Creating social media visual concepts is something that you'll have to do if you want to level up your social media freeelance, agency or in-house career.

In fact, a good place to begin is looking at what those three terms mean.

The difference between freelance, agency and in-house 🧐

Working in social media freelance or as a freelancer, means working for yourself as a self-employed worker. You'll be responsible for your own taxes and usually have to register with the relevant Government business employment services. Here's a handy guide on going freelance from the amazing Creative Boom. You can be a freelancer and still work agency or in-house side, and here's a little more on both.

Being a social media manager at an agency means working at a creative agency like us, where you work on a range of campaigns for brands. It usually means you'll have the support of an entire team to help bring your social media ideas to life. There has been a huge increase in social media agencies over the last five years and if you're someone who loves to work with a creative team this is a great career option.

In-house means working directly for the brand and in this situation you won't have to worry about all the fiddly admin parts of running your own business as a freelancer. It can be really rewarding as you'll get up and close with the product or service you are managing social media for. However, executing really creative social media ideas may become hard as you are pulled into wider business operations.

Let's talk doing social media concept stuffs

In all three types of roles you'll need to be able to show that you can translate the brand, product or service into great social media content. While that's way more than just creating awesome visuals, awesome visuals are a great place to begin talking levelling up your career, as it helps bring together your vision for supercharging social media for a brand.

While not all social media managers will have design skills (this is especially the case when working in-house or agency side when you'll have a creative design team on hand to help bring your ideas to life) it's important you're able to translate your ideas into a concept.

There are many ways to present a concept. It could be an insights report, video, meeting, pitch, proposal, or creating mock ups of how you would manage the social media to look and feel.

In the remainder of this blog you can learn the basics of the process behind creating a visual concept 😎.

Bringing Hanifa off the grid

When Anifa, the founder of amazing fashion brand Hanifa, tweeted she was looking for someone to look after all things social media content (that's a tip right there; make sure you're following dream brands you'd like to work with on social media) - an email was penned and sent over within that hour. Because listen, when you've been following the amazing story of a brand and know they would be a dream to do social media stuffs, you don't put off for tomorrow what you can do today.

The response came to send over creative concepts and a caption strategy, and the grid below shows the answer to that request. Instagram is the winning social media platform for fashion brands, and with Facebook making the platform more e-commerce focused, there's a delicate balance between driving sales and keeping things creative and true to what was the heart of the platform.

When creating a concept it's important to do your research and understand the inspiration, goals and audiences of the brand. If you have time, be sure to ask any clarification questions or for brand guidelines to get more inside knowledge. However, our good friend Google can sometimes be all the info you need to get planning a great concept. Once you have your research down you can start bringing together the visual element of your response.

Here's a closer look at the concepts for Hanifa and a step by step guide to hopefully nailing your next social media concepts presentation.

Hot tips for creating that killer concept

  1. Research, research, research. Check out what other similar brands are doing on social media and see what works for them, and what doesn't. Ask yourself what elements you can use as inspiration for creating your own concept. Inspirations that worked for Hanifa included looking at how Beyoncé promoted Ivy Park, and how luxury womenswear label Jacqemus developed a now iconic Instagram visual design.

  2. Think outside the box. It's easy to create something that looks the same as everyone else so you're going to want to think how you can create a real point of difference. Going offline is the best way to do this when planning something for online. For Hanifa that involved looking at fashion sketchbooks, and artists such as Henri Matisse, 80s fashion illustrator Antonio Lopez, to draw inspiration that could then be brought through on social media.

  3. Mock it up. The best way to know if what you're thinking works is to create it, test it and see. If you don't have technical design skills don't worry as you can create a private account just for mock ups. Just make it a private page and then post all the posts you think would work to see if it flows together.

  4. Focus on each element of the design. Think about the story you are telling with your posts. When creating a great visual concept it's important to think about what each part of your design means. Ask yourself what the shapes, colours and layout will help communicate. For example, in the concept mockup above you'll see a small Congo stamp at the top left of the bottom left image - in celebration of Hanifa's Pink Label Congo collection, and the brand's heritage.

  5. Variety is the spice of life. And great social media concepts are too. Mix up the content ideas by creating a visual concept that includes a variety of content types such as product photography, brand inspiration, customer photos, text, and anything else you feel will make that grid come to life through the screen.

In 2021, more tips and inside knowledge will be coming your way as one thing the last 11 years of working in social media has taught me, it's that we need more representation in the industry and by sharing my knowledge others can have the door opened for them. I want to use my privilege as a black woman in the media industry to help open the door and make the career ladder less of a struggle to climb.

If you'd like a particular topic discussed drop me a line and let's talk stuffs.