Written by Darrel Girardier for Youth Specialties:
Images dominate social media. There isn’t a social media network out there that isn’t trying to find a way to get their users to share more images and interact with their content. If you’re only using text on social media, you’re missing the boat.
The best way to start using images on social media is to begin using Instagram. It’s very easy to learn, it has a large user base, and it continues to grow every year. AS I SAID BEFORE, if I was starting my church’s social media from scratch, it’s the network I would join first.
However, Instagram is about more than just taking selfies and pictures of cappuccinos in your local coffee shop. With some very basic tools, you can create great graphics that will help get our your church’s message. These are graphics like sermon quotes, announcements, or scripture verses and they can add a new twist to your social media and help you gain a whole new audience.
If you want to create better graphics for Instagram, I provided three valuable tips that can help make your Instagram graphics succeed. Follow these tips and your Instagram graphics should come out looking great.
1. MAKE IT THE RIGHT SIZE
Obviously, if you’re making a graphic for Instagram you know that the graphic will need to be square. However, just making the graphic square won’t work, there are some other factors that you need to consider:
Resolution Matters – Just because the graphic is square doesn’t mean that it’s the right size. Since smartphones vary in their screen size, you’ll want to make sure you aim for the highest resolution phone. This means that your graphics need to be at least 900×900 pixels.
Make it Reusable – As with any social media content, you need to be a good steward of your time. You want to be able to reuse your graphics in multiple places. So when you’re creating Instagram graphics make sure that your image will also work on Twitter. To do this, you need to make sure that your text stays in the “safe zone”.
The “safe zone” is the area in which text will be viewable on a Twitter timeline. See this, example.
See how the text is viewable on the timeline? That’s possible when we stay within the “safe zone”. By staying within the safe zone, you can reuse your Instagram graphics on Twitter.
2. CHOOSE THE RIGHT FONT
I’m a font nerd. I spend way too much time picking the right font for presentations. While that may be overkill, the right font can make your Instagram graphics go from good to great. Here are some tips on picking the right font.
Avoid Script Fonts – A script font may look good, but they’re too hard to read in a split second. Remember social media users are only going to give you a brief second, so your content needs to be easy to read. Script typography often requires too much visually for the reader to comprehend.
Choose a Bold Font – A bold font allows your image to be read more easily on smaller screens like an iPhone 4.
Avoid Tight Kerning – “Kerning” is adjusting the space between letters. When you choose a font with tight kerning, then your text is not easy to read.
Keep Your Word Count Low – This last point is not about fonts, but it applies to making sure your font works on your Instagram graphic. When you choose a bold typeface and have a minimum amount of words, you’re increasing the chance that someone will interact with the content. If you have too many words, you’re now asking your Instagram followers to read and that’s not what Instagram is about. Remember, it’s about pictures not reading.
3. USE SIMPLE BACKGROUNDS
Instagram graphics require great backgrounds. The good news is that there are plenty of places online for you to find the right background (for a list of stock photography sites, check out this post on 31 PLACES FREE FOR STOCK PHOTOGRAPHY). However, not just any background will do, you need to find the right background.
Textures with Micro-Patterns – If you pick a texture with a large pattern you can distract your audience from your main message. Large patterns can clash with your typography, which makes it difficult to read your text.
Find a background that will make your typography pop. If your text is white then your background needs to be dark and vice versa.
If you want to make it easy on yourself, use the iPhone app WORDSWAG. It allows you pick from multiple backgrounds, bold typography and stay within the “safe zone” so you can use the graphic on Twitter and Instagram.
What tips do you have for churches using Instagram?