Pics or it didn’t happen, right? In the world of social media today, that old saying rings truer than ever. Scrolling our feeds, we’re bombarded with images and videos fighting for our attention.

And it’s no surprise – human beings are hardwired to engage with visuals.

That’s why killer visual social media content is straight-up mandatory for businesses trying to cut through the noise. Text-based posts simply don’t have the same stopping power.

An on-point photo or gif is way more likely to make someone pause mid-scroll and pay attention to your message.

But nailing visual content for social media isn’t just about tossing up any old pic. There’s a whole science behind why certain visuals work better than others for marketing purposes.

Things like color psychology, image composition, and playing into deep-wired human biases all play a role.

Below, we explore some of the underlying principles that make certain visuals captivating to our brains while others get lost in the digital noise.

Mastering this science is key to crafting social media content that not only gets noticed but compels viewers to take action.

Understanding Visual Processing

Let’s start with a mind-blowing stat: If someone just tells you something, you’ll probably only remember around 10% of it after 3 days. But throw a relevant image into the mix? Suddenly your recall shoots up to a whopping 65%.

Crazy, right? This “Picture Superiority Effect” is a real psychological phenomenon, and it highlights just how pivotal visuals are for getting info to stick in our brains.

The reason visuals boost recall so dramatically? It’s called multimodal learning.

Pictures get processed through multiple channels in your brain, giving them way deeper and more meaningful encoding. Words, on the other hand, are mainly encoded verbally – just in that one mode.

When you combine visuals with words, it’s like creating distinct memory footprints that reinforce each other. The visuals act as powerful retrieval cues, allowing your mind to reconstruct the related info more easily.

Color and Shape Psychology in Social Media Imagery

The colors and shapes you use in your social media visuals aren’t just about aesthetics, they can significantly impact how people perceive your brand.

Different colors evoke distinct emotions and associations in our minds. For instance, red is often linked to excitement, passion, and even hunger—think fast food logos!

Blue, on the other hand, tends to create a sense of trust, security, and professionalism. And don’t even get us started on the calming vibes of green!

Shapes play a pivotal role too. Rounded shapes with soft curves are typically seen as friendly, approachable, and harmless. However, angular shapes with hard edges can appear more aggressive, edgy, and intense.

So how can you strategically use color and shape psychology to amp up your social media game? First, consider your brand identity and messaging goals.

A daring new fashion line might opt for fiery reds and sharp triangles to convey boldness. But an eco-friendly skincare company could lean into soothing greens and flowy, organic shapes for that natural, calming vibe.

It’s also crucial to consider the unique demographics and norms of each social platform. The young, trend-focused audience on Instagram might respond better to brighter, more vibrant visuals.

But for a professional networking site like LinkedIn, you’d likely want to stick to more subdued, corporate-friendly palettes.

Read Also: Color Psychology in Branding: Why It Matters

Emotional Engagement Through Visuals in Social Media

The social media visuals that really slay tap into human emotions that make us feel something fierce. We’re talking awws, belly laughs, tears of joy – that’s the shareworthy gold.

Viral images, videos, and memes aren’t just aesthetically on point; they also emotionally resonate through cuteness, nostalgia, or relatable humor.

Smart brands incorporate similarly evocative visuals to stir emotions while spotlighting their authentic personality.

The sweet spot is visuals with emotional substance that stir feelings while reinforcing your brand’s higher purpose and values. That’s the sauce that seasons your social content for maximum engagement.

Read Also: The Power of Visual Content in Social Media Marketing

Visuals are the Key to Social Media Success

Well-planned visuals give your social media content a turbo boost for attention and recall. 

Basically, the psychological principles behind visuals are too potent to ignore if you want your brand to cut through social media noise in 2024. 

So, as you map out your social media marketing strategy for this year, remember to prioritize visual processing.

Make your social visuals a core brand pillar, shaped by a thorough understanding of the principles that attract attention and evoke emotions.

Build that understanding into your creative process from conception through execution and optimization.

When your whole social media content philosophy stems from a visual-first mentality, you’ll be miles ahead of the competition.

If you’re looking to create social media visuals that truly captivate your audience or need assistance managing your overall social media presence, our social media marketing company has the expertise to support you.

Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss how we can take your social media marketing to new heights.

Schedule a Free Consultation Today!