How to build a great social media aesthetic

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How to build a great social media aesthetic

Aesthetics.

A term that gets thrown around a lot in the world of branding and social media. Quite often, aesthetics are used when discussing the visual elements of a person, product or platform. That’s largely true. 

Here’s the underlying factor that quite often gets overlooked – how did one arrive at that aesthetic? 

Did you choose red and blue with the Helvetica font because they’re your favorites? Or did you choose them because they best fit the tone you’re trying to emulate, and will visually translate to your audience in the most engaging way? 

Continuing from our discussion on how to maintain your personal brand, we wanted to dive a little deeper into this area. 

Here’s some insight on how you can build a great social media aesthetic. 

Most importantly: who is your audience?

If you’re considering going and doing something else instead of reading this article, please at least read this section. 

Your audience is the most essential part of your online presence, aside from you. Without them, you’re yelling into an empty room. 

Yet, so often when making brand decisions and changes to the way you leave your digital footprint, what they think and feel is overlooked.

How old is your audience on average? Where does the majority live? What kind of lives do they lead?

These are the questions that you need to ask yourself consistently. You need to continue to develop your understanding of the people who are fans of your work. Not only will this inform your social media personality/aesthetic, but it will make your engagement with them more genuine.

Once you have an understanding of the demographics of your audience, a lot of your aesthetical questions will answer themselves. 

If they’re aged 16-22 and mainly live in Los Angeles, your aesthetic can be more progressive, perhaps a little bit edgy. Whereas if they’re aged 45-60 living in the rural UK, you’d probably take a slightly more refined and conservative approach. 

What tone are you trying to emulate?

Tone and aesthetics (should) always go hand in hand. 

Tone isn’t just merely the way you write your captions and reply to comments. It’s the subtext between the lines that you’re trying to communicate. Are you trying to come across edgy? Sweet? A little bit mysterious?

We can’t answer these for you – only you know. But when you’ve developed a bit more of an idea, then it should naturally inform your tone and aesthetic. 

Take your time on this one. Even when you’ve made a decision, sit on it for a bit and let it roll around in your brain. 

Make sure it feels natural. A tone that works for someone else might not necessarily work for you and what you’re trying to do, and vice versa. 

Remain consistent and commit.

This is why mulling over your decision is essential – once you implement it, you need to stick to it. 

This doesn’t only apply to brands with big budgets using the same hue on their cyan lights throughout their photoshoots – this applies to you, too. 

Continue to use the same colors, the same fonts, the same tone. It might seem like it’s not making much of a difference at the start, but over time, it will pay dividends. 

A consistent aesthetic will build your credibility and come across to viewers as professional and slick. 

Summing it up in one phrase: stay cohesive. How does this next post fit in with the ones I’ve already done? Are these colors, fonts, and stylistic choices in line with the aesthetical guideline I’ve set for myself? Continue asking questions. 

Self-audit. 

On the continuing of asking questions – we felt like this deserved its own section. 

Don’t get complacent and don’t approach this as a one-time thing. You need to continuously look at your aesthetics, and look at what you’re doing well and what you’re not.

If you feel like you’re too close to the burn to make informed choices around that, that’s totally understandable. Ask a friend or family member. Ask someone you trust and whose opinion you respect. 

Getting fresh eyes across a project can provide welcomed clarity and insight into what you’re doing. 

Lastly, a technical easter egg: photo editing.

A lot of this has been advice without specifics on what you can do for your particular situation – that’s mainly because the buck stops with you around the kind of aesthetic choices you want to make. That’s all part of the fun. 

To finish off though, here’s some more literal advice. 

All social media platforms largely focus on the visual elements. This means photos and videos.

Here is a great list of apps that are free to download, for iOS and Android, that will make editing your images easy and professional:

  • VSCO
  • Afterlight 
  • Snapseed
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