Written by on . Pegasus.

How to create thumb-stopping social content

Facebook and Instagram users thumb through 300ft of content every day. That’s equivalent to the height of the Statue of Liberty! Eshé Brown shares her rules for creating social content that makes users stop and engage.

With so much content available on social media, viewers are constantly making quick decisions about whether to stop and engage, or disregard and move on. This means designers and creators, like myself, must think creatively about how to grab and hold someone’s attention on social media.

I follow these simple rules to ensure social content does just that:

1. Think mobile first

While most social media channels can be accessed on a desktop computer, 91 per cent of social media users access them on mobile devices. A design that’s legible on a desktop computer won’t look the same on a small screen. So I design for mobile first, not the reverse.

Here’s some inspiration for you. 


2. Limit your messaging

Given that content should be designed for smaller screens, I also recommend cutting down messaging to absolute essentials. Unlike a leaflet or print ad, we can’t squeeze a title, subtitle, body copy, images and a call-to-action into a single Instagram post.

So keep it simple. One key message with a call-to-action works best – and if you can combine the two, even better. What’s most important is that you have an objective for the post that is made clear in your message.

Messaging doesn’t all have to be in the creative either. Crucial messaging can be put in the caption or, if you plan to drive people to a URL, it can flow over onto a website. If you need to include extended messaging, you might consider how animation or video could help tell your story in bite-sized chunks. And by introducing motion, text can be replaced with illustration or a voiceover.

Take a look at this example from Google

3. Add motion

Tweets with video content have 10 times the engagement than those without, and content with any sort of motion receives better engagement across all social media channels. Whether it’s the subtle hypnotic movement of a cinemagraph, fast-paced kinetic type, or more complex VFX art, the effect is the same – a pause on mindless scrolling.

Watch these really clever examples of creativity in motion from VFX artist, Cache Bunny, and DiGiorno pizza

4. Create your own style

It can be tempting to push out content every day, but if you’re not producing high quality, consistent creative you’re just adding to the content overload in people’s feeds. In addition to a consistent tone of voice and a purpose for being in the space, a strong visual identity is key to being successful on social media.

There are all sorts of ways to do this. You could treat photographs and videos with a personalised filter or grade, add a frame or branded flourishes to designs or simply use a selective colour palette. Think about what will give you flexibility across a range of content and what aligns with your brand.

The possibilities are endless, as showcased by Photoshop artist, The Life of Avix, and home cleaning brand, Method

is a Graphic Designer at Pegasus and author of food blog, Foodie Eshe.