Visual Branding Tips for Social Media in the Arts

In the world of art and, more widely, in the creative industries, social media is a powerful tool for showcasing artworks, connecting with your ideal audience, and building your brand. However, with the ubiquity and abundance of content on social media, it can be challenging to stand out from the crowd. Creating a visually striking social media presence is crucial for art companies and visual artists who want to succeed in the digital space. Find your unique visual approach to make your social media presence shine. Turn your feed into a work of art.

Visual branding is the process of establishing a consistent and memorable visual identity for your brand or artwork. This includes everything from your logo and colour scheme to the types of images and videos you post on social media. Once you develop a strong visual brand, you can communicate your unique style, values, and personality to your audience and differentiate yourself from competitors.

To craft a visually stunning social media presence, it’s important to find your unique visual approach. This means developing a consistent style that reflects your brand or artwork and resonates with your audience. Whether you choose a minimalist or maximalist approach, a bright or muted colour palette, or a specific type of imagery or video style, consistency is key. Having a cohesive visual identity across all your social media channels means you can build brand recognition and establish a strong, memorable presence in the minds of your followers.

Don’t neglect the importance of all visual aspects in your social media strategy. They have to be harmoniously intertwined if you want to achieve the best results and boost engagement on your channels. Whilst composing effective, creative text is important, visuals are an equally decisive element of your marketing strategy.

  • Carefully pick your signature brand colour palette, font pairings, and layouts and use them consistently on all social media channels when you produce visuals that reflect your brand identity.
  • Make sure your feed flows harmoniously, even if you go through a thematic change or aesthetic shift. All types of content have to work together to keep your feed flowing. Curate and arrange artworks and photographs and design graphics that contribute to the seamless aesthetic of the feed. Maintaining a cohesive aesthetic across your social media platforms is beneficial when it comes to brand building and establishing a strong online presence.
  • Curating and organising your imagery in advance is an essential part of a successful social media strategy. Before posting, it is recommended to have a clear idea of the content you will be sharing for the upcoming days, weeks or months. This approach helps to maintain consistency in visual branding and ensures that the aesthetic is in harmony with the overall brand message. A great way to accomplish this is by creating collages or mood boards that represent the mood and style of each post or group of posts. There are also many apps, like Preview App, that can help you organise your social media content, making it easier to visualise and plan out a harmonious Instagram feed.
  • Don’t underestimate the importance of all visual elements to enhance the presentation of your artwork and construct a coherent, recognisable visual brand identity. Working in the arts means you already have great visual content available. However, even if the body of work produced or promoted consists mainly of traditional artworks – e.g. paintings, leverage the power of impactful design and impressive photography, and don’t neglect the importance of interweaving them effectively. The design and photography used to showcase them can make a big difference in the engagement and recognition of your brand. Eye-catching design can help craft an integrated brand identity and enhance the perception of your artwork. Moreover, photography is a vital aspect of showcasing your artwork on social media channels.
  • Create mood boards. Mood boards can be a powerful tool in helping you shape a cohesive and visually engaging social media presence. They are essentially a collage of images, colours, and typography that reflect the look and feel you want to convey in your social media posts. Assembling a mood board can help you visualise different concepts that align with your brand’s identity, as well as developing a consistent aesthetic that will be recognisable to your followers.
  • Create social media templates. By having a library of templates that you can easily edit and customise as needed, you can streamline your social media content creation process and save time. Preparing templates for different categories of posts, such as promotional posts, inspirational posts, and behind-the-scenes posts, can help you maintain a consistent aesthetic while also saving you time.
  • Optimise your imagery for each social media channel. This is an important aspect of your visual strategy because different platforms have specific image requirements and limitations. For example, Instagram favours square or vertical images, whereas Twitter and Facebook tend to use horizontal images. Due to Instagram’s layout, horizontal images get less space in the feed, whilst vertical images are using the most space, thus being more effective in capturing your followers’ attention, especially if they are scrolling through their feed quickly. Each platform has its own size and resolution requirements for images, which can affect how the image appears on a user’s feed.

    In addition to technical considerations, it’s also important to consider the audience on each platform and tailor your imagery accordingly. For example, Instagram tends to have a younger, more visually oriented audience, whereas LinkedIn has a more professional audience that may respond better to more traditional imagery.
  • Save all your aesthetic resources in one place. Keeping all your aesthetic resources in one place can save you time and energy in the long run. It allows you to easily reference them when creating new content and ensure that your visual branding remains consistent and cohesive across all your social media channels. This means storing all your brand assets, such as your logo, colour palette, font choices, and any graphic templates, in a central location where you can easily access them whenever you need them.
  • Create a brand style guide – a document that outlines all the visual elements of your brand and how they should be used in different contexts. Your style guide should include your brand’s colour scheme and colour codes, fonts, logo, editing apps, filters, photography guideline, templates, and any other design elements that make your brand unique. You can also include guidelines for how to use these elements in different types of content, such as social media posts, email marketing campaigns, and website design.
  • Define and maintain a consistent aesthetic for your feed. Make sure it aligns with your brand voice and identity, and resonates with your target audience. Going through thematic changes is fine, as long as the overall aesthetic is consistent. What feeling do you want your page to evoke? Write down a few key words on your mood board. What kind of aesthetic resonates with your brand, content, and art?

Visual branding is a crucial element of any successful social media strategy for art companies and visual artists. To make your social media presence stand out, you need to develop a unique visual approach that is consistent across all channels. This means sticking to a signature colour scheme, fonts, photographic style, and graphics style.

From your avatar to your social media posts, consistency is key. When selecting your avatar, cover image, and typography, ensure that they are aligned with your brand identity and are consistent across different channels. Your feed is the first impression potential customers will have of your brand, so it needs to be impactful and attention-grabbing. With the decreasing attention spans of social media users, you only have a few seconds to capture people’s attention. A unique visual approach will make your audience instantly recognise your account on their feeds.

To create a cohesive visual aesthetic, you need to analyse your existing posts and identify your brand style. Is it time for a change? Perhaps you should consider visual rebranding and revamping your feed to reflect any changes in your brand identity. Design striking social media graphics that reflect your brand identity in concise, inspiring, and impactful ways. Alternate them with artworks based on vibe and aesthetic.

A congruous visual identity has numerous benefits. For one, engagement improves as your audience will be drawn to the consistency and uniqueness of your visual approach. Additionally, brand recognition increases, as a consistent visual identity builds trust and connection with your audience. Ensuring that your grid is cohesive, consistent, and flowing is crucial for creating a lasting impression on your audience.

Visual branding is a critical aspect of social media marketing for art companies and visual artists. Once you find your unique visual approach and develop a consistent visual identity, you will be more likely to stand out from the crowd, boost engagement, and build a strong brand presence on social media. Don’t neglect the importance of visual aspects in your social media strategy – turn your feed into a work of art and let your creativity shine.

Once you incorporate these visual branding tips into your social media strategy in the arts, you can build a visually stunning and impactful social media presence that captures your audience’s attention, builds your brand identity, conveys your message in memorable ways, and promotes your art effectively.

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Creating a Successful Social Media Strategy

Knowing the components of an effective, successful social media strategy is vital for any art company or artist who has rightly acknowledged the value of building a strong digital presence.

1. Define Your Brand Purpose and Mission Statement

Who are you? Your brand purpose should be expressed clearly and should guide all your social media activities. Your mission statement should communicate your brand purpose in a memorable and visually appealing way using powerful graphics, imagery, or video to tell a memorable story.

2. Identify and Get to Know Your Target Audience

Who are you trying to reach and create content for? Understanding your target audience is essential to creating personalised content that resonates with them. Conduct research to attune to your audience’s challenges, interests, motivations, and habits. Use this information to create customer personas for the types of people you want to attract. Analyse your existing social media analytics to gather more information about your current viewers and followers.

3. Set SMART Social Media Goals

What do you aspire to achieve? SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Set social media goals that align with your business objectives and track the relevant metrics to measure your progress. Common social media goals include increasing brand awareness, improving customer loyalty and advocacy, generating leads and increasing sales, driving traffic to your website, and more.

4. Develop Your Social Media Tactics

How are you going to achieve your goals? Your tactics should be designed to help you achieve your social media goals. You should be familiar with the social media landscape in your niche and keep up to date with the latest digital trends. It’s also important to understand the algorithms of your ideal social media platforms.

Create platform-specific content that speaks to your audience, invest in video content, go live, have an editorial calendar, use social media tools, repurpose content, and join groups. These tactics will help you engage with your audience and build a strong social media presence.

5. Monitor and Measure Your Progress

It’s important to track your progress regularly to determine if you’re on track to meet your social media goals. Use social media analytics tools to monitor your performance, adjust your tactics if necessary, and make data-driven decisions to optimise your social media strategy.

There are several social media analytics tools that can help you monitor and measure your progress. These tools can provide you with detailed insights into your audience, engagement, reach, and more. Some of the most popular social media analytics tools include Google Analytics, Hootsuite Analytics, and Sprout Social. These tools can help you track metrics like clicks, likes, shares, comments, and more, giving you a comprehensive view of your social media performance.

To effectively monitor and measure your progress, it’s important to establish key performance indicators (KPIs) for your social media goals. These KPIs should be specific, measurable, and relevant to your business objectives. Here are some examples:

Social Media GoalsRelevant Metrics
Increase brand awarenessReach, impressions, shares, followers, and engagement rate.
Drive traffic to your websiteClick-through rate and website traffic
Generate leads and increase salesConversion metrics
Improve customer loyalty and advocacyEngagement metrics e.g. comments, mentions, as well as testimonials

By tracking these KPIs regularly, you can quickly identify areas where you need to improve and adjust your tactics accordingly.

Creating a successful social media strategy requires defining your brand purpose and mission statement, identifying and getting to know your target audience, setting SMART social media goals, developing your social media tactics, and monitoring and measuring your progress. I hope you have found this information to be useful and that you will take these key components into account in order to build a strong digital presence, connect with your audience, and achieve your business objectives.

For digital tactics tailored to the creative and mental health sectors, follow my IG account @dianamarindigital

Embracing change: Video content on Instagram and Tips for the Art World

As you may have heard, Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, has recently announced that Instagram will start leaning into (to use his exact words) video content more in order to stay relevant and compete with or, as some may say, emulate, another particularly popular social media platform, TikTok. I will ponder these news mainly in association with business and content creator accounts. First of all, this decision has caused conflicting feelings among Instagram users, including artists and photographers who prefer imagery over video content. For many of us this announcement wasn’t shocking: it seemed like the natural progression of events, as Instagram has already integrated various video features to stay relevant. If you check out Mosseri’s Instagram video on this topic, many top comments are critical of this decision. Instagram started as a photo-sharing app, and some users prefer it to remain that way. The platform’s recent shift towards video content for the purpose of entertainment has received criticism. In the art world, it’s essential to merge aesthetics, connection, education, and entertainment to create impactful content.

It wouldn’t be a problem if Instagram tweaked video, increasing video quality, expanding formats, or introducing new video features, since some types of information can be conveyed better through video, whilst others shine through image or text. Different types of formats can all meaningfully coexist on your feed, if that is the approach that makes sense and aligns with your brand. There are definitely many advantages to incorporating video into your content strategy, regardless of the nature of your business. Video captures the viewer’s attention for longer and can establish a stronger connection to a brand. If, however, you feel it’s not compatible with your work and interests, you might like being able to choose whether you would rather focus on consuming and creating another type of content. The main worry is that you will have no choice if you’re interested in social media growth and relevance, as the algorithm will prioritise videos over imagery, and photos will lose visibility, hence significantly diminishing the reach of those relying on imagery.

Instagram will experiment with new video strategies, such as prioritising recommendations of videos on users’ feeds, including video content from accounts you may not be following yet. When it comes to bringing in and encouraging a different type of content, with a specific vibe (i.e. the signature of TikTok), there is always the risk of alienating some users. Wouldn’t it be better to compete by improving what you are already doing well, rather than altering it to emulate a different business model in order to conquer it? That is the main question posed by the critics.

We’re no longer a photo sharing app, or a square photo-sharing up. The number one reason people say they use Instagram in research is to be entertained, so people are looking to us for that. What we are trying to do is lean into that trend, into entertainment and into video. Because there’s some really serious competition right now- Tik Tok. […] We are also experimenting with how to embrace video more broadly- full screen, immersive, entertaining, mobile-first video. We will be experimenting with that in the following months.”— Adam Mosseri

I will mention some ways and video content ideas that you can use in the art world to adapt to the changing digital landscape that pushes video. Mosseri puts on emphasis on the word “entertainment”. Instagram, art, and videos can all be seen, paradoxically, as both a form of escapism and connection to the world – that’s one thing they have in common. Let’s embrace video and look at this change as a great opportunity to boost your digital presence on social media and to reach and appeal to a wider audience. Focusing on video can be more challenging, as it’s a more complex type of content, requiring a more thoughtful approach and effort put into consistency in frequency and message, but it is definitely worth investing time in. Video is a great resource for visual and multimedia storytelling. It can add value and it can be more meaningful, especially as it stops mindless scrolling. Videos can be educational, informative, and promotional. In any case, they have to capture people’s attention. Tell a story. Make it memorable.

Some galleries have already successfully incorporated video into their Instagram strategy. I am going to share with you some ideas that can apply to galleries, museums, other art institutions and companies, studios, and individual artists.

  • Firstly, you can film and edit a creative video providing a glimpse into the gallery or studio.
  • Make a video emphasising the values you want to embody, promoting your mission and brand identity
  • Create an exhibition preview, a walk through or virtual tour of the exhibition. You can create hybrid videos in which you mix image and video content.
  • Produce a video featuring the body of work of a particular artist, accompanied by atmospheric sound and enticing voice-over
  • A video of an individual artwork, from multiple angles, with close-ups on details, and storytelling. A great example that remained engraved in my mind is an in-depth analysis of “Mary Magdalene in ecstasy”, a painting by Artemisia Gentileschi. You can find this video through Google Arts & Culture. It is an intimate video, the voice of the narrator is hypnotic, the voice-over is poetic, the atmosphere of the video is mystical and mesmerising. This is a great personal tribute to Artemisia.
  • You can create video content that is organised based on specific themes in art, or movements, or style, in the form of brief, artistic documentaries. You can use an art historian as a video host, someone who is passionate about and can delve into a specific topic, providing a fresh perspective and presenting it in a unique, engrossing way. Tate’s “Unlock Art” series on YouTube was quite successful, focusing on artistic themes and art history moments, including Surrealism, performance art, Women in Art, pop art, and nudity in art.
  • Produce videos about gallery and museum events, activities, initiatives, and practices.
  • If you’re an artist or you’re working with an artist, you can go for time-lapses, as people are often interested in the creative process from beginning to end. You can also show the studio or location in which a piece of art has been created. In some cases it is better if you post this as ephemeral content, aka Stories. As an artist, you can also post Reels showing off your inspiring progress.

    Think of your Instagram feed as a work of art in itself. Post high-quality videos and images on there. You can use Instagram stories to provide a more informal and spontaneous glimpse behind the scenes of a gallery or an installation.
  • You can also conduct video interviews and Q&As with artists or curators.
  • Here’s an idea that can apply to any brand: Insert video into a static image, or the other way around. Attach graphic images to moving backgrounds. Videos can include teasers of an art installation, slideshows of artworks, and art gifs.
  • Don’t forget to include a call to action at the end of your videos.

Some key words for video content in the art world are: emotionally evocative, engaging, informative, and aesthetically pleasing.

Check out my new Instagram account @dianamarindigital, where I post digital content ideas and effective tactics and techniques tailored for social media management in the creative sector.