Great social media consultants don’t have to be RGD-certified, but they do need to have considerable design know-how. They should also have some basic design skills to bring to marketing and communications projects.
It takes a lot of design knowledge to develop a social media strategy and plan a program. For example, there are dozens (probably 100s) of format requirements for the various social networks and platforms. Getting such basics wrong could impair the impact of an image and could reflect poorly on a brand.
Photo and image selection are key design skills for social media consultants too. There are a lot of free stock photo libraries available online, but what makes an image effective? Considerations include:
- where and how the image will be used
- contrast requirements for text overlay
- colour choice for impact
- how people are featured
Part of this is understanding how people use and view digital content, often referred to as the user experience (UX). A great social media consultant needs to be able to guide the development of content that is useful, findable and accessible. Click To Tweet
Social media consultants need to have branding competencies to be able to devise naming conventions and establish tones of voice, social lexicons and content reflecting the right look and feel.
Design expert collaboration
Social media consultants often work closely with graphic designers on more complex campaigns and programs. Being able to speak their language means understanding basic design concepts. The role of the golden ratio in guiding shape and the rule of thirds in composition are just two examples. Knowing typography basics is a good idea too. This includes an awareness of text hierarchies, how kerning, leading and tracking work and how to deal with orphans & widows.
Then there is the complex subject of colour. A social media consultant should understand palettes, know about the Pantone system and have the basics of colour theory. Click To Tweet This will enhance collaboration with graphic designers and lead to better, more effective content.
Being an imagery content maker
No one expects a social media consultant to be a graphic designer or web developer, but having experience in using website content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress or Drupal is important. Two essential activities include publishing content online and setting up effective landing pages. Knowledge of the following software will allow a social media consultant to create shareable images, videos, gifs and more:
- Adobe InDesign for document layout
- Adobe Photoshop to edit images
- Adobe Premiere Pro to edit videos
- YouTube Creator Studio Video Manager to make basic video edits
There’s a whole range of additional online tools that a good social media consultant can use to develop visual content. Stencil, Snappa, Canva, Visme and PromoRepublic are used to create memes, infographics, social and display ads, etc. Over and PicMonkey allow a social media consultant to edit photos easily.
Those are a few examples, but there are hundreds of design tools that support smart social media consultants. Post your favourites in the comments below!
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