5 Proven Ways Good Design Can Improve Your Small Business Content Marketing Strategy

If your small business is trying to leverage social media for marketing, you’re probably struggling to build a large, engaged audience.

You’re not alone.

Most businesses have a tough time standing out among the sea of content on social media sites.

Every 60 seconds, there are 293,000 new posts and 136,000 new photos posted on Facebook alone.

With so much content flooding social media sites, it becomes even more challenging for brands to rise above the din.

Businesses need to leverage every strategy and tactic to market on social media effectively.

One of the most important brand strategies: investing in good design to amplify your content marketing strategy.

Good design is good business.

As Joseph Kalinowski, a creative director for the Content Marketing Institute, said:

Having a weak or unappealing design could cause your content to be totally skipped and lost in the feed.

Here are five proven ways good design can amplify your content marketing strategy.

1. Good design is memorable

As we wrote in Why Good Design is More Important Than Ever for Your Business:

People have a very short attention span. In fact, according to a Princeton University study, snap judgments count. The study found after seeing a face for only 1/10th of a second people formed opinions about that person. Judgments were made on attractiveness, likeability, and trustworthiness, and prolonged exposure to that face just reinforced the initial impression.

With the incredible amount of social media content the average user encounters, first impressions and snap judgments play an important role.

Research has found the attention span of the average adult has dropped to a mere 8 seconds.

When you have so little time to catch the attention of social media users, good design becomes even more critical.

“Good design is making something intelligible and memorable,” Dieter Rams once said.

Invest the time and money to leverage design to make your social media and content marketing more memorable.

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2. Good design builds brand recognition

Colors, typography, imagery, website design all contribute to the visual essence that makes up a brand.

These things are also vital components of good design.

Your social and content marketing is another expression of your brand, and you can use visual cues to help bolster customers’ perception of your brand.

As we said in an earlier article:

When it comes to design, investing in quality as soon as possible is the best way to get the most growth out of your business. Otherwise, you may find yourself working harder than necessary to earn customer trust and stand out from the competition.

Think about ways to incorporate elements from your brand in your content marketing.

Whether it’s a splash of color, the use of your corporate typeface, or an element from your logo subtlety integrated into the background of an image, there are many ways you can add your brand without overwhelming the content.

For example, it only takes people 10 seconds to form a first impression of a brand’s logo, but it takes 5-7 impressions for consumers to recognize the logo.

Consider every post and every piece of content as another opportunity to get your brand in front of your customers, and your efforts will be more consistent and more powerful.

3. People remember visuals better than text

Scientists have found that people’s ability to recall images is dramatically better than remembering text alone. They even coined a cool name for this phenomenon: the Picture Superiority Effect.

Inc. magazine explains:

It works like this: If you hear information delivered verbally, you are likely to remember about 10 percent of that information three days later. Add a picture, however, and your recall rate will soar to 65 percent. Put simply, visuals matter—a lot.

“Human PSE is truly Olympian,” writes molecular biologist John Medina in Brain Rules. “Tests performed years ago showed that people could remember 2,500 pictures with at least 90 percent accuracy several days post-exposure, even though the subjects saw each picture for about 10 seconds.

That recall is even more critical when considering the deluge of content people scroll through daily on social media.

It’s not limited to adding pretty photos to your content – although that matters, too.

Incorporating images with good design is a powerful way to extend your brand. Small businesses should remember to take advantage of an image’s ability to be remembered – it’s a powerful way to cement their brand in viewer’s minds.

For example, if you’re showcasing your products on social media, be sure that you have a strong packaging design (the physical packaging for your products) and package graphics (the graphics, including images and content, on the packaging) so that your products stand out. To learn more about product packaging, read 7 Biggest Packaging Design Trends for 2021.

74% of social media marketers use some visual asset in their post and marketing, and 37% of marketers said that visuals were their most important form of content. Only blogging is rated higher.

4. Good design uses limited space effectively

According to recent studies, an incredible 80% of the time on social media is spent using mobile devices.

This is a problem for communicating with customers and prospects because post and image sizes on many social media sites are quite small:

  • Instagram posts are resized to 612 pixels by 612 pixels.
  • Facebook and Twitter feed images end up just over 500 pixels wide.

Good design can help boost your content when you’re working with a limited amount of space.

Less can be more.

A smart layout remains one of design’s biggest superpowers.

Using space effectively (and clearly) is a big part of what constitutes good design.

How something is organized visually and how well it’s perceived is primarily informed by psychology and how our brains interpret what we see. To learn more about this, read The Psychology of Design: Why Your Business Must Understand How Design Influences Customer Behavior.

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5. Good design encourages sharing

Marketing studies reveal a staggering statistic: the average American is exposed to around 5,000 advertisements and brands per day.

Guess how many leave an impression?


Want to be like those twelve impressive, spotlight-stealing brands?

You need a practical, attractive design.

When consumers are faced with deciding between a wide array of choices – all things with similar features or benefits – they go with the one they either recognize or the one with a more pleasing design.

Smashing Magazine’s Steven Bradley explained it well:

Human beings have an attractiveness bias; we perceive beautiful things as being better, regardless of whether they actually are better. All else being equal, we prefer beautiful things, and we believe beautiful things function better. As in nature, function can follow form.

Images attract more clicks, retweets, and likes

According to research conducted by Buffer (a social media tool we use and like), tweets with images received 150% more retweets than those without any images. A closer look at these images showed that companies often took the time to post something more than a stock photo.

Images fared well on Facebook, too.

Studies found that posts on Facebook with images had 2.3 times more engagement than those without.

Customers aren’t the only ones who agree good design helps companies on social media platforms.

60.8% of marketers said that in 2017, design was essential to their marketing strategies. 93% agreed that it was very important.

We are visual beings.

Nearly 30% of our brain’s cortex is devoted to visual processing.

By leveraging good design, you can ensure your content marketing efforts won’t be another momentary blip in your customers’ endless social media stream.

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