Full-service agencies typically offer both advertising services and organic social media management (like us!). Both require graphic design services, but the design approach is entirely different.

Quick Difference Between the Two 

Your social media platforms are your chance to be transparent and show off your personality, which will help you build trust with your customers. You can typically take a less formal approach, but this doesn’t give you the go-ahead for lazy design. You’ll still want to create eye-catching and thoughtfully designed graphics that prompt your customers to engage. 

The goal of advertising is to persuade action, so make design decisions that work towards striking an emotional chord with your audience—it’s not enough to just inform people about your product or service.

Designing for Organic Social Media

You want people to feel like they belong in your brand’s space on social media, not like they’re being sold something. The best way to do this is to create an environment that reflects the values of your brand in an authentic way. Your audience will see themselves in those posts and begin to feel like they’re part of your community.

Push the boundaries a bit more with these posts. You can try out busier graphics and lengthier copy because you’re not as limited on your audience’s viewing time. Often, we’ve seen that a playful, relaxed approach to social media design will draw your followers in, but ultimately, it depends on your industry. Carousel posts, for example, are a great way to spread out and organize information in a visually interesting way.

Take a look at the sparkling water brand Spindrift’s Instagram. They balance their feed with video, photography, and graphics to create an engaging and fun-to-stalk feed. 

Designing Paid Social Media Ads

You will want to take a more polished approach to ad design. If your viewers aren’t following you on social media, your paid ads may be your audience’s first impression. In this case, it’s important to stick closely to your brand guidelines to develop a recognizable look and feel. You want to gain the trust of your audience, whereas, with social media, you may have already established that trust.

Digital ads are transient – you only have but a few seconds to hold your viewers’ attention until the ad is gone. Consider emphasizing keywords to ensure that the way it’s intended to read will be clear to your audience. Typography is key – think about legibility, alignment, and hierarchy. Can you use one element of the ad to draw the viewer’s eye toward another? You should make design decisions that will lead your consumer toward real action.

With user behaviors constantly changing, it’s crucial to approach these areas with a unique perspective and understanding of their strengths and limitations. By developing a comprehensive understanding of both areas, your creative will stand out and resonate with your target audience.