How and why to use social media graphics in posts

By: David Arkin
September 26, 2023
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We all know that being active in social media — even as algorithms change and in many cases impact publishers — is still critically important because the referral traffic still accounts for a big piece of a news organization’s overall traffic.

There are all sorts of tactics publishers deploy to get as much out of social media platforms as possible, from tagging organizations to producing Reels to paid campaigns.

A proven path for audience growth actually comes down to the effectiveness of the images in your post. And one of the best ways to achieve this is by using social media graphics through tools like Canva. In this post, we will dive into the ways you can create eye-catching social media graphics that enhance your stories.

How to use social media graphics

Social media graphics have become a powerful tool that helps raise engagement because readers are naturally drawn to powerful visual content.

In a busy news feed, they stick out to readers because they look different than normal posts, often have unique fonts and colors and include catchy words and headlines.

Content should lead the way when deciding if you are going to use a social media graphic with your story or call to action. Here are the types of stories they really work with:

• Guides: If you are telling readers where to go apple picking or the best places to get pizza, social media graphics are a great tool to use because the words in your headline can be very straight forward like: ”Best pizza spots in our town.”


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• Players or teachers of the week: They can be a terrific way to showcase the unique people you are showcasing with facts about those people in the graphic. This can be especially helpful for regular features, like players of the week.

• Sports scores: This works for a local high school game or a big professional contest. Creating a template you can use over and over, by just switching out logos and scores can be quite efficient and effective.

• Big news: They may not be appropriate for a story about a 3-car accident, but many media companies used them during the height of COVID to share the biggest headlines from press conferences. Today, you could apply this to a big decision the City Council makes or a highly-anticipated concert that is coming to town.

• Call-to-actions: If you are asking readers to send you something like a Halloween photo or share their favorite places to eat, social media graphics can be very effective to use.

• Contests: Opposed to a stock photo for your next contest, create a social media graphic and watch your engagement skyrocket.

• Letters to the editor: It’s often difficult to find a good image for things like Letters to the Editor or Editorials. Having a standing graphic that has some unique images in it, can be a nice way of engaging your audience.

• Events: Whether it’s an in-person event or a webinar, social media graphics can be a nice way of attracting someone to click to find the details about the event and hopefully register.

What about links?

Social media graphics can contain a link that can take readers to the story or contest. But it’s still a best practice in your post message or social chatter (the area above your image), to put a short link to whatever you’re trying to direct your readers to.

You don’t want to repeat information that is in your graphic, just like you don’t want to repeat information that is in your headline if you are doing a traditional post.

If you use a graphic to promote voting for a high school player of the week, you could put something like “Who was the best player on the gridiron last week?” as your post message, as an example.

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