Having a digital presence was an optional add-on in marketing just a few years ago. It seems like much longer doesn’t it?! But now it is a marketing must-have. And social media is a crucial part of any brand’s digital presence.
Images and videos have emerged as the most popular types of content across social media platforms. But almost every brand uploads images and videos. How do you set your brand apart then? Using something unique and hard-to-ignore, like a custom illustration for example.
You will find illustrations almost everywhere now. Have you observed the
doodles on the Google search page? Who would have thought that a search engine page could be this interactive?! This is Google’s way of using illustrations to tell stories. And if Google’s doing it you know it’s worth taking a look at for your brand too.
Illustrations can be used in countless ways in marketing. You can use custom illustrations to breathe new life into your website or give your logo a fresh personality. You can use them in your
packaging design to provide a memorable unboxing experience to your customers. Or in your ads for a stronger brand identity. However, today we'll be reviewing the many ways to use illustrations in social media marketing, in particular. 5 Effective ways to use custom illustrations on social media
1. Engaging social media illustrations for better reach
There is a huge difference between using visuals on your website and on social media. When a customer is on your website, their full attention is on the site and so the image there might get noticed easily.
But on social media feeds, every image you post is competing with images posted by other brands. And you’re also competing with the images posted by your customer’s own network of friends and family members. So, a simple image will not work most of the time. You need something that makes them stop scrolling. A custom illustration that is both catchy and has a strong story to tell, will do just that!
Image source: Kimp
If you are not convinced yet, hear this. Instagram uses illustrations on its
Instagram For Business Instagram page to advertise its features or make announcements. That itself shows the power of custom illustrations on social media. 2. Illustrated infographics for better social media engagement
Sharing informative content is one way to keep your social media followers engaged. An infographic is one of the most popular ways to share information in recent times. But, when there are a lot of numbers and text, illustrations will make the information easier to consume.
3. Social media ads that convert
Social media ads are very effective for brands. These come as static display ads, carousel ads,
Story ads, and more. You might have a great photo for your ad, but to make it an attention-grabber, you need to add your brand’s personal touch. This can come in the form of simple illustrations. 4 million advertisers use Stories on Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp every month. So, if you want customers to notice your ad, try using illustrations to make your ad more interactive. It will also be a way to make your brand appear more approachable. Illustrations work really well for ads because they help you tell a story or highlight the message. 4. “Stories” with illustrations
Brands know that ephemeral content, like Stories on most social media channels, is only active for 24-hours. But have you noticed that this is often the most happening place for a brand?
Stories are popular because customers love Stories as it lets them quickly take a peek into what’s new with their favorite accounts. Brands love Stories because it gives them a space to ask questions to customers, conduct polls, and allow customers to ask them questions.
Creating visually memorable content for your Stories will be the way to keep your customers engaged and to prevent them from “unfollowing” your account. It’s also a way to let them know that you are active on social media. This will make it easier for them to approach you with queries or drop a message or tag your page in their post when they add testimonials.
And where does custom illustration come into the picture? To maintain consistency in your brand’s aesthetics and to add a personal touch, you could use illustrations in your Stories. Retaining the illustration style and colors will help create familiarity. So, as your customers navigate through their Stories, they will know when your brand’s Story posts pop up.
As you can see in the examples from Headspace below, the brand has managed to create visual consistency with their illustrations across Story ads and posts.
Image source: https://later.com/blog/create-social-media-ads/ 5. Illustrations in videos
Creating videos can be overwhelming for marketers. Coming up with great content ideas is one thing but executing them in the form of an easily comprehensible video is even more daunting. With illustrations in videos, you can convey information even without having to involve real people in the video. So if you go the illustration route, you can say goodbye to production costs associated with expensive video shoots.
VIDEO Image source: Kimp
Have products or services that are best seen in action? Illustrated replicas of your product or service can be integrated into the video to give a demo. Or you can have a specific style of illustration for your brand and then use this in all your videos for consistency. With illustrations in videos, you can convey information that will otherwise take pages of text. These videos make great options for Reels on Instagram and Facebook, Shorts on YouTube, and even for Stories on most platforms.
How to create illustrations that help you meet your goal
So, you now know that you can use custom illustrations in many ways and in many places on social media. But coming up with ideas for these illustrations might feel like the toughest part of the process. Let’s simplify that. Here are a few things to consider.
Ideas aligned with your audience
You should know what makes your audience tick. What is that Reel trend they like? What is that Insta Stories trend they almost always engage with? Is there a hashtag that you can personify with your illustration? Social listening, or studying your customers’ online behavior and interests, will help you come up with the most relevant ideas for your illustrations.
Illustrations that reflect your brand’s personality
If you have to describe your brand in one word, what will it be? Or, if you have to describe the emotion you want a particular post or campaign to trigger, how would you depict it? Finding an image to capture all these emotions is not always easy. That’s why you use illustrations.
So, your illustration should capture your brand’s personality. When you understand your brand’s personality well, coming up with a concept for your illustration would be easy.
Follow seasonal trends
If you are finding it difficult to come up with a theme for your illustration, go with the seasonal trends. Simple illustrations with relatable themes can never go wrong. You can particularly use this concept for illustrated social media posts targeting your existing customers.
By embracing seasonal trends, you have an illustration that improves engagement on social media and also feels relevant to your customers.
FAQs Are custom illustrations better than stock images?
Stock photo reserves are accessible to people around the world. So, there are chances of some other brand using the same image you choose. You would not want your brand to look like a copycat on social media. You do not want it to look like your brand will settle down for the ordinary.
By having custom illustrations designed for your social media ads and posts, you are showing your audience that you take your business seriously. And this tells them yours is a brand that deserves their attention.
What styles of illustrations will work in social media?
The demographics of social media users keep evolving. You will find all types of customers there and so most illustration types would work. The key is to identify what style would resonate well with the specific target audience you wish to communicate with.
Comic style illustrations, vector illustrations, and watercolor illustrations are among the most popular styles that most brands use. Explore the strengths of each style and understand which one will work better for your brand, for your audience.
Aren’t custom illustrations really expensive?
They can be, just like graphic design and video design aka motion graphics. But for all 3
unlimited design subscriptions are an affordable solution. You pay a flat fee, work with a dedicated designer or design team and you can get multiple creatives done each month.
Custom illustrations will take longer than the average graphic design due to the amount of detail involved. But when you’re paying a flat fee and getting a new illustration every 2-3 days on average, it’s still a pretty great deal.