The different types of social media visuals and when to use them

21 Apr 23

Are you confused by the different types of social media visuals out there? Maybe you’re wondering when you should be using them and how to decide which one is best?

We’ve all been there, when you know the message that you want to convey, but you’re just not quite sure of the best way to do it.

Allow us to help.

In this article, we’ll cover the three main types of social media visuals that any company can create for themselves.

These are static visuals, animations and videos. We’ll tell you what they are and how to use them, and by the end of this article, you’ll be the social media pro that your team has been dreaming of!

What are static social media visuals?

Probably the most common type of visual is static images, also referred to as just graphics.

They are essentially just images that accompany your post copy. Typically, they feature key information, images and brand elements such as common shapes, patterns and icons used across all your materials. You could say a static is like a digital version of a poster.

Social media static visual ideas

So, when might you choose to use a static image?

You could use a static image for almost any post, but here are a few examples of when we see them work well.

  • Team spotlights

    People connect with people, so it’s a great idea to show off your team on your social feed. Not only do these posts tend to get more engagements, but it means that there is already a level of familiarity for new clients or customers coming on board.

    You can create posts showing off your new team members, highlight their achievements or even just sharing fun facts.

  • Quotes

    Maybe you’ve written a paper with a quote you want to highlight? Perhaps a doctor has said something great about your product that you’d like to share? Pulling important quotes and putting them on a static post can add more impact to the words.

    However, as with any static post, text alone might not be enough to grab the attention of social media users, so you need to make sure it’s bold, so people have no choice but to stop and take notice.

  • Congresses

    If you have a congress or an event coming up, social media is a great way to let your audience know you’ll be attending.

    Having a static image with the key information on it such as the event name, date, location, and your stand number can quickly convey crucial details without the viewer having to read any lengthy paragraphs.

    Also, don’t just do this once for each event; make sure to keep posting in the weeks and days leading up to it. Not only is this a great reminder for you audience, but it increases how many people are likely to see the congress posts.

Want to talk to professionals about your social media posts?

Advantages of static visuals

One of the main reasons statics are used so often over animation and video is that they are quicker and cheaper to create.

They are perfect if you need a quick turnaround, for example, if you want to jump on a hot trend before it dies down. There’s no need for filming and vast amounts of editing. In fact, tools like Canva can take the stress out of creating static visuals altogether. You can also create templates to make static visuals even quicker and ensure that your branding is consistently maintained.

Disadvantages of static visuals

So, what are the downsides to static images? Well as we’ve said, statics are very common. In fact, we’re so used to looking at them that we often just scroll past them as if we would a piece of text.

But this doesn’t mean they aren’t beneficial; it just means when creating your static, you need to make sure it stands out and engages your audience immediately. Make sure to only include necessary information and make your visuals eye-catching!

What is an animation?

The past few years have seen a huge rise in video media on social platforms, including animation.

Animation is when still objects are manipulated using computer software to appear as moving objects. The difference between animation and video is that animation isn’t ‘real’ as it’s created purely on the computer.

Animation can be as simple as making text appear on the page, to the likes of Pixar movies.

Social media animation ideas

The possibilities with animation are endless, you can create any scene or idea you want (given you have the skills and resources) so there’s many posts which can benefit from an animation, but here’s just a few.

  • Statistics

    Using animation to convey statistics can make them much more appealing to your audience. Seeing a bar chart rise or sections of a pie chart pop out is more interesting to your viewer than them reading a long list of statistics on a page.

    Likewise, if you want to show a timeline moving or a map with different figures for each country. Having those visual elements move alongside the data helps your viewer understand it and therefore enjoy it more too.

  • Medical Devices

    Animation can be a great way to show how a device works as it can show the movement and design of the device. You could show the device by itself with text or a voiceover to explain the features of it or you could animate someone using it.

    If you can’t show your device being used on video on social media due to guideline restrictions, animation might be an alternative way of communicating how the device works.

  • Educational

    If you want to teach something on your social media, whiteboard animations can be a strong option. Whiteboard animations are just what they sound like sound, they’re an animation of someone’s hand drawing on a whiteboard to help explain something, like a teacher would on the whiteboard in school.

    These can be great for educational videos where you need complex information to be conveyed in an easily digestible format.

Advantages of social media animations

Animations are a great way to engage your audience as you don’t only have the visual design but also movement. Adding this extra layer of interest helps it to stand out on a timeline and grab your audience’s attention.

Disadvantages of social media animations

One of the main reasons you might not opt for animation is that it can be time-consuming and costly if you have the in-house resources to create animations yourself.

The cost of professional animations depends on the complexity of the animation. For instance, animating a graph will be significantly cheaper than if you want to animate a device and a whole scene surrounding it.

Animations can also lack a personal feel, as its all computer generated you can lose that connection you get from videos which may result in less engagement.

What is a social media video post?

Social media videos can range from full productions involving a whole crew and set to filming at home on your phone.

Depending on what you want your video to say, or show will decide what style of video is suitable for you.

Whatever to choose to create, video is the fastest growing media, so you need to ensure you don’t get left behind!

Social media video ideas

Video can be used in all sorts of ways, maybe you want to show your off new device or introduce people to your team.

Here are some of the few ways when we see video benefit a social media post.

  • Surgery/device videos

    Filming your device in use during surgery can be a great way to show your device in action, because what’s better than the real thing?

    These videos can be a great insight into all the features of your device in a real-world setting. However, depending on the nature of the video you will need to check that platform guidelines allow this type of content.

  • Patient and doctor interviews

    Sometimes a straightforward ‘get to know you’ style video can be effective. Whether it’s an informal chat with the CEO or an in-depth discussion with a patient, interview videos are a great way of engaging and relating to your audience.

    These could involve a whole camera crew, or they could be filmed by yourself on your phone, you should pick which best fits the tone of the video you want to publish.

    Why not check out our top tips for filming yourself online?

    Another benefit of video is how easy it is to repurpose. For instance, a long video can get cut down into several shorter clips for bitesize viewing without a lot of effort.

  • Disadvantages of social media videos

    There is potential for videos to be time-consuming and expensive, depending on your in-house resources and the type of videos you’re hoping to create. For instance, if you want to create highly professional videos, it can involve several days of filming with a crew. There will also be waits for editing.

    Videos don’t have the same turnaround time as a static post for example, as it takes a lot longer to make them look good.

Which type of social media visual is the best?

This is a hard question to definitively answer, because it depends on what you’re trying to achieve and your circumstances.

Whilst video is the most engaging form of content and the one that most social medias prefer, it isn’t easy to create.

Realistically, you’ll probably find that a combination of different types of visuals is the most achievable strategy for your company. Most of the time it’ll be easiest to create static visuals, but animation and video can be used for higher value content from time to time.

We haven’t gone into too much detail here about how to optimise your social media for maximum success, but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered there too. Check out our other Medical Device social media articles here:

Medical Device social media with Podymos

Do you want to communicate more effectively with HCPs and patients? Do you want to be able to deliver high-quality social media campaigns as part of your larger multichannel marketing strategy? You’ve come to the right place.

Podymos is a healthcare marketing agency, specialising in downstream Medical Device marketing.

We’re more expensive than non-specialised agencies and freelance teams because we only work in the Medical Device space so we have specialist knowledge and experience that other agencies may not be able to offer you.

If you want high-quality, compliant campaigns that help achieve your business goals, we’d love to hear from you. Simply leave us your contact details below and we’ll get back to you very soon for a no-obligation chat.

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