts. Other social media schedulers include Agorapulse, Buffer and Sendible. Try a variety of tools until you find your favorite.
A good social media strategy includes both scheduled and impromptu content that falls within the parameters of the predetermined social media aesthetic. Sharing other people’s content on your social media channels, for example, should also match your overall messaging. You can’t control the way other brands’ posts look, but you can add a caption that matches your aesthetic.
Do Social Listening, Rinse, Repeat
Always analyze your social media aesthetic’s performance. Keep track of the best-performing posts by browsing the analytics for each social media channel. Use the analytics services offered inside each channel, or use an agency standard scheduler with analytics features.
Use social listening tools to get an even better idea of how your social media aesthetics and strategy are performing. Keep tabs on all mentions of your brand and related keywords on social media. Find out what people are saying about you and your competitors. Some social media schedulers, like Agorapulse and Sendible, offer social listening features. But for a deeper look, get a subscription with Talkwalker.
As you do this, adjust and pivot your social media aesthetic and messaging towards what works. Back away and pivot from the ones that aren’t working.
Social Media Aesthetic Examples
What does a social media aesthetic look like?
Here are some examples of authentic brand social media channels with a memorable aesthetic. There’s one more important thing to note when talking about a social media aesthetic. Whatever a visitor sees upon arriving at your channel, regardless of what device they’re doing it from, is what’ll make the first impression. This area of the screen is called “above the fold” and is what shows up before you scroll.
Looking at these examples, notice how their aesthetic is obvious above the fold and the scrolling is only supporting the overall mood.
1. Mailchimp on Instagram
The Mailchimp aesthetic on Instagram is based on a combination of photography, bold colors, interesting typography and shapes. When you scroll through their feed, you’ll notice that the content is created in batches by style. There are posts that look similar to others, with only some things different. All these styles are, in a sense, different, but they all fit together to make up the overall Mailchimp aesthetic.
2. Hootsuite on LinkedIn
The first impression of a LinkedIn Page aesthetic is based on the combination of the header, profile image and pinned post / newest post / most engaged post. In the example below of the Hootsuite LinkedIn page, they’ve taken advantage of the header real estate to promote their Digital 2022 Report. The header uses the Hootsuite colors, as does the first post you see.
3. Semrush on LinkedIn
One of the content arcs of Semrush’s social media aesthetic is infographics with lots of helpful data. Here are three LinkedIn posts with these infographics. The Semrush team creates infographics in various dimensions for different channels. These vertical ones are posted on LinkedIn, while on Twitter they are smaller and also interspersed with memes and funny content. Notice how all these infographics use Semrush colors.
4. The New York Times on Facebook
The social media aesthetic for The New York Times is clean and simple, much like its website and printed counterpart. Using this technique to transport the mood from the website to social media is an excellent way to keep everything on brand and not distract from the content.
5. Figma on YouTube
Figma’s branding is very colorful and its YouTube channel is a testament to its guidelines. Their video thumbnails use bold colors, branded illustrations and a unique font. It’s easy to recognize these thumbnails as Figma’s even when you see them mixed with others on the explore page.
6. Twitter on Twitter
Finally, we have Twitter on Twitter. The social media aesthetic in this case is as simple as it gets. Their tweets are always text-based; only their retweets have occasional visuals. Their header is funny, in a meme sort of way. Twitter stays true to what they are, and its aesthetic is proof of it.
Build a Strong Social Media Aesthetic With Samandishe
It’s your turn to put together an aesthetic for your social media. Remember to follow the steps we laid out for you in this guide:
- Start with your brand identity
- Research and analyze your target market
- Find your unique angle
- Create a visual mood board
- Outline a voice, tone and messaging guideline
- Create visuals in your aesthetic
- Make reusable templates
- Repurpose branded content
- Use a content calendar
- Do social listening, rinse, repeat
Samandishe can help you at every step of this journey, from putting together a Brand Kit, generating templates, creating unique visuals and more. Plus, you’re able to work as a team, assigning tasks, leaving comments and organizing all files and projects in any way that makes it more productive for your team.
Are you ready to take your social media to the next level with a strong aesthetic that will invite more viewers and followers? Improve your brand awareness with a strong identity that expands from website to social media and beyond.
Go all out and create a team account with all the features your team needs to succeed.